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Serbia: Parliamentary Committee Ousts 39 Deputies


Belgrade, 12 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A Serbian parliamentary committee dominated by lawmakers loyal to Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic has voted to dismiss 39 parliamentarians, most of them supporters of Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica. The Administrative Committee says the lawmakers, 21 of whom are members of Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), should be removed from parliament for poor attendance.

If ratified by a full session of parliament, they would be replaced by other candidates on party lists in general elections 18 months ago, resulting in fewer parliamentarians from Kostunica's party.

"This decision is illegal and illegitimate. We will have no further contact of any kind with the Serbian government," DSS parliamentary chief Dejan Mihajlov said last night following the announcement by the council. He said the party would leave parliament after speaker Natasa Micic announces the dismissals.

Many of those voted to be ousted had boycotted parliament sessions in protest of government policies, including legal and economic reforms and cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague.

Kostunica withdrew his party's representatives from the Serbian government last year and has ceased cooperating with the other member parties in the ruling 18-party Democratic Opposition of Serbia coalition.

At least one of the ousted committee members has vowed to take the matter to court.

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