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Yugoslav Leader Faces New Political Threat

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who has dominated the political life in this country since it broke apart, saw another key support knocked out from under him Monday with the election of a staunch political foe to the presidency of Montenegro.

The winner of the runoff on Sunday, Milo Djukanovic, 35, prime minister of Montenegro, has denounced Milosevic’s authoritarian rule and appears to be edging his republic toward secession.

“This is the latest in a series of damaging blows to Milosevic,” said Stojan Cerovic, a columnist in the independent news magazine Vreme. “This defeat severely weakens Milosevic’s influence in Montenegro and will make it harder for him to manipulate the federal Parliament to give him the legal trappings that he needs to cloak his one-man rule.”

Montenegro, with 600,000 of Yugoslavia’s 9.4 million people, has equal rights under the Constitution with Serbia, the only other republic that remains in Yugoslavia. Montenegro controls half the Parliament’s upper house, which has the power to choose or dismiss the Yugoslav president.