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May 15, 1999
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 10-Special
Party Politics

Saints Day Without the Head Priest

On May 6 at the session of the Directorate of the Jugoslav Left (JUL) it was decided that "enemies from within" should be judged "by the people themselves."  The JUL Directorate decided that despite the fact that "our people are the best people in the world" and that "at no other time have there been fewer traitors among us than at the present moment," traitors still do exist.  "Everything they do against their country should be known by the public, and the people should be allowed to judge them.  In no other war has treason been forgiven..."

On the very same evening in the Radio Television Serbia (RTS) evening news, the main news program of the day, an entire news segment was devoted to traitors and fifth columnists, personified in the figures of Zoran Djindjic and Vuk Obradovic, presidents of the Democratic Party (DS) and Social Democracy (SD), whom RTS accused of treason against the state, calling them fifth columnists.

In this TV news segment it was claimed that these politicians are "unique enemy radars who, seeing that the war is nearing its end, are recommending themselves both to the West and to our people for some future time.  Thus Djindjic told BBC that he makes no secret of the fact that he wishes to be president of the FRY," the news commentary notes: "Djindjic is lobbying for another three weeks of bombing of FR Yugoslavia for he believes that within that period of time it would definitely be destroyed, while at the same time offering his candidacy as president of the FRY."

"Vuk Obradovic is no less cooperative, also wishing to see NATO troupes in Kosovo and Metohija, and, most likely, in order to speed up their arrival, as a former general of the Yugoslav Army, he is extremely forthcoming in all interviews he gives to foreign journalists, giving the British BBC television information which is in now way related to his duties as an official of his party," RTS observes.

"We have experience with RTS and JUL commentaries and we know all about them   this has been going on for ten years," stated DS Vice-President Slobodan Vuksanovic, adding that at the same time he is not fearing for the security of members of his party and that the Democratic Party will continue with its regular activities.  For him the commentary is "a lynch call" and an attempt by the regime "to face off with political adversaries in the whirlwind of war and to stifle the delicate shoots of democratic society in the country."  "We are democrats and patriots and we truly love our country, but we do not have to prove that to anyone," pointed out the DS Vice- President.

In a statement for Montenegrin TV, Djindjic stated that "the model and the authors of the warrant issued for him are one and the same as in the case of the murdered journalist Slavko Curuvija."  "Like myself, Curuvija was forewarned that a certain plan exists, but he did not take this seriously, whereas I took this seriously and I am living under conditions which are doubly extraordinary   on the one hand extraordinary because of the bombing, and on the other because of the fact that a war is being waged in Serbia against a one part of the people themselves who will pose the question of responsibility," stated Djindjic.

In a statement for Reuters, Djindjic said that he has been in Montenegro for a while, but that since the regime's media began accusing him and Obradovic of treason, he started planning his return to Belgrade.  According to him this entire episode proves that the regime is ready to divide the nation into patriots and traitors and to avoid responsibility.  According to his predictions, "if the war ends with the same political leadership in power, with Slobodan Milosevic at its head, tragedy and violence will continue."  According to him, the opportunity for a complete turnaround and a new beginning for Yugoslavia exists, and "it can be achieved with decisive international aid" in a way in which the West, before the war ends, "would clearly tell the regime that it demands a democratic renewal of Yugoslavia."

Vuk Obradovic, President of Social Democracy (DS), also believes that the statement by the Yugoslav Left and RTS commentaries are "a call for a pogrom and a shoot down of all people who hold different opinions."  "I am not afraid of their insinuations, lies and threats, but I wish it to be known that I will hold responsible the JUL leadership and several other individuals and institutions which are supporting JUL policies and all such political strategies for any eventual consequences of this act of inciting hatred on the security of my family, my associates and myself personally," it is observed in Vuk Obradovic written statement carried by the Beta Agency.

The Leftist Radical Party "Nikola Pasic" demanded on May 10 that "an immediate investigation" be carried out against Djindjic and Obradovic.  This Party announced that it will "submit a complaint to responsible authorities" against Djindjic and Obradovic, hoping that they will be arrested.

Beside the radicals, the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) also spoke out on this occasion.  At a press conference on May 11, SPO President Vuk Draskovic did not wish to comment on any statements given by Zoran Djindjic: "As far as I know, Djindjic is not in Serbia.  He deserted his people and his party at their most difficult moment.  I do not wish to comment on any statements given by such a man."

While other parties are keeping quiet, criticism of Djindjic was voiced even by his supporters.  Miodrag Perisic, Federal MP and official in the DS, criticized Djindjic because of his statement that Miosevic should "be taken to the Hague."  Perisic stated for the weekly magazine "Reporter" of Banja Luka that he believes that Djindjic will not continue for long as leader of the DS because "he did not fulfill the expectations of our membership, our Head Committee, officials and leaders... and he will have to give answers to some very serious questions.  Djindjic's natural time is up.  For over five years he has been president of the party and it is time for him to move on.  People who today pretend to speak in the name of Serbia and the Serbian people should first answer what it is they took from Serbia," Perisic noted.  He also criticized Djindjic for not showing up on the official Saints' Day of the Democratic Party, St. George's Day: "instead we heard that he is in Montenegro and that he is making some important plans for the future."

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