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CNN Today

Yugoslav Revolution: Milosevic Plans to Stay in Politics

Aired October 6, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Here's what's happening. One day after dissidents stormed the Yugoslavian parliament, even Russia recognizes their victory. But, behind the celebrations in Belgrade today, there is still that nagging question: Slobodan Milosevic is down, but is he out?

CNN Belgrade bureau chief Alessio Vinci still is watching the dramatic events. He's joins us now to help us sort things out.

What's the latest, Alessio?

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN BELGRADE BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Lou, tonight we know a little bit more about the man who made all this necessary, Slobodan Milosevic. We know he is in Belgrade, because earlier today he met with the Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, and we also know that he, Mr. Milosevic, intends to remain in politics, because that is what he told Mr. Ivanov during their brief meeting today in downtown -- in Belgrade, Ujizca (ph) Street, where Mr. Milosevic, or one of the residences of Mr. Milosevic.

So, as thousands of people here celebrate their victory over the political system here, Mr. Milosevic is, apparently, showing no signs of wanting to leave politics. This does not mean that Mr. Milosevic is not going to step down as the Yugoslav president, but certainly showing a strong indication that, at this point, Mr. Milosevic wants to remain the head of the Socialist Party and if and when Mr. Kostunica becomes the president of the Yugoslavia, then he will be obviously the chief of the opposition to Mr. Kostunica.

Meanwhile all this happening while hundreds of thousands of people are demonstrating in the streets of Belgrade today in that very same square where, yesterday, they had to confront police and tear gas in order to storm the federal parliament building in those dramatic events that we reported to you yesterday. The mood there, today, a dramatic change from the scenes yesterday. Scenes of jubilation, people singing, people relieved, feeling a sense of freedom after 10 years of sanctions, after 10 years of isolation and misery and misery and repression. People telling us that this is really the new beginning for this country.

However, as we heard, Mr. Milosevic is -- has no intention of leaving politics. He wants to remain very much involved in Serbian politics here. The army is keeping quiet, keeping silent for the moment being. And the opposition is asking opposition -- opposition supporters to remain in the streets of Belgrade to protect whatever victory they have achieved so far in the streets of Belgrade.

Back to you Lou.

WATERS: Let's go a little bit beyond Kostunica and Milosevic in the Serbian political structure and note that the opposition party does not have the majority of votes in -- in the parliament. How does that complicate the opposition's effort to put together a governing coalition?

VINCI: Well, Lou, Vojislav Kostunica was directly elected by the people. That was a change in the constitution that Mr. Milosevic introduced before this election was announced in -- in early -- in late July of this year. So, Mr. Kostunica, if and when he will be sworn in as the president, he will automatically become the president. He does not need the federal parliament to approve that.

What Mr. Kostunica needs is the federal parliament to approve his choice of prime minister and that's where things could become a little bit complicated, because he needs, first of all, a two-thirds majority in the upper house and lower house of the federal parliament. At that point, he needs, also the support of former Milosevic's allies in Montenegro. And so far, those political parties in Montenegro, the SNP, the Socialist People's Party, has made clear that they are still supporting Milosevic.

WATERS: And on sanctions, Alessio, once Kostunica becomes the official president of Yugoslavia, the lifting of sanctions, what does that mean for Yugoslavia?

VINCI: Well, it would mean injection of billions of dollars here that will come probably within the very first weeks and months, when Mr. Kostunica will become the president. It will give a big boost to the economy here. However, this country has been under tremendous economic restraint because of the sanctions, because of the crippling economy here and the industries. So, it will take several years, if not a decade to try to re-jump start the economy here. But, certainly the people here will feel that money coming in, because. so far, they have really lived on a trickle. They really lived on the soil of poverty, at least the vast majority of people in this country. And therefore, as soon as the sanctions are lifted people, I believe, will really start feeling the difference right away.

WATERS: All right, Alessio Vinci keeping watch in Belgrade where events continue to unfold.

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