Milka Planinc

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The Independent Online

Milka Planinc, who died in Zagreb on 7 October aged 86, served as prime minister in the 1980s in the then communist Yugoslavia. She was a high-level communist official in Yugoslavia, a close associate of President Tito, and the first woman premier of a communist country. From 1982-86 she headed the country's federal Cabinet.

Born in a Dalmatian village in 1924, Planinc joined the Partisans and became devoted to Tito. She joined the Communist Youth League, and after the war rose up the ranks of the Croatian Communist Party, becoming leader in 1971. The same year she played a major part in crushing the "Croatian Spring", centred on the movement seeking more autonomy for Croatia, for which she was much disliked.

Her time as prime minister was dominated by an economic crisis, which she did much to alleviate with a package of austerity measures. She was forced to stand down in 1986, however, after clashing with republican party leaders.