YUGOSLAVIA: TROUBLED PARTY CONGRESS

Created: 6/25/1982

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

h Congress of the League of Communists opening tomorrow will highlight the country'e deep divisions and its lack of ntrong leadership einoe Tito's death. Power it likely to remain in the hands of regional leaders, who want continued decentralisation of authority and gradual democratisation in the party. Discussions at the congress will center on economic probleme, but the partywill not go beyond reaffirming the general guidelines recently drafted by the gooernment. fffj

The congress is responsible for charting national programs until the party's next general convention in

Two-thirds ofmember presidium will be rotated in accordance wttb-Tito's mandate that no one

loader will dominate.

The party leadership, which is plagued byand indecision. Isin

dealing with economic problems. Por example, the major economic document for the congresswillpecial ijovcrroaent cornraission. V

The reportong-term austerity program,congress probably will endorse. Debate isover proposals to give marketorerole in the economy and to alter thesystem. Representatives of regionalwho have frustrated federal efforts atwill oppose any proposals that would

Party leaders risk losing the confidence of the people because of the economic situation. Inflationecordercentnd there isover periodic shortages of consumerising unemployment,percent drop in real personalin the past two years. Tha need for austerity to

ret

has acted to correct the paymentsarge cuts in imports, the country could cover its financing needs this year by using its hard currency reaarves and available credita. Tugoalavia, however, will need substantial new medium-term financing3

So far the public has accepted hardships, party leaders, however, are ijneasy that bleak economic prospects may load to unrest.

Political Differences and Ethnic Pressures

The party, nowillion strong,nified national party only in theory. Its eight regionaloften force Belgrade to compromise on policy initiativaa. In April, for example, the Slovene party rejected draft legislation that would have allowed the National. Bank to control all hard currency hold in regional banks.

Party conservatives decry this "confederalization" and insist on restoring more power to Belgrade. Some Yugoslav economists also see recentraJ^zation asto carry out economic roforms. Mt/g

Pressure for more party democracy seems likely at tho congress. eries of proposed changes in the partya provision for party referenda onif approved, help restrain the federal party's ability to impose unpopular measures.

The congress also will have to take account of increasing ethnic tonsions. There may be embarrassing demonstrations by Albanian nationalists in Kosovo Province during the meeting.

in the province.

There were violent flareupa in Kosovo this spring, despite the presence of special security forces. The

i beer^^nable to devise corrective measures

congress may address the threat of spreading nationalism. Many Yugoslavs are concerned that the Serbs, angered by the demands of the people in Kosovo for republic status and fearful of losing authority over their provinces, are attemptiiwstoominant position in the federation.

Foreign Policy

The congress will reaffirm nonalignment, theof Yugoslavia's foreign policy. Both the US and the USSR are likely to be criticized for the deterioration of detente and for slow progress in disarmament. IB '

let language appearing

in the final.resolution.

This could explain Moscow's decision to sendPolitburo member Kuznetsov to tue congress. Previous delegations were headed by full Politburo members. "tmV

More Frustration Ahead

Earlier in the year many Yugoslavs hoped the party leadership wouldew sense of purpose to political and economic decisionmaking. More recently, however, editorials warned the public not to expect too much.

In the meantime, the strong new government installed in May has begun to tackle the economic problems,onsensus in the party, however, the government will not be able to make much headway. Its efforts may only heighten tensions among conservatives in the party, who may be concerned that the party's leading role is being usurped. V

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA