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Yugoslavia: Socialist Party Ousts Milosevic

Belgrade, 24 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Moderates from the Socialist Party of Serbia have voted overwhelmingly to remove former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic as party leader. After more than six hours of debate at a party congress yesterday in Belgrade, they voted to make Milosevic the party's honorary president. Corespondents say the move essentially excludes him from taking part in any party decisions. Milosevic had remained party leader even after being ousted from government two years ago. Even after his extradition to The Hague where he is on trial for atrocities committed in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo, Milosevic continued to control the party by phone from his detention cell.

The party conference also appointed a new leader, Branislav Ivkovic, formerly a close ally of Milosevic who corespondents say turned reformist after Milosevic was ousted as Yugoslav president two years ago.