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Yugoslavia: Elections Set For September

Belgrade, 27 July 2000 (RFE/RL) - Leaders of Serbia's opposition parties are considering their reactions after Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic today called both presidential and parliamentary elections for 24 September. Milosevic's party, the Socialist Party of Serbia, is to meet tomorrow, and is expected to formally nominate Milosevic as its candidate. The Yugoslav parliament earlier this month changed the constitution so that Milosevic -- who had been scheduled to step down next summer -- could run for two more four-year terms. It will be the first time the president will be popularly elected.

One of Serbia's main opposition leaders, Zoran Djindjic, said he is looking to the elections with optimism. He said his party will take a decision in the next five days, in coordination with other democratic opposition parties, about joint electoral activity. But Vuk Draskovic, head of the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement, said his party will boycott the polls if Montenegro does not take part. Montenegro has recently seen its status downgraded in the Yugoslav federation.