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Politics of Serbia and Montenegro

On 4th February, 2003 Yugoslavia's federal parliament agreed to a weaker form of cooperation between Serbia and Montenegro within a commonwealth called "Serbia and Montenegro".

In late 1998, Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic unleashed a brutal police and military campaign against separatist insurgents in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo. Milosevic's campaign and failure to capitulate to resolutions agreed upon in the Rambouillet Accords provoked a military response from NATO which consisted primarily of aerial bombing and lasted from late March 1999 through late June 1999. For the duration of Milosevic's campaign, enormous masses of ethnic Albanians were either displaced from their homes in Kosovo or killed by Serbian troops or police.

After June 1999, Kosovo was made a United Nations protectorate, under the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) based in Pristina. Under UNMIK aegis and with NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR) providing security, efforts to build a multiethnic and democratic Kosovo commenced immediately. From early 2001, UNMIK has been working with representatives of the Serbian and union governments to reestablish stable relations in the region. Kosovars elected a new assembly in November 2001, which formed a government and chose a president in February 2002. In spring 2002, UNMIK announced its plan to repatriate ethnic Serb internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Although threatened by Milosevic throughout the last years of his rule, Montenegro's democratization efforts have continued. In January 1998, Milo Djukanovic became Montenegro's president, following bitterly contested elections in November 1997, which were declared free and fair by international monitors. His coalition followed up with parliamentary elections in May. Having weathered Milosevic's campaign to undermine his government, Djukanovic has struggled to balance the pro-independence stance of his coalition with the changed domestic and international environment of the post-October 5 Balkans. In December 2002, Djukanovic resigned as president and was appointed Prime Minister. The new President of Montenegro is Filip Vujanovic.

Before October 5, even as opposition grew, Milosevic continued to dominate the organs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) Government. And although his political party, the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), did not enjoy a majority in either the federal or Serbian parliaments, it dominated the governing coalitions and held all the key administrative posts. An essential element of Milosevic's grasp on power was his control of the Serbian police, a heavily armed force of some 100,000 that was responsible for internal security and which committed serious human rights abuses. Routine federal elections in September 2002 resulted in a narrow official victory for Milosevic and his coalition. Immediately, street protests and rallies filled cities across the country as Serbs rallied around Vojislav Kostunica, the recently formed Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS, a broad coalition of anti-Milosevic parties) candidate for FRY president. Cries of fraud and calls for Milosevic's removal echoed across city squares from Subotica to Nis.

On October 5, 2000, Slobodan Milosevic was forced to concede defeat after days of mass protests all across Serbia. New FRY President Vojislav Kostunica was soon joined at the top of the domestic Serbian political scene by the Democratic Party's (DS) Zoran Djindjic, who was elected Prime Minister of Serbia at the head of the DOS ticket in December's republican elections. After an initial honeymoon period in the wake of October 5, DSS and the rest of DOS, led by Djindjic and his DS, found themselves increasingly at odds over the nature and pace of the governments' reform programs. Although initial reform efforts were highly successful, especially in the economic and fiscal sectors, by the middle of 2002, the nationalist Kostunica and the pragmatic Djindjic were openly at odds. Kostunica's party, having informally withdrawn from all DOS decisionmaking bodies, was agitating for early elections to the Serbian Parliament in an effort to force Djindjic from the scene. After the initial euphoria of replacing Milosevic's autocratic regime, the Serbian population, in reaction to this political maneuvering, was sliding into apathy and disillusionment with its leading politicians by mid-2002. This political stalemate continued for much of 2002, and reform initiatives stalled. Finally in February 2003, the Constitutional Charter was ratified by both republics, and the FRY Parliament and the name of the country was changed from Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to Serbia and Montenegro. Under the new Constitutional Charter, most federal functions and authorities devolved to the republic level. The office of President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, held by Vojislav Kostunica, ceased to exist once Svetozar Marovic was elected President of Serbia and Montenegro.

On March 12, 2003, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic was assassinated. The newly formed union government of Serbia and Montenegro reacted swiftly by calling a state of emergency and undertaking an unprecedented crackdown on organized crime which led to the arrest of more than 4,000 people.

The union Parliament is the lawmaking body of the Government of Serbia and Montenegro.

Country name:
conventional long form: Serbia and Montenegro
local long form: Srbija i Crna Gora

Government type: republic

Capital: Belgrade

Administrative divisions: 2 republics (republike, singular - republika); and 2 nominally autonomous provinces* (autonomn pokrajine, singular - autonomna pokrajina); Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia, Vojvodina*

Independence: 11 April 1992 (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or FRY formed as self-proclaimed successor to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or SFRY)

National holiday: Republic Day, 29 November

Constitution: 4 February 2003

Legal system: based on civil law system

Suffrage: 16 years of age, if employed; 18 years of age, universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Svetozar Marovic (since 7 March 2003)
head of government: Prime Minister Dragisa Pesic (since 24 July 2001); Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus (since 25 January 2001)
cabinet: Federal Ministries act as Cabinet
elections: president elected by the Parliament for a four-year term; election last held 7 March 2003 (next to be held NA 2007); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Svetozar Marovic elected president by the Parliament; vote was Svetozar Marovic 65, other 47

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament (126 seats - 91 Serbian, 35 Montenegrin - filled by nominees of the two state parliaments for the first two years, after which the president will call for public elections
elections: last held 25 February 2003 (next to be held NA 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - DOS 37, DLECG 19, DSS 17, ZP 14, SPS 12, SRS 8, SDP 5, SSJ 5, other 9

Judicial branch: Federal Court or Savezni Sud; Constitutional Court; judges for both courts are elected by the Federal Assembly for nine-year terms
note:after the promulgation of the new Constitution, the Federal Court will have constitutional and administrative functions; it will have an equal number of judges from each republic

Political parties and leaders:

Political pressure groups and leaders:

International organization participation: ABEDA, BIS, CE (guest), CEI, EBRD, FAO, G-9, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISET, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO(observer)