YUGOSLAVIA: FIVE WEEKS INTO THE SUCCESSION

Created: 6/12/1980

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Yugoslavia: Five Weeks Into the Succession

The Yugoslav leadership continues to exhibitin its ability to govern without Tito. Thejp: power to the collegial leadership hds been smooth.

The new leaders repeatedly have expressed theirto follow the path laid out bynon-aligned policy abroad and socialist self-management at home. This resolve is reinforced by the implied threat the Yugoslav's see by the Soviet move into Kabul and by what they interpret as Moscow's efforts to reestablish its authority over international socialism. J| W

Domestic political problems may surface soon. Tito died, there was evidence that somewere jockeying for position within theleadership. Thismaneuveringand could intensify. The first major testcollective leadership probably will come inthe post of party presidium chairman is scheduled There are no statutes governing the selectionnew chairman, nor isrecedent^oramong the presidium

Solving the nation's seemingly chronic economicwillerious challenge. The Yugoslavs already have turned to Western countries for economic and financial aid and are likely to regard the responsearometer of^the West's willingness to support post-Tito Yugoslavia.

For the Soviets, new leadership in Belgrade does not appear to have brought any lessening of theseparating Moscow and Belgrade. With Tito comatose in late April, the new Yugoslav leaders refused to attend the Soviet-inspired meeting of European Communist parties in Paris. More recently, the Yugoslavs have renewed theiroonaligned ministerial meeting focused on the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan. There is

no evidence yet. however, that the Soviets are making any special efforts to gain control over the new leaders or to destabilize the regis*.

Tbe new collegial system is unlikely to be durable over the longergiven tbe problems it faces. Nevertheless, the new leaders gained valuable experience and confide-ice during Tito's four-month long illness. For now. however, they appear intent on abiding scrupulously by the rules of collectivity. This should mean eight toonths of relative calm in domestic politics.

The Succession

The succession machinery has functioned well. Within hours of Tito's deathay, the State Presidency met and installed vice President Lazar Kolisevski for the Yugoslav State Presidency. Less than two weeks later, on IS Hay. Kolisevski's one-year-tern as Vice President and short start as President had come to an end on schedule.how of rule-by-law intended for audiences at home andreported on nationwidePresident was selected in accordance with the established principle of annual rotation among Presidency members and among the nation's republics and provinces. ammmm*

The new President, Cvjetinerb from Bosnia-Hercegovina, was elected alongew Vice President.Rraigher from Slovenia. The rules of procedure were subsequently amended so that the State Presidency rotation applies to both the President and Vice President. Kraigher will assume the Presidency inerb, probably Petar Stambolic, will assume the Vice Presidency. Thus, the new leadership wasted little time in clearing up some of the few ambiguities associated with the State Presidency.

The regime's strict observance of the rules of the collective leadership is calculated to project an air of confidence and self-assurance. At the time of Tito's funeral, for example, the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug listed the members of the party leadership alphabetically; when naming members of the state leadership, the media followed the established order of rotation by which each member assumes the Presidency.

At the funeral the speeches broke no new ground;the speakers stressed continuity, the unity of the Yugoslav peoples, and the nation's determination toits independence. Mmm

Just before Tito's death, and in hopes of silencing domestic critics, the regime sought and apparently gained promisesumber of politicians ousted in themainly Serbs andto make trouble in the succession period. One of them, Mijalko Todorovic, publicly expressed his loyalty to Tito and his policies at the time of the funeral. MM)

In an effort to highlight the fact that the nation's most volatile minorityole in Yugoslavia's future, Fadil Hodza, the country's foremost Albanian, was given the honor of accompanying Tito's body on ths train from Ljubljana to Belgrade. Hodza alsorominent roleeeting foreignnationwide coverage in the Yugoslav media.

In connection with Security Day onay, most of the key players in theDefenseLjubicic, then state President Kolisevski. party Presidium chairman Doronjski, and Presidium membermet with Interior Minister Herljevic, rather than sending the customary telegrams. The publicity accorded these meetings was designed to demonstrate the degree ofamong Yugoslavia's newthose whoformulate national defense and internal security policies.

Relations wirh Moscow

Both the Yugoslavs and Soviets recently commemorated inashion the anniversary of the Belgrade Declarationnd relations in general are correct. There have been no indications, however, that either the Yugoslavs or Soviets are prepared to make concessions over the differences that separate them. With Soviet President Brezhnev in the audience, Presidium Chairman Doronjski, in his eulogy of Tito,ow-key, but pointedto the correctness of Tito's break with Stalinore recently, Yugoslavia's most noted newsHilika Sundic, lost no time in responding to Pravda's

criticism of the Yugoslav and other parties for not at*cow-iniipired meeting ot Communist parties Paris W

Fundamental differences block any significantin bilateral relations which are further strained over Afghanistan, Kampuchea, China, and thf course of the Nonaliqned Movement. These strains are tempered, however, by Yugoslavia's dependence on the Soviet Unionary equipment and their close economic tier. a

Five weeks into the succession, Yugoslav-Sovietappear to be settling into the traditionalblend of cooperation and confrontation. On the one hand, the formal (but somewhat unconvincing) expressions of friendship continue apace, as do cultural and economic ties. On the other, the two have already, ratumed to sniping at each other in the press.

Problems In the Economy

The most difficult problem the new leadership in Yugoslavia faces is resolving the seemingly chronic economic difficulties

Croving inflation and bal ance-of-payments problems force it to consider further austerity measures that could have negative political consequences. In the past, even with Tito alive, Belgrade has shied away from im-

igorous and effective stabilization program

mm

Yugoslav efforts to combat inflation and cut its foreign trade deficit9 met with little success. Measures introduced ina partial price freeze and controls on credit, particularly forto produce the desired results.

Now, there are signs the new leaders willigorous stabilization program. The dinar wasbyercentartial price freezeune. These measures were announcedwith IMF approvalew loan for Yugoslavia for4 million in return for which Belgrade has undertaken totabilization program. The

0

measures are partough three-stage program the government is preparing. The second phase will include measures designed to bring into line investment, public sector spending, and the growth of personal incomes. The government is expected to introduce additicna) monetary and foreign exchange policies. These will be

intoive-year plan.

part the third phase whichipordted

Tito's successors also face growing signs that the wealthier republics, particularly Slovenia, will challenge the system under which financial aidis mandated to the country's less-developed regions. jmw

Uncertainties Ahead

The collective leadership system that Titom8 has yet to bemplemented. On the federal level, both the oarty and state executive collegial bodies are in place, but implementaticn of the system at the republic and local levels lags because republic-level and local officials resist collegiality which they seehreat to their power base. Mm

In Belgrade, the relationships between the members of the party and state executive bodies have yet to be spelled out. It also is clear that these two collegial executives are not equal, and that factions backing this or that individual already are forming. Political maneuvering, backbiting, and intrigue .have been endemic to Yugoslavia, even with Tito alive. M

Serbian power appears to be coalescing aroundMinister Ljubicic and Presidium members Milos Minic and Petar Stambolic. On the other hand, Croatian influence rivets on Vladimir Bakaric, the man Tito tapped to oversee the succession. Bakaric apparently ishis main support from fellow Croats and political allies fron neighboring Bosnia-Hercegovina. The rivalry between these two groups couldisruptive factor over the next several months, but for the moment there are no signs it is getting out of hand. ajor test could develop over the summer if the supporters of Bakaric persist in their recent efforts to have him named the next party presidium chairman. This move is reportedly opposed by Minic and his followers. The

problem is complicated because there is no precedent set forew presidium chairman- .Tito picked the presidium chairman, fly

This behind-the-scenes jockeying complicated by the political aspirations of other prominent Yugoslavs,lovenian Stane Do lane. Thus far, hovever, all factions_haveillingness to keep their political machinations within acceptable bounds. The test could come in October when they contend for the much coveted position the party presidium rhairpan which becomes vacant.

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