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Yugoslavia: President Wants Early Elections


Belgrade, 31 December 2001 (RFE/RL) -- In a fresh sign of more political turmoil within Serbia's ruling coalition, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica has said he wants early elections in 2002. In an interview with Belgrade's "Politika" daily, Kostunica says early polls are needed to complete constitutional reforms both in Serbia and Yugoslavia.

Kostunica says new elections will not destabilize the political situation in Yugoslavia but rather will "lead to social progress."

Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, formerly a Kostunica ally but now his main opponent, dismissed the call for early elections, saying they would "introduce a climate of uncertainty."

Kostunica also says in the interview that he is optimistic about the survival of the Yugoslav Federation, which is made of Serbia and Montenegro.

Montenegro's government is advocating that the republic become independent, but its population remains divided over the issue. An independence referendum has been tentatively scheduled for next spring.

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