Domestic resistance and state oppression

Sanctions implemented and later lifted

Serbia and Montenegro were placed under sanctions by the international community for their involvement in the fighting in Croatia and Bosnia.

If in 1992-3 Western leaders wanted to oust Milošević, by 1994 they appeared invested in his survival. He was seen as the figure that could deliver peace by controlling local Serbian leaders and in 1995, at Dayton, he did just that. Sanctions against Serbia were ended in 1995.

Opposition parties

Milošević faced significant Serb opposition at home. The three opposition democratic parties organized a unity coalition called Zajedno prior to the 1996 municipal elections.

Employees of Radio B92 Belgrade on election night, December 1992. (public source)

Employees of Radio B92 Belgrade on election night, December 1992.  (Flickr)

The opposition to Milosovic expressed itself through the newsmagazine Vreme, the radio station B92, the anti-war group Women in Black, and by widespread draft avoidance. While struggling against the powerful state apparatus, the opposition also had to overcome public apathy. They were also hampered by the boycott of the Serbian elections by Kosovo Albanians, which immediately yielded seats either to the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) or more extremist nationalist parties elected by Kosovo's Serbs.

Municipal elections in 1996
Zoran Dindic (public source)

Zoran Đinđić (Flickr/Courtesy of World Economic Forum)

Opposition supporters in Belgrade and several large urban centers outvoted Milošević's Socialist Party, and claimed victory in the local elections. Milošević blocked confirmation of the results, prompting three months of peaceful protest before he gave way, and opposition parties took control of fourteen cities. Zoran Đinđić, head of the Democratic Party, became mayor of Belgrade.

Presidential and parliamentary elections in 1997

Milošević, having served two terms as President of Serbia could not stand again, and so ran for the Presidency of Yugoslavia -- previously a position with little power. His selection resulted in increased Montenegrin nervousness over Serbian domination of the Yugoslav federation. Meanwhile, in the run up to the elections the opposition coalition fell apart. Rivalry between leading opposition figures over who would run for the Presidency as the coalition’s candidate resulted in a Democratic Party boycott of the elections.



Vuc Draskovic (courtesy of Mariusz Kubic)

Šešelij was defeated in the final round by the SPS' Milan Milutinović’s. SPS formed a leftist coalition with Yugoslav Left (JUL), headed by Milosevic's wife Mira Marković, which won 110 seats in the Assembly, while Seselj's SRS won 82 seats, and Vuk Drašković's Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) won 45. A government was formed when SPS formed a coalition with Šešelj's SRS, which united the forces of socialism and nationalism