Yugoslav left gains, right-wing emboldened
By Gregory Stefanovich, People's Weekly World, 7 December 1996
Elections in Yugoslavia's two republics have resulted in both a triumph for the left and intensification of the class struggle.
In Serbia, the ruling Socialist Part ran in a coalition with the Yugoslav United Left (JUL) and New Democracy. The JUL is a coalition of 23 left and Communist parties, led by the League of Communists-Movement for Yugoslavia.
The Joint List left coalition was opposed by the right-wing Together coalition and the extreme right Serbian Radical Party. In the first round of voting Nov. 3, the Joint List won 64 seats in the Yugoslav Assembly Chamber of Citizens, outpacing Together's 22 seats and the Serbian Radical Party's 16 seats.
In Montenegro, the left Democratic Party of Socialists won 20 seats, giving the left a solid majority of 84 seats in the 138 chamber. Also in the first round election, the Joint List won over 60 percent of the municipal seats.
According to JUL spokesman Aleksandar Vulin, the JUL "won at least 20 percent of votes everywhere and more than 1,000 candidates went into the first and second rounds."
Voters in Yugoslavia were faced with a clear choice and rejected Together's call for rapid privatization and foreign corporate penetration of the economy. The JUL's program, in contrast, states, "We are opposed to an unjustified and forcible change of ownership ... especially when it relates to the transformation of state and socialist property to private property, or if it is motivated by greed or by ideological reasons."
Mira Markovic, president of the JUL directorate, summed up the JUL's aim as "that all Yugoslav people will live together in equality and brotherhood."
Results were mixed in the second round of voting Nov. 17. The Joint List won nearly 80 percent of municipal governments. However, Together's support is concentrated in urban areas and the Together coalition won most of the major cities, including the capital city of Belgrade.
The Joint List scored victories in a few cities, prompting tens of thousands of anti-communist demonstrators to take to the streets. Together demanded that the United States strong-arm the Yugoslav government into handing over power to the right-wing in all cities, claiming that they could not lose any urban area.
Later, results in several districts were annulled by the electoral commission, in response to complaints filed by the ruling Socialist Party. In most of these districts the number of ballots exceeded the number of voters. The third round of voting Nov. 27 in the disputed districts was boycotted by Together.
In response to the announcement of another round of voting in these district, the daily demonstrations swelled to over 100,000. Together leaders met with U.S. and European representatives, seeking foreign political intervention. In response, U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns announced that sanctions would continue against Yugoslavia and the U.S. would continue to block Yugoslavia's access to international financial institutions.
Emboldened by U.S. support, Together leaders are pushing for open counterrevolution. Together leader Danica Draskovic lamented that Serbia does not have any assassins, and said the left's "houses should be blockaded; they should be pelted with stones and bomb. We must take up arms!"
Another Together leader, Zoran Djindjic, said, "The regime in Serbia cannot be changed legally, but by uprising, strike an violence." Chanting anti-communist slogans, the Nov. 27 demonstrators smashed windows at the state television station and Politika newspaper. This followed an earlier blast which devastated the office of New Democracy, a member of the left coalition. The demoralized Belgrade and Together's leaders have announced they will seek the expansion of counterrevolution to other cities.
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