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Serbia/Montenegro: Milosevic Elected President

Belgrade, 15 July 1997 (RFE//RL) -- Slobodan Milosevic, who has held power in Serbia for a decade, today was elected president of Yugoslavia for a four-year term by the federal parliament, representing only Serbia and tiny Montenegro.

With the election, Milosevic is no longer president of Serbia. He sought the federal presidency because the Serbian constitution blocked him from a third term as Serbian president.

The federal presidency has been largely ceremonial, but correspondents report that many believe Milosevic will try to change the constitution to expand the office's powers. They say that in any case, Milosevic will likely continue to be the most powerful man in rump Yugoslavia because of his control of the ruling Socialist party, the police and state bureaucracy.

The parliamentary vote was originally scheduled for July 23, but Associated Press reports that today's vote was hastily organized in an apparent effort to prevent the leaders of Montenegro from voting against Milosevic.