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Vol 2, No 31
18 September 2000
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News from Serbia
All the important news
since 10 September 2000

Crna Gora Medija Klub and Eleanor Pritchard

Election facts and figures

Party Abbreviation Candidate
Socialist Party SPS Slobodan Milošević
Yugoslav Left JUL
Serbian Radical Party SRP Tomislav Nikolić
Serbian Renewal Mvt SPO Vojislav Mihailović
Democratic Opposition of Serbia DOS Vojislav Kostunica

The Federal Election Commission has announced that there are 7,861,327 voters registered for the upcoming presidential elections in Yugoslavia. Of this total, 7,417,197 (94 percent) live in Serbia and 44,130 (6 percent) in Montenegro.

The Centre for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID) announced at a Media Centre press conference that research so far indicated that between 70 and 80 per cent of registered voters in Serbia would take part (eg approx five million). They further said that the current President Slobodan Milošević could rely on was two million votes, and that "there was no way Milošević could win the first round." CeSID emphasised that the authorities counted on several "reservoirs of votes," specifying the votes of the soldiers (approx 100,000), votes from prisons (approx 10,000) and Kosovo as potential "reservoirs."

Since the announcement of elections on 3 September, the largest television stations in Serbia (RTS, Pink Television, BK Television, Studio B Television, Politika television and Palma Television), have broadcast 4841 election clips lasting for a total of 66 hours. According to official price lists of these televisions, the bills should have reached YUN 186 million (more than DEM 7 million).

Serbian Radical Party (SRP) has broadcast a total of about 22 hours, Socialists 18 hours, Yugoslav Left Party about 11 hours.

When this research was conducted the Serbian Renewal Movement had not started to broadcast its advertisements, and DOS ads were not being broadcast.


Current trends

Ten days before the Yugoslav elections the latest public survey showed that the Democratic Opposition of Serbia candidate Vojislav Kostunica to be far aheadof the current President Milošević . The latest research by the Centre For Political Research and Public Opinion (September 7 and 11) in Serbia (excluding Kosovo), showed that the DOS would celebrate victory both in federal parliamentary and the local elections in Serbia.

Kostunica appears to be approx 20 percent ahead of Milošević. According to the survey, 40 percent of the respondents chose Kostunica, while 22 percent of the respondents would vote for Milošević. Compared to the August research, Kostunica has gained a further five percent of votes, and the support to Milošević has dropped by one percent. The number of undecided jumped from 19 to 22 percent, nine percent of respondents said they would abstain, while candidates of the Serbian Renewal Movement and SRP, Vojislav Mihailović and Tomislav Nikolić, would win three and four per cent respectively.


Opposition matters

SRP candidate Tomislav Nikolić, said that if he did not reach the second round of the elections, the SRP would not support Milošević as the SPS-JUL candidate.

DOS candidate Kostunica said he would support the SPO's Vojislav Mihailović if he entered the second round. Commenting on attacks by RTS against him and DOS, Kostunica said: "They can threaten, they can arrest, but that will not frighten us. None of DOS leaders is important. What is important is wish of majority of people that democratic changes happen peacefully."

An Otpor activist was arrested by the police on 8 September for tagging stickers with the message "He's finished" onto Socialist party posters. During the two-day custody he was occasionally beaten with a baton on the back and fists on the head, and denied food and water. Since his release he has brought criminal charges against three policemen.

Otpor member Vladimir Ješić, his brother Goran (the Vojvodina president of the Civil Alliance of Serbia) and their mother Ranka, an "Otpor Mother," have been summonsed for interrogation before the Inđija Municipal Court. The Novi Sad branch of Otpor reported yesterday that the three have been accused of disseminating false information in the Our Inđija newsletter published by the local Youth Cultural Club. The contentious issue of the newsletter was devoted to the police banning of a concert in Inđija on 19 July and the arrest of Otpor members the same day. The concert had been intended as a benefit for a local 12-year-old suffering from leukaemia.


International comments

The Norwegian government decided to aid Serbia with DEM 35 million if democratic forces won the September elections. Also, if democratic reforms began, Norway proposed an international donor conference for Serbia.

United Nations-Western powers and Russia will debate a call for "democratic change" in Yugoslavia on Thursday when they hold their first Ministerial Contact Group meeting since NATO's 1999 Kosovo war. The six-nation meeting is designed to show the restored unity of the international community two weeks before crucial elections in Yugoslavia.

But diplomats said it in not clear whether Moscow, Serbia's traditional ally which bitterly opposed the NATO action, will join what amounts to a veiled declaration of support for opponents of President Slobodan Milošević. (Reuters)

Stability Pact Special Coordinator, Bodo Hombah, stated that in a conversation with Croatian President Stjepan Mesić an agreement had been reached to react immediately in the event that "democratic signals" came from Serbia. He emphasised that in that case it was necessary to immediately find the funding for reconstruction and organise a special donor conference for Serbia

European Union promised to reward democratic changes in Yugoslavia, sending Serbs the message that a place in Europe waited for them if they voted against the current President Milošević, Beta reported. Speaking on behalf of the EU, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine told the UN General Assembly that Yugoslavia with current government would not be allowed to participate in the summit of the EU and the former Yugoslav republics to be held in November.

"The nature of the current regime does not allow it. But Serbs know that they have their place secured in the European family and that the EU looks forward to the day when Yugoslavia would be fully integrated in the processes of stabilization and association, as well as have an equal position in Europe again," Vedrine said.

US State Department told Radio B2-92 in New York that the US would not launch any initiative for the reconsideration of Yugoslavia’s status in the United Nations until after 24 September. However, he said, if Milošević did not accept the election results, or if those results were tampered with, Washington would demand that Yugoslavia be thrown out of the organization.


Stambolić in prison?

An anonymous caller told the wife of former Serbian President Ivan Stambolić, that he was in Belgrade's central prison, the family's lawyer said on Sunday. This is the second incidence on which a source has placed Stambolić in prison. Stambolić disappeared on 25 August while jogging near his Belgrade home in the wake of increasingly critical attacks on Milošević in the run up to the elections.(Reuters)



The average Yugoslav salary in July was YUN 2375 (approx DEM 92). For this money, one could buy 402 kilos of bread, or 436 litres of milk or l4l litres of cooking oil.

Or, in other words, an average Yugoslav worked 24 minutes for one kilo of bread, or 22 minutes for a litre of milk, or one hour and eight minutes for a litre of oil.

Official statistics used here protected prices. In July, however, the dominant quantities of bread and milk, even in legal shops were sold at prices that were double of the protected one. The average daily earning in July was YUN 118.75 (about DEM 4.6). This translates to an average earning of YUN 0.25 YUN (or one Pfennig) per minute.



The transmitter of Čačak television was confiscated by the police this week. The editor in chief of this station, Svetlana Kojanović, believes that the transmitter was confiscated because of the large number of people that gathered in Gornji Milanovac on Friday to greet DOS candidate Kostunica.

Supervisory Committee for the Elections in 2000 yesterday warned the independent/opposition Belgrade papers Blic, Glas Javnosti, Danas, NIN and Vreme to stop with the "inadmissible activity to the benefit of one political group and one presidential candidate."


Corruption ranking

Yugoslavia is the second most corrupt country surveyed, according to the annual Index of Corruption published yesterday by research group Transparency International. The group, in the report based on surveys of business practices between 1998 and 2000, ranks Yugoslavia 89th in a field of 90 countries surveyed, beaten only by Nigeria. Among the former Yugoslav republics, Slovenia ranks 28th and Croatia 51st.

Crna Gora Medija Klub and Eleanor Pritchard,
15 September 2000

Moving on:


MN News
Radio B2-92
BETA news agency
Nedeljni Telegraf


Catherine Lovatt
Sex is a Crime

Alexei Monroe
Laibach's Legacy

Kai-Olaf Lang
Leaving Liberalism

Brian Požun
Class Time

Mel Huang
Questionable Justice

Sam Vaknin
The Value of a Life

Jan Čulík
Ticket, Please!

Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Enough Problems

IMF in Prague:

Andreas Beckmann
A Bubble Burst

Tiffany G Petros
Old Friends

Ron Breznay
Greener Grass

Emil Kerenji
The Road to War in Serbia

Culture Calendar:

Timothy Hendon
Casting Calls


Press Reviews:

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