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Yugoslavia: Milosevic To Stay In Office Till Summer?


Belgrade, 22 September 2000 (RFE/RL) - Yugoslav Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic says Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic can remain in office until his four-year term expires at the middle of next year, even if he loses Sunday's vote. He made the comment last night to a private television station in Montenegro just before the election campaign officially ended. He said on a private television station in Montenegro that Milosevic can remain in office because the constitution allows him to finish his current term, which expires in June. He said that under the constitution the mandate of the president cannot be shortened. Opponents of Milosevic had expressed concern that constitutional changes he pushed through parliament in July to pave the way for Sunday's vote left the timing of a possible handover of power unclear.

Legal experts say the constitution calls for a new president to be sworn in within 15 days of the election. Bulatovic, a Montenegrin ally of Milosevic, also said that Milosevic would nominate a prime minister after the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Under the constitution, parliament votes on the presidential nominee for prime minister.

State Madeleine Albright has accused Milosevic of planning to "steal" Sunday's elections in Yugoslavia. She made the comment yesterday. She said she thinks Milosevic "is going to do everything he can to steal the election."

She said the U.S. will not accept an election where victory is declared "on the basis of manipulation." Milosevic and his allies have reportedly stepped up a campaign of intimidation against independent media and supporters of the main opposition candidate, Vojislav Kostunica.

Meanwhile, the Western-backed prime minister of the Serb-run part of Bosnia says it is time for Milosevic to step down.

In a letter broadcast yesterday over Bosnian Serb television, Prime Minister Milorad Dodik told Milosevic that "it's time for you to go" because "your people don't want you any more and force doesn't help."
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