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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

High Serbian Officials Criticize Milosevic

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Signs of Serbian government authority faltering from relentless street protests increased Friday when an eminent former ally of President Slobodan Milosevic accused him of ignoring the popular will.


There was no let-up in Serbia's marathon political crisis as thousands of people demonstrating against the government's annulment of municipal elections won by an opposition coalition marched again in Belgrade on Friday.


Signs of dwindling state authority spread, with lawyers going on strike, teachers picketing and Belgrade university deans breaking off contacts with the pro-Milosevic rector.


Three hundred members of the Belgrade Bar Association rallied to demand the resignation of the justice and interior ministers for their role in frustrating opposition efforts to have election results reinstated.


Street protests buffeting Serbia for almost three months have wrought dissension in the leftist establishment, and the latest influential figure to break ranks was Borisav Jovic, once one of Milosevic's close associates.


Jovic, a former Yugoslav federal president who fell out with Milosevic over the rising power of the Serbian leader's wife, said in a British newspaper interview the policy of ignoring election results had divided and weakened the government.


He was quoted by the Guardian newspaper as urging Milosevic to admit election defeats in accordance with the law and reduce the clout of his wife Mira Markovic, who heads one of the governing parties, the Yugoslav United Left.


"If someone thinks they can do anything against ... the constitution and the law, that is a very serious situation," Jovic said in the interview, conducted in Belgrade.


Current Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic betrayed doubt within governing circles when he said Thursday that the crisis was caused in part by "dishonorable behavior by individuals" who supervised the elections.


The informed newsletter VIP said Lilic lent support to the idea of reinstating the vote outcome at a meeting of the main board of Milosevic's Socialist Party in the presence of the Serbian president last week.