In its October 5, 1996 issue, Belgrade weekly "Vreme" brought an analysis by Uros Komlenovic concerning the pre-electoral situation in the sensitive Sandzak area.

In Novi Pazar's Lejlek mosque, a smallish, yet as the initiated claim, the most beautiful Islamic place of worship in the city, mevlud was "`taught'' on Saturday, October 5 of this year.

Word is of a religious ritual of a family nature which is most often held on the 52nd day following somebody's demise, yet also on much happier occasions such as weddings and births... The above mentioned mevlud was arranged in honor of the president of the Muslim National Council (MNVS) Sulejman Ugljanin's return to the country. Two days later and two to three kilometers further off, in front of the ancient church of St. Peter, on the spot where state assemblies were held during the Nemanjici times, Seselj's radicals were holding a rally. The meeting was late due to the fact that the speakers and their escorts had a car crash on their way there.

In front of less than a thousand gathered people (among them were found a rather large number of inquisitive Muslims and plainclothes policemen), accompanied by beer, patriotic music and lukewarm applause, Dr. Vojislav Seselj and Maja Gojkovic were hitting left and right, attacking the ruling coalition ("Yugoslav United Thieves'' and similar), the "traitorous'' bloc "Zajedno,'' the New World Order, the "`evil'' of America and Europe, Croatia and the Muslims... "It is no accident that the meeting of the radicals was held directly following Ugljanin's return,'' claims a member of the main board of the Serbian Renewal Party and until recently, the first man of this party in the region, Branislav Ivanovic. "The government's intention to polarize the population and sneak their way into the gap in such a manner lies at the back of everything. It was like that in 1990 as well.'' Sulejman Ugljanin's political rivals among Sandzak's Muslims are of a similar belief.

There is a thesis which is in circulation by which the authorities have allowed Ugljanin to return due to two reasons: to divide the Muslim electorate and to prevent a possible cooperation of the Muslims with the coalition "Zajedno'' which simply cannot"`swallow'' Sulejman Ugljanin, even "toned down.'' Which is how in Sandzak, besides the ruling coalition, two national blocs shall fight for the Muslim votes: the List for Sandzak and the "Bosniac List of Sandzak. The List for Sandzak is headed by

Sulejman Ugljanin. It is made up three Parties of Democratic Action (SDA): SDA of " Yugoslavia, SDA of Sandzak and the Real SDA. Alongside them we come upon the Liberal-Bosniac Organization of Sandzak (LBO,S), while the Reform Democratic Party of Sandzak (RDSS) has left the coalition in the last moment prior to the legal time limit for submitting the "federal'' lists. The fourth (their members claim the"first and only real'') party bearing the name of SDA (devoid of the geographically valuable term of reference) shall present the backbone of the Bosniac list of Sandzak on the federal elections, which is comprised of the Party of Sandzak's Bosniacs and the Social-Democratic Union as well. The head of the list is Rasim Ljajic who claims that, regardless of the conflict between his party and Ugljanin's parties (of which VREME wrote on a number of occasions), he was prepared for cooperation in name of a mutual interest.

At this moment it is difficult to assess the power of the two Muslim political blocs in Sandzak. It is a known fact that Sulejman Ugljanin can count on the support of most of the priests and most of the rural population which he had fascinated with his "fighter'' style and image of a "people's man.'' Beside that, his coalition is more prosperous during his residence in Turkey he was assisted financially by Erbakan's Islamics, various international organizations for human rights and, most important of all, by Sandzak's numerous "`guest workers.'' Ljajic has legitimacy on his side (at the time of the separation most of the municipal boards of the then joint SDA had supported him) and the fact that his restraint, avoidance of harsh words and efforts not to rouse tensions, fit in well with the climate of appeasement in Sandzak. And while the "grapevine war'' is stirring up in Sandzak's alleys amongst Ugljanin's and Ljaljic's followers, Sarajevo, that is Izetbegovic and central SDA are wisely keeping quiet and for now are not publicly declaring support to anybody. The Serbian authorities are acting in a similar manner, since, naturally, such a situation suits them. Even the Serbian electorate of Sandzak is divided---the ruling coalition, the "Zajedno'' bloc and the radicals are in the game.

Otherwise, when authorities are spoken of in Sandzak, the first party that comes to mind is the Yugoslav United Left (JUL) which is on the offensive here. Many claim that on the lists of the ruling coalition in electoral units 19 (Uzice) and 21 (Kraljevo), besides the"`regular'' JUL members, "SPS members'' can also be found who are actually loyal to the president's wife. Lacking a stronger civil party (RDSS practically has only Muslim members), JUL is threatening to take over the votes of the nationally "moderate'' Muslims, and even of a few Serbs. Those who are spiteful ask themselves why JUL didn't stand up for peace and inter-national tolerance when terror over Sandzak's Muslims was at its most extreme and why they failed to "protect public property'' when corruption (especially in relation to office space in the cities) was in full swing. Talking to VREME, the president of JUL's municipal board for Novi Pazar denies the accusations:

We are the first JUL municipal board in the country---we were founded in April of last year. Our board is made up of people who had, even in 1990, spoken out against nationalistic euphoria, and who were quieted down in the meantime, so it is not true that we have only now thought to condemn nationalism of the right-wing parties and the passivity of the ruling one---we simply didn't have a chance to publicly express our stand.''

Alongside the "responsible claim'' that JUL does not blackmail people and that it has no privileges ("on the contrary''), Zuhra Mumdzic ticks off all that she resents in their coalition partners:

"What we condemn most has to do with inter-nationalistic relations, primarily acts of ethnic cleansing in certain institutions, especially in the police department and municipal bodies where almost all Muslims have lost their jobs. There is also the question of passivity in the housing-public utility services issues, non-reactions to illegal construction, the selling off of public property for mere trifles...''

Which is how JUL is slowly taking over even the little left-over space for any kind of political "beliefs'' which transcend nationalism in Sandzak. The immediate dangers of serious conflicts have diminished here, yet distrust is still high. This point is best illustrated by the recently completed vaccination of children against poliomyelitis infant paralysis. By the action of the World Health Organization and UNICEF, all children up to five years old were to be encompassed in it from 15 municipalities from Kosovo and an additional 14 from Serbia, mainly those which border Kosovo. The fact that the municipality Novi Pazar was included in it yet not the neighboring Raska (municipality with a marked Serbian majority), brought about an unbelievable reaction in Novi Pazar---on the portal of the mosque a warning somehow appeared stating that it was all part of a treacherous conspiracy with the intention to sterilize Muslim children. Persuasion and explanations didn't help a single bit---slightly more than half the population was vaccinated in Novi Pazar.

Source: Belgrade weekly "Vreme", October 5, 1996

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The pre-electoral views of the Montenegrin branch of the SDA party are discussed in the September 6, 1996, issue of the Podgorica weekly "Monitor" by Esad Kocan.

While there was thunder all around and Bosnia was burning, president Bulatovic was estimating the moral value of the political parties. The patriotic norm was then fullfilled by the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, National party, and Seselj's Radicals. The rest - all bare domestic traitor. The top of the SDA party first had the treatment of the citizens inclined towards terrorism.

Now, that peace is won, the President will have to, judging by all indicators, to make a new list of party patriotism. Most culpable for this surprise job is the leadership of the SDA party. For some time, there are indications that the leaders of the Montenegrin branch of the national party of Muslims-Bosniaks is more and more inclined to spread around FRY patriotism. The leader of the party, Harun Hadzic, is quite precise" We cannot support independent Montenegro if that would mean another breakup of our nation in Sandzak and FRY. Who supports that, supports the destruction of Muslims-Bosniaks in these regions".

But, this party, as far as it is known, did not change its opinion concerning the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is usually beleived that behind all key actions of the SDA party of Montenegro and Sandzak is the national central committee in Sarajevo. The theory is hard to verify, but there is no proof that this time the principle of "democratic centralism" was in operation.

There are serious indications that the SDA top for Sandzak and Montenegro has brought the decision to regulate the situation of the Muslims within Milosevic's project of rump greater Serbia through its own initiative. The visit of its delegation to "all mighty" Lilic, his tenderness towards exiled Sulejman Ugljanin - are the most obvious proof of this new spiritual climate. To Milosevic and Bulatovic, the decision of the SDA to play the role of constructive criticism comes as a token electoral gift. It is not known whether Hadzic and Ugljanin seriously count that as a counter measure, when he unveils the new constitution, Milosevic could give them the autonomy of Sandzak.

Source: Podgorica weekly "Monitor", September 6, 1996

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I the October 11, 1996 issue of the Novi Sad weekly "Nezavisni", Zoran Lekovic looks at the pre-electoral situation in Vojvodina.

The one that needs somebody else to exist bewcause he is against him, or because he is for him, demonstrates in that manner his lack of power. The one that needs a borrowed messiah, actually adits that he does not beleive in himsel either. How does he expect that the voters beleive him either ?

This is not the first time this happens to our opposition. It has hang like that previously to Milan Panic, some even on Dobrica Cosic, who were also invented by the regime- he used them and then threw them away - so that the opposition would get a hold of them, lake a chewed up bone. One more time it was seen that the best politics is - the politics that is true to itself, ebven if it is not a best one.

It became obvious one more time, that those Vojvodina parties who have given up on the Serbian opposition a long time ago were right, and which have, along with a number of local non-governmental organizations and citizens groups, started developing a strategy and tactic for the solution to the Vojvodina question, with their own forces. The Manifest for autonomous Vojvodina has, in that manner, become a founding stone of the Vojvodina political option. From that action, which was begun as far as a year ago, an authentic, self-building and self-contained coalition arose - Vojvodina, whose bearers of legal legitimacy are the parties registered for the elections, LSV, NSS and SGS, but also the Vojvodina club, the Independent parliament members group in the Vojvodina parliament, Banat Forum and all other signatories of the Manifest (17 of them), who actually are not entering the elections by themselves. The most known names: Nenad Canak, Dragan Veselinov, Mile Isakov and Bosko Kovacevic, certainly carry some weight, but even so nobody gave them any serious chances in the elections. It was shown though, that this coalition, even though the smalles one, is the strongest and most compact since it is best founded.

It simply beleives in something concrete, in Vojvodina, but, it seems, even more that the Serbian politics, in Serbia and Yugoslavia. Deeply convinced that Serbia must democratize itself, in such a manner that it would be decentralized, conscious that tihs cannot happen overnight, it knows that you must start from something and that this process will be initiated there where the conditions are most suited for it. And it has begun to work on this to create conditions in Vojvodina, convinced that Vojvodina is most mature for democratic changes and that as such, it is capable and ready to bregin this process, hoping at the same time, that Serbia, at some point, will be gratful for it.

Until then, it has to withstand the accusations of threason of Serbia and the opposition, be ready to bear the guilt for all that will not go smoothly in this process. But this is better than to wander from one corner to the other, threaten, trade, offfer yourself and sell, acting at one moment as mighty, crying as a coo coo bird the next about the bad electoral conditions and various conspiracies.

Source: Novi Sad weekly "Nezavisni", October 11, 1996

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Seki Radoncic of the Podgorica weekly "Monitor" discusse in the October 18, 1996 issue of that magazine the role of the Montenegrin police in the electoral campaign.

The open suspicion of the democratic opposition in Montenegro that the ruling party will use the police for party purposes during the electoral campaign has been confirmed these days through a concrete accusation. The police is accused of covert and public taping of the opposition gatherings, tearing of its electoral posters, turning off of electricity on its meetings, eqavesdropping on the oppositionary leaders, arrest of their bodyguards, interrogation of the authors of "unsuitable slogans"...

Everything starts with open taping of the opposition gatherings, particularly of National Unity with police cameras. Recently the police spectacularly arrested Budimir Razic, former boxing champion and now the body guard of the oppositionary leader Novak Kilibarda. The police also searched Razic's house and weekend house.

The police also brought in for interrogation K, Misko Djukic, the DJ of the independent Podgorica radio station "Antena M". The police was particulalry intersested, as Djukic states, whehter he was the author of the slogan "an end to thievery", which is often heard at the "National Unity" gatherings, as well as the unpleasant songs of the pop group "Brain Elliminator".

Since the activities of the Montenegrin police is not under the control of the multi party parliament in Montenegro, there is a beleif in the opposition that the police in the electoral campaign eavesdrops on their leaders contrary to the constitution. This is particularly true of the ioppositioanry leaders Slavko Perovic and Novak Kilibirda.

Source: Podgorica weekly "Monitor", October 18, 1996

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Podgorica weekly "Monitor" brought in its issue of October 11, 1996, a text by Nebojsa Redzic, which adresses the possible electoral manipulations.

Almost with no cause at all, with the start of the electoral campaign of the opposition, all state services started functioning, from the firemen and policemen, to the President of the Constitutional Court and State prosecutor, so that they would be able to strengthen the impression made by the verbal loops made by the ruling foursome.

It is obvious that it was not enough for the DPS to have all the material, technical and organisational advantage, but has insisted to demonstrate this advantage in all the spheres relevant for the evualtuation of the regularity of the elections. And talking about regularity, after all that has preceded the ccampaign, and what is happening during its course, is almost impossible.

There is an evident panic of the regime,which is particularly seen with some of its individuals. True though, the barricades and guns, as the memory of previous elections were not activated, but some new delicacies were promoted, enough to be a serious test for the population of not so respectable civil courage. Making a list of car plates which visit the oppositionary gatherings, request of ID's and checkup of all which move towards the gathering places and police cameras which register in detail all present, are only part of the special treatment by the police of the "non-political" and "non-partisan" structured police force.

It is also interesting to note the method in which the "most massive" political group - the DPS, gathered the signatures for its participation in the republican and federal elections. Somewhat due to the lack of spontainety of the membership not ready to come to the feet of the activists who have organised the collection of signatures, and much more due to checking of loyalty of the employees in state services, this paper was offered to those who had to express their support for the DPS as a part of the system which was built after this party, or its leaders in previous incarnation, came to power.Interesting, for example is the case from the municipality of Berane, where the medical emergency vheicle driver conditioned the transport of the patients to the hospital with the signatures of support for the DPS. So , let somebody dare not sign.

The use of children in the promotinoal gatherings of the DPS has become an integral part of the scenario, soulessly aggressive until it becomes unbearable.

Also, in recent days a number of files from former political prisoner's archives was activated, particularly those who were imprisoned for their support of Soviet Unio during the late fourties until mid-fifities. This is quite a number of people, some forty thousand.

All that the regime has done so far, without asking anybodys opinion about the regularity of the electoral campaign, pales in comaprison to what it is ready to do when the voting itself is in question. The old rule that the one who counts the votes wins, in Montenegro is strengthened with different manipulations based on the experiences from previous three elections.The opposition has already filed a formal request to see the official voting lists, as to prevent the already sseen methods, of dead people voting, the right of the individuals to vote for the whole family, neighbourhood or the whole village.

Source: Podgorica weekly "Monitor", October 11, 1996

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Slobodan Reljic Belgrade jurnalist writes in Belgrade quaterly "Pravo na sliku &rec" (The right to picture words ") about role of printig media in in fortcoming election in SRY.

It is not hard to tell what influence the independant media will have on the outcome of the forthcoming election in the federal republicof Yugoslavia. To put it consecly :not much.

There are meny reasaons for this, not only fundamental ones,which one should look for in the structure and distribution of power among the layers of the society, but trivial ones, like the situation in newspapers offices and the price of newspapers . This text will deal with "trivial reasons".

Using only four basic mathematic operations even a layman in the statistc will realise the range of influence the Yugoslav independant media have. To regularly buy one one independant political daily newspaper and one montoly , say " Nasa Borba " and "NIN", requires 30 DEM per month.

The average wage in this contry is around 150 DEM per month. So one fifth shoul be set asade for the newspapers .The cost of living for a modest four member family in a two room fleat (rent, water ,heating ,electrisity phone cannot be covered by 100 DEM. Then there is a bread and litre of milk for which one must set aside 2 DEM every morning. .. And the list goes on.

The Wall Street Journalhas recently calculated that the average price of one hour in Germany is 40 DEM. The same amount of work in Yugoslavia costs 1 DEM .One copy of the NIN montly, cost 8 dinars , which is 2,35 DEM. Therefore , the sacrifice that the Yugoalavs are making every month in other to read their favorite newspapers becomes clear by means of the foloving conperason: if a German were to pay for a copy of Der Spiegel" at the price of two and the half works, it would cost 99 DEM.

Thera meny conclusions. One that Yugoaslavs might the most feitful readers in the world , because it is realy hard to imagine a German who would pay 100 DEM.for the copy of magazine insted of 5 DEM. It is even harder to imagine such mass lunacy becase by dedefinition the mass media require exsactly that) for a twomillion peculiar people top apppear every week. It is true though, that their numbers are decliningin Yugoslavia as well.

Therefore, the election in this expensiv country will be influenced mainly by electronic media ; or those for wich the state collects the obligatory tax included in people's electrcity bills, or the so-called commercal electronic media , which support themselves by renting advertising time to the companies, which are again under the direct control of the stae and the party. (the rulling party and the allies) mechanisms.

In this way the madia circle closes. Any eventual suprizes can neider be creatednor supported in the media

These are the fact about the independant media pending this year elections. Noting can be alterd . But, like in a fairy tales , miracles might occur.

Source : Belgrade quaterly "Pravo na sliku i rec" ("The Right to pictures words"), October, 1996

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Milan Milosevic of the Belgrade weekly "Vreme" analyzed the final results of the independent opinion poll in the last pre-election issue of that magazine of October 31, 1996.

In the last month and a half we have asked on three occasions: "For which party would you vote if the elections for the Yugoslav Federal Parliament were held today?". According to these polls, the coalition "Zajedno", was at some point more, at some others less ahead of the leftist coalition (SPS-ND-JUL). The polling team of the "Partner" agency made it third attempt of checking the public opinion of Serbia without kosovo, between October 22 and 26, on the sample of 1000 of those eligible to vote in 97 lcal communities and 28 municipalities, and got these answers to the same question:

SPS-JUL-ND - 23,9 percent;

"Zajedno" - 26,1 percent;

Serbian Radical Party - 10,4 percent;

Other parties 4,9 percent;

Undecided- 15,9 percent;

Not voting 19,5 percent;

This means, and this is clearly seen from the data, that the leftist coalition remained quite close to the strength it held at the last republican elections in Serbia in 1993, he;ld by the SPS (24,3:23,9), and that the coalition "Zajedno" is a bit stronger (for 3,1 percent of the electoral body), that the sum of the results of DEPOS, Democratic party and DSS (23,5:26,1). The "Partner" research team (six researchers and 33 pollers), after three rounds of research decided to cautiously announce its prognosis - that around four million people will vote in Serbia (without Kosovo) and that the "Zajedno" coalition will win more votes that the leftist coalition (SPS-JUL-ND). How much will this be, the researchers did not say, since the final round of the campaign, with possible surprises, was yet to come.

Source: Belgrade weekly "Vreme" (electronic edition), October 31, 1996

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Olivija Rusovac, gave an electoral summary-commentary in the October/November issue of the revived Vrsac bi-monthly "Kosava".

This regime simply cannot thin in compound categories of the civil society. It sopeaks with the language of dictate. That is why its representatives, like Ratko Markovic, can speak such nonsense that "only a strong state can secure human rights". This, in other words means that human rights will never be achieved, since such a regime will always say that human rights threathen a strong state. The similar empty phrase was used by Dobrica Cosic when he supported the regime with the statement "first the Constitution, then democracy". This was the end of any democracy.

It was easy to rebel the nation, it was easy to start a war, it was even easy to lose it, but this regime has it the hardest in peace. It was not able to establish a dialogue with other nations in former Yugoslavia, and now it is even unable to reach it with its own people in Serbia. It finds itself in a curios position. It enjoys certain (degrading) kindness of the US and the West, and inside , more and more, it is burning under its feet due to strikes of workers, professors, salesmen, doctors, due to the situation in Kosovo, and unfullfilled hopes in foreign credits.

Unfortunately, the opposition has not fully comprehended that the peacetime demands from ita more diversified and complex engagement. Its relation to ethnic questions posed by the recently concluded war is unclear, and it acts like it knows exactly what it would do in peace. The opposition is still making up its mind about accepting the values of democracy and civil society and it is not adept enough to use the advantages of the discontent of the great number of workers with the social conditions within the country. It does not have enough courage when it adressses those that do not accept anymore the degrading conditions of living and who have discarded fatalism. Its stance towards minorities, Kosovo and Vojvodina is unclear.The opposition in Vojvodina has no understanding for Serbia, and the opposition in Serbia does not understand the problems of Vojvodina. But, besides the complaints, the opposition has to be congratulated on opening up all the key questions of the society, and that is the prerequisite for a dialogue without which there is no modern society. Although our opposition, in its greatest part, is not modern, it is turned more to the future than to the past.

Source: Vrsac bi-monthly "Kosava", October/November 1996

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