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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Djindjic's Party Chooses Successor

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro -- A day after Serbia buried its slain prime minister, Zoran Djindjic's top associates nominated Sunday his likely successor.

Zoran Zivkovic, a Democratic Party vice-president was appointed as the party candidate for the post of Serbia's prime minister, following Djindjic's assassination five days ago.

The nomination of Zivkovic so soon after the funeral is an apparent attempt by Djindjic's allies to fulfill the power vacuum left by the premier's death.

There are fears that volatile Serbia could plunge into instability. The late prime minister was the most powerful official in the country and the leader of the reformist movement.

Zivkovic's candidacy would still have to be approved in Serbia's parliament, where Djindjic's reformist bloc holds more than half of a total of 250 seats.

"There is no dilemma for us," Zivkovic, who will also be an acting party leader until a new one is elected on a future party congress, told the delegates. "Djindjic has shown us the way on virtually every issue."

"He has set short-, mid- and long-term goals for us," he added. "Our task is to achieve those aims."

Djindjic, Serbia's pro-Western prime minister who was instrumental in toppling former President Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, was shot by a sniper Wednesday in front of Serbian government headquarters.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended the funeral service for Djindjic on Saturday, flooding the streets of Belgrade as the late premier's casket was carried through the city.

The authorities have accused an underworld clan linked to Milosevic allies of being behind the killing of Djindjic.

In a massive hunt for the killers, police so far have arrested 181 people. On Saturday, police said one of the prominent leaders of the so-called Zemun gang was apprehended.

Mladjan Micic, also known by his underworld nickname Pacov, or Rat, was arrested in central Serbia as police raided the house where he was hiding. The footage of Micic's capture was shown later on Serbia's state television.

But the key bosses of the clan, including former paramilitary commander Milorad Lukovic-Legija, remain at large despite an all-out search spreading beyond Serbia's borders.

On Saturday, police in neighboring Bosnia, wearing masks and accompanied by search dogs, raided a construction company in Pale, a Bosnian Serb village near the capital Sarajevo, looking for information about Djindjic's killers.

Authorities declared a nationwide state of emergency following the assassination, allowing suspects to be arrested without warrants and detained for up to 30 days without charging them.

The funeral procession in Belgrade was the biggest since the death of former Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980. Police estimated that up to 500,000 people took part in Saturday's march, many carrying candles and placing flowers along the path.

Dozens of foreign officials, including former U.S. State Secretary Lawrence Eagleburger, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and European Commission President Romano Prodi, attended the funeral.