Milosevic's men agree power share deal

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The Independent Online

Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist party has signed an agreement to share power with President Vojislav Kostunica's followers in the government of Yugoslavia's main republic Serbia.

Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist party has signed an agreement to share power with President Vojislav Kostunica's followers in the government of Yugoslavia's main republic Serbia.

The agreement, signed by aides to Kostunica and representatives of the pro-Milosevic Serbian government, represented an important advance for the pro-democracy movement in its efforts to sweep the old order from all remaining positions of power.

Under the deal, reached after more than a week of negotiations, Milosevic's Socialist Party will keep the office of the prime minister.

But the prime minister will only be able to make decisions in consensus with two deputy prime ministers, one from Kostunica's camp and the other from the Serbian Renewal Movement, another opposition group.

The Serbian ministries of police, information, justice and finance will be shared among two appointees, from the Socialist party and from Kostunica's Democratic Opposition of Serbia, according to the agreement.

The Serbian parliament, now dominated by Milosevic's Socialists, is to be dissolved later this month. Early Serbian legislative elections are set for December 23.

The agreement, signed by negotiators from the three parties, as well as Kostunica and Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, made no mention of what happens to the Serbian presidency.

The term of Milutinovic, a Milosevic crony, does not run out until 2002. It appeared he would be allowed to serve out his time in office. Kostunica aide Zoran Djindjic said he was satisfied with the deal.

"We accomplished two results, early elections and a joint government until that period.

"The important thing is that ... the people get through winter," he said, alluding to the financial and economic ruin left in Serbia in the wake of Milosevic's 13 years of rule."

Socialist negotiator Zoran Andjelkovic suggested his party bowed to overwhelming public sentiment in the wake of Kostunica's stunning victory over Milosevic in last month's federal presidential election.

Serbian legislators and the Serbian presidency were not included in that ballot.

"The Democratic Opposition of Serbia was also included into this agreement," he said.

"The citizens must decide who will run Serbia and in what way in the future."

Vuk Draskovic, head of the Serbian Renewal Movement, said the agreement meant "the end of Serbia as a country of organized terrorism".

Excerpts of the agreement signed by Milosevic's Socialists and Kostunica's pro-democracy coalition on sharing power in the government of Serbia, Yugoslavia's largest republic, read: "The signatories ... are in accord that it is the foremost responsibility to secure peace and order in Serbia and create necessary conditions for normal life and work, and that all issues should be resolved within the constitution and law by political means.

"The signatories are also in agreement that all legal proceedings against participants of the protest, in connection with September elections should cease.

"The parliamentary election in Serbia will take place on December 23, 2000, and the Serbian parliament will by October 23 adopt all (election) laws necessary.

"A new government of Serbia will be elected, consisting of representatives of the signatories of this agreement. The prime minister will be from the ranks of the biggest parliamentary party, the Socialist Party of Serbia, and one deputy will come from each of the other two signatories.

"All decisions pertaining to the premiership post will be reached by consensus of the prime minister and two deputies.

"The ministries of police, information, justice and finance, will be composed of collective bodies elected by parliament, and including representatives of all signatories.

"All the signatories of the agreement stress that today's priority in Serbia is peace, personal and property safety, as well as fight against crime.

"All the signatories of the agreement pledge that their actions will be in accordance with the constitution and law and that they will in no way hinder political adversaries in the coming elections, respecting above all the integrity of each individual."

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