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Contested Elections in Yugoslavia

Contested Elections in Yugoslavia

On September 24, 2000, Serbians and Montenegrins voted to elect the president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. With the votes tallied, a news report relays the latest in the contested battle between Slobodan Milosevic and opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica, both of whom claim victory.


The concept of Yugoslavia, as a single state for all South Slavic peoples, emerged in the late 17th century and gained prominence through the Illyrian Movement of the 19th century. The name was created by the combination of the Slavic words "jug" (south) and "slaveni" (Slavs). Yugoslavia was the result of the Corfu Declaration, as a joint project of the Slovene and Croatian intellectuals and the Serbian Royal Parliament in exile and the Serbian royal Karađorđević dynasty, who became the Yugoslav royal dynasty following the foundation of the state.

The country was formed in 1918 immediately after World War I as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by union of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and the Kingdom of Serbia. It was commonly referred to at the time as the "Versailles state". Later, the government renamed the country leading to the first official use of Yugoslavia in 1929.

King Alexander

On 20 June 1928, Serb deputy Puniša Račić shot at five members of the opposition Croatian Peasant Party in the National Assembly, resulting in the death of two deputies on the spot and that of leader Stjepan Radić a few weeks later. [6] On 6 January 1929, King Alexander I got rid of the constitution, banned national political parties, assumed executive power, and renamed the country Yugoslavia. [7] He hoped to curb separatist tendencies and mitigate nationalist passions. He imposed a new constitution and relinquished his dictatorship in 1931. [8] However, Alexander's policies later encountered opposition from other European powers stemming from developments in Italy and Germany, where Fascists and Nazis rose to power, and the Soviet Union, where Joseph Stalin became absolute ruler. None of these three regimes favored the policy pursued by Alexander I. In fact, Italy and Germany wanted to revise the international treaties signed after World War I, and the Soviets were determined to regain their positions in Europe and pursue a more active international policy.

Alexander attempted to create a centralised Yugoslavia. He decided to abolish Yugoslavia's historic regions, and new internal boundaries were drawn for provinces or banovinas. The banovinas were named after rivers. Many politicians were jailed or kept under police surveillance. The effect of Alexander's dictatorship was to further alienate the non-Serbs from the idea of unity. [9] During his reign the flags of Yugoslav nations were banned. Communist ideas were banned also.

The king was assassinated in Marseille during an official visit to France in 1934 by Vlado Chernozemski, an experienced marksman from Ivan Mihailov's Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization with the cooperation of the Ustaše, a Croatian fascist revolutionary organisation. Alexander was succeeded by his eleven-year-old son Peter II and a regency council headed by his cousin, Prince Paul.


The international political scene in the late 1930s was marked by growing intolerance between the principal figures, by the aggressive attitude of the totalitarian regimes and by the certainty that the order set up after World War I was losing its strongholds and its sponsors were losing their strength. Supported and pressured by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Croatian leader Vladko Maček and his party managed the creation of the Banovina of Croatia (Autonomous Region with significant internal self-government) in 1939. The agreement specified that Croatia was to remain part of Yugoslavia, but it was hurriedly building an independent political identity in international relations. The entire kingdom was to be federalised but World War II stopped the fulfillment of those plans.

Prince Paul submitted to the fascist pressure and signed the Tripartite Pact in Vienna on 25 March 1941, hoping to still keep Yugoslavia out of the war. But this was at the expense of popular support for Paul's regency. Senior military officers were also opposed to the treaty and launched a coup d'état when the king returned on 27 March. Army General Dušan Simović seized power, arrested the Vienna delegation, exiled Paul, and ended the regency, giving 17-year-old King Peter full powers. Hitler then decided to attack Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941, followed immediately by an invasion of Greece where Mussolini had previously been repelled. [10] [11]

At 5:12 a.m. on 6 April 1941, German, Italian and Hungarian forces invaded Yugoslavia. [12] The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) bombed Belgrade and other major Yugoslav cities. On 17 April, representatives of Yugoslavia's various regions signed an armistice with Germany in Belgrade, ending eleven days of resistance against the invading German forces. [13] More than 300,000 Yugoslav officers and soldiers were taken prisoner. [14]

The Axis Powers occupied Yugoslavia and split it up. The Independent State of Croatia was established as a Nazi satellite state, ruled by the fascist militia known as the Ustaše that came into existence in 1929, but was relatively limited in its activities until 1941. German troops occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as part of Serbia and Slovenia, while other parts of the country were occupied by Bulgaria, Hungary, and Italy. From 1941 to 1945, the Croatian Ustaše regime murdered around 500,000 people, 250,000 were expelled, and another 200,000 were forced to convert to Catholicism.

From the start, the Yugoslav resistance forces consisted of two factions: the communist-led Yugoslav Partisans and the royalist Chetniks, with the former receiving Allied recognition only at the Tehran conference (1943). The heavily pro-Serbian Chetniks were led by Draža Mihajlović, while the pan-Yugoslav oriented Partisans were led by Josip Broz Tito.

The Partisans initiated a guerrilla campaign that developed into the largest resistance army in occupied Western and Central Europe. The Chetniks were initially supported by the exiled royal government and the Allies, but they soon focused increasingly on combating the Partisans rather than the occupying Axis forces. By the end of the war, the Chetnik movement transformed into a collaborationist Serb nationalist militia completely dependent on Axis supplies. [15] The highly mobile Partisans, however, carried on their guerrilla warfare with great success. Most notable of the victories against the occupying forces were the battles of Neretva and Sutjeska.

On 25 November 1942, the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia was convened in Bihać, modern day Bosnia and Herzegovina. The council reconvened on 29 November 1943, in Jajce, also in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and established the basis for post-war organisation of the country, establishing a federation (this date was celebrated as Republic Day after the war).

The Yugoslav Partisans were able to expel the Axis from Serbia in 1944 and the rest of Yugoslavia in 1945. The Red Army provided limited assistance with the liberation of Belgrade and withdrew after the war was over. In May 1945, the Partisans met with Allied forces outside former Yugoslav borders, after also taking over Trieste and parts of the southern Austrian provinces of Styria and Carinthia. However, the Partisans withdrew from Trieste in June of the same year under heavy pressure from Stalin, who did not want a confrontation with the other Allies.

Western attempts to reunite the Partisans, who denied the supremacy of the old government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and the émigrés loyal to the king led to the Tito-Šubašić Agreement in June 1944 however, Marshal Josip Broz Tito was in control and was determined to lead an independent communist state, starting as a prime minister. He had the support of Moscow and London and led by far the strongest partisan force with 800,000 men. [16] [17]

The official Yugoslav post-war estimate of victims in Yugoslavia during World War II is 1,704,000. Subsequent data gathering in the 1980s by historians Vladimir Žerjavić and Bogoljub Kočović showed that the actual number of dead was about 1 million.

On 11 November 1945, elections were held with only the Communist-led People's Front appearing on the ballot, securing all 354 seats. On 29 November, while still in exile, King Peter II was deposed by Yugoslavia's Constituent Assembly, and the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was declared. [18] However, he refused to abdicate. Marshal Tito was now in full control, and all opposition elements were eliminated. [19]

On 31 January 1946, the new constitution of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, modelled after the constitution of the Soviet Union, established six republics, an autonomous province, and an autonomous district that were part of Serbia. The federal capital was Belgrade. The policy focused on a strong central government under the control of the Communist Party, and on recognition of the multiple nationalities. [19] The flags of the republics used versions of the red flag or Slavic tricolor, with a red star in the centre or in the canton.

Tito's regional goal was to expand south and take control of Albania and parts of Greece. In 1947, negotiations between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria led to the Bled agreement, which proposed to form a close relationship between the two Communist countries, and enable Yugoslavia to start a civil war in Greece and use Albania and Bulgaria as bases. Stalin vetoed this agreement and it was never realised. The break between Belgrade and Moscow was now imminent. [20]

Yugoslavia solved the national issue of nations and nationalities (national minorities) in a way that all nations and nationalities had the same rights. However, most of the German minority of Yugoslavia, most of whom had collaborated during the occupation and had been recruited to German forces, were expelled towards Germany or Austria. [21]

The 1948 Yugoslavia–Soviet split

The country distanced itself from the Soviets in 1948 (cf. Cominform and Informbiro) and started to build its own way to socialism under the strong political leadership of Josip Broz Tito. Accordingly, the constitution was heavily amended to replace the emphasis on democratic centralism with workers' self-management and decentralization. The Communist Party was renamed to the League of Communists and adopted Titoism at its congress the previous year.

All the Communist European Countries had deferred to Stalin and rejected the Marshall Plan aid in 1947. Tito, at first went along and rejected the Marshall plan. However, in 1948 Tito broke decisively with Stalin on other issues, making Yugoslavia an independent communist state. Yugoslavia requested American aid. American leaders were internally divided, but finally agreed and began sending money on a small scale in 1949, and on a much larger scale 1950–53. The American aid was not part of the Marshall plan. [22]

Tito criticised both Eastern Bloc and NATO nations and, together with India and other countries, started the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961, which remained the official affiliation of the country until it dissolved.

In 1974, the two provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija (for the latter had by then been upgraded to the status of a province), as well as the republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, were granted greater autonomy to the point that Albanian and Hungarian became nationally recognised minority languages, and the Serbo-Croat of Bosnia and Montenegro altered to a form based on the speech of the local people and not on the standards of Zagreb and Belgrade. In Slovenia the recognized minorities were Hungarians and Italians.

Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija formed a part of the Republic of Serbia but those provinces also formed part of the federation, which led to the unique situation that Central Serbia did not have its own assembly but a joint assembly with its provinces represented in it.

On 7 April 1963, the nation changed its official name to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Josip Broz Tito was named President for life. In the SFRY, each republic and province had its own constitution, supreme court, parliament, president and prime minister. At the top of the Yugoslav government were the President (Tito), the federal Prime Minister, and the federal Parliament (a collective Presidency was formed after Tito's death in 1980). Also important were the Communist Party general secretaries for each republic and province, and the general secretary of Central Committee of the Communist Party.

Tito was the most powerful person in the country, followed by republican and provincial premiers and presidents, and Communist Party presidents. Slobodan Penezić Krcun, Tito's chief of secret police in Serbia, fell victim to a dubious traffic incident after he started to complain about Tito's politics. Minister of the interior Aleksandar Ranković lost all of his titles and rights after a major disagreement with Tito regarding state politics. Some influential ministers in government, such as Edvard Kardelj or Stane Dolanc, were more important than the Prime Minister.

First cracks in the tightly governed system surfaced when students in Belgrade and several other cities joined the worldwide protests of 1968. President Josip Broz Tito gradually stopped the protests by giving in to some of the students' demands and saying that "students are right" during a televised speech. But in the following years, he dealt with the leaders of the protests by sacking them from university and Communist party posts. [23]

A more severe sign of disobedience was so-called Croatian Spring of 1970 and 1971, when students in Zagreb organised demonstrations for greater civil liberties and greater Croatian autonomy, followed by mass manifestations across Croatia. The regime stifled the public protest and incarcerated the leaders, but many key Croatian representatives in the Party silently supported this cause, lobbying within the Party ranks for a reorganisation of the country. As a result, a new Constitution was ratified in 1974, which gave more rights to the individual republics in Yugoslavia and provinces in Serbia.

Ethnic tensions and economic crisis

The Yugoslav federation was constructed against a double background: an inter-war Yugoslavia which had been dominated by the Serbian ruling class and a war-time division of the country, as Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany split the country apart and endorsed an extreme Croatian nationalist faction called the Ustaše. A small faction of Bosniak nationalists joined the Axis forces and attacked Serbs while extreme Serb nationalists engaged in attacks on Bosniaks and Croats.

Yugoslav Partisans took over the country at the end of the war and banned nationalism from being publicly promoted. Overall relative peace was retained under Tito's rule, though nationalist protests did occur, but these were usually repressed and nationalist leaders were arrested and some were executed by Yugoslav officials. However, the "Croatian Spring" protest in the 1970s was backed by large numbers of Croats who claimed that Yugoslavia remained a Serb hegemony and demanded that Serbia's powers be reduced.

Tito, whose home republic was Croatia, was concerned over the stability of the country and responded in a manner to appease both Croats and Serbs: he ordered the arrest of the Croat protestors, while at the same time conceding to some of their demands. In 1974, Serbia's influence in the country was significantly reduced as autonomous provinces were created in ethnic Albanian-majority populated Kosovo and the mixed-populated Vojvodina.

These autonomous provinces held the same voting power as the republics but unlike the republics, they could not legally separate from Yugoslavia. This concession satisfied Croatia and Slovenia, but in Serbia and in the new autonomous province of Kosovo, reaction was different. Serbs saw the new constitution as conceding to Croat and ethnic Albanian nationalists. Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo saw the creation of an autonomous province as not being enough, and demanded that Kosovo become a constituent republic with the right to separate from Yugoslavia. This created tensions within the Communist leadership, particularly among Communist Serb officials who resented the 1974 constitution as weakening Serbia's influence and jeopardising the unity of the country by allowing the republics the right to separate.

According to official statistics, from the 1950s to the early 1980s, Yugoslavia was among the fastest growing countries, approaching the ranges reported in South Korea and other miracle countries. The unique socialist system in Yugoslavia, where factories were worker cooperatives and decision-making was less centralized than in other socialist countries, may have led to the stronger growth. However, even if the absolute value of the growth rates was not as high as indicated by the official statistics, both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were characterized by surprisingly high growth rates of both income and education during the 1950s.

The period of European growth ended after the oil price shock in 1970s. Following that, in Yugoslavia an economic crisis erupted, and that as a product of disastrous errors by Yugoslav governments, such as borrowing vast amounts of Western capital in order to fund growth through exports. [24] At the same time, Western economies went into recession, decreasing demand for Yugoslav imports, creating a large debt problem.

In 1989, according to official sources [ who? ] , 248 firms were declared bankrupt or were liquidated and 89,400 workers were laid off. During the first nine months of 1990 directly following the adoption of the IMF programme, another 889 enterprises with a combined work-force of 525,000 workers suffered the same fate. In other words, in less than two years "the trigger mechanism" (under the Financial Operations Act) had led to the layoff of more than 600,000 workers out of a total industrial workforce of the order of 2.7 million. An additional 20% of the work force, or half a million people, were not paid wages during the early months of 1990 as enterprises sought to avoid bankruptcy. The largest concentrations of bankrupt firms and lay-offs were in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo. Real earnings were in a free fall and social programmes had collapsed creating within the population an atmosphere of social despair and hopelessness. This was a critical turning point in the events to follow. [ citation needed ]

Though the 1974 Constitution reduced the power of the federal government, Tito's authority substituted for this weakness until his death in 1980.

After Tito's death on 4 May 1980, ethnic tensions grew in Yugoslavia. The legacy of the Constitution of 1974 was used to throw the system of decision-making into a state of paralysis, made all the more hopeless as the conflict of interests had become irreconcilable. The Albanian majority in Kosovo demanded the status of a republic in the 1981 protests in Kosovo while Serbian authorities suppressed this sentiment and proceeded to reduce the province's autonomy. [25]

In 1986, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts drafted a memorandum addressing some burning issues concerning the position of Serbs as the most numerous people in Yugoslavia. The largest Yugoslav republic in territory and population, Serbia's influence over the regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina was reduced by the 1974 Constitution. Because its two autonomous provinces had de facto prerogatives of full-fledged republics, Serbia found that its hands were tied, for the republican government was restricted in making and carrying out decisions that would apply to the provinces. Since the provinces had a vote in the Federal Presidency Council (an eight-member council composed of representatives from the six republics and the two autonomous provinces), they sometimes even entered into coalition with other republics, thus outvoting Serbia. Serbia's political impotence made it possible for others to exert pressure on the 2 million Serbs (20% of the total Serbian population) living outside Serbia.

Serbian communist leader Slobodan Milošević sought to restore pre-1974 Serbian sovereignty. After Tito's death, Milošević made his way to becoming the next superior figure and political official for Serbia. [26] Other republics, especially Slovenia and Croatia, denounced this move as a revival of greater Serbian hegemonism. Through a series of moves known as the "anti-bureaucratic revolution", Milošević succeeded in reducing the autonomy of Vojvodina and of Kosovo and Metohija, but both entities retained a vote in the Yugoslav Presidency Council. The very instrument that reduced Serbian influence before was now used to increase it: in the eight-member Council, Serbia could now count on four votes at a minimum: Serbia proper, then-loyal Montenegro, Vojvodina, and Kosovo.

As a result of these events, ethnic Albanian miners in Kosovo organised the 1989 Kosovo miners' strike, which dovetailed into ethnic conflict between the Albanians and the non-Albanians in the province. At around 80% of the population of Kosovo in the 1980s, ethnic-Albanians were the majority. With Milosevic gaining control over Kosovo in 1989, the original residency changed drastically leaving only a minimum amount of Serbians left in the region. [26] The number of Slavs in Kosovo (mainly Serbs) was quickly declining for several reasons, among them the ever-increasing ethnic tensions and subsequent emigration from the area. By 1999 the Slavs formed as little as 10% of the total population in Kosovo.

Meanwhile, Slovenia, under the presidency of Milan Kučan, and Croatia supported the Albanian miners and their struggle for formal recognition. Initial strikes turned into widespread demonstrations demanding a Kosovan republic. This angered Serbia's leadership which proceeded to use police force, and later even the Federal Army was sent to the province by the order of the Serbia-held majority in the Yugoslav Presidency Council.

In January 1990, the extraordinary 14th Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia was convened. For most of the time, the Slovene and Serbian delegations were arguing over the future of the League of Communists and Yugoslavia. The Serbian delegation, led by Milošević, insisted on a policy of "one person, one vote", which would empower the plurality population, the Serbs. In turn, the Slovenes, supported by Croats, sought to reform Yugoslavia by devolving even more power to republics, but were voted down. As a result, the Slovene and Croatian delegations left the Congress and the all-Yugoslav Communist party was dissolved.

The constitutional crisis that inevitably followed resulted in a rise of nationalism in all republics: Slovenia and Croatia voiced demands for looser ties within the Federation. Following the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, each of the republics held multi-party elections in 1990. Slovenia and Croatia held the elections in April since their communist parties chose to cede power peacefully. Other Yugoslav republics—especially Serbia—were more or less dissatisfied with the democratisation in two of the republics and proposed different sanctions (e.g. Serbian "customs tax" for Slovene products) against the two, but as the year progressed, other republics' communist parties saw the inevitability of the democratisation process in December, as the last member of the federation, Serbia held parliamentary elections which confirmed former communists' rule in this republic.

The unresolved issues however remained. In particular, Slovenia and Croatia elected governments oriented towards greater autonomy of the republics (under Milan Kučan and Franjo Tuđman, respectively), since it became clear that Serbian domination attempts and increasingly different levels of democratic standards were becoming increasingly incompatible. Serbia and Montenegro elected candidates who favoured Yugoslav unity.

The Croat quest for independence led to large Serb communities within Croatia rebelling and trying to secede from the Croat republic. Serbs in Croatia would not accept a status of a national minority in a sovereign Croatia, since they would be demoted from the status of a constituent nation of the entirety of Yugoslavia.

Yugoslav Wars

The war broke out when the new regimes tried to replace Yugoslav civilian and military forces with secessionist forces. When, in August 1990, Croatia attempted to replace police in the Serb populated Croat Krajina by force, the population first looked for refuge in the Yugoslav Army barracks, while the army remained passive. The civilians then organised armed resistance. These armed conflicts between the Croatian armed forces ("police") and civilians mark the beginning of the Yugoslav war that inflamed the region. Similarly, the attempt to replace Yugoslav frontier police by Slovene police forces provoked regional armed conflicts which finished with a minimal number of victims. [27]

A similar attempt in Bosnia and Herzegovina led to a war that lasted more than three years (see below). The results of all these conflicts are almost complete emigration of the Serbs from all three regions, massive displacement of the populations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and establishment of the three new independent states. The separation of Macedonia was peaceful, although the Yugoslav Army occupied the peak of the Straža mountain on the Macedonian soil.

Serbian uprisings in Croatia began in August 1990 by blocking roads leading from the Dalmatian coast towards the interior almost a year before Croatian leadership made any move towards independence. These uprisings were more or less discreetly backed up by the Serb-dominated federal army (JNA). The Serbs in Croatia proclaimed "Serb autonomous areas", later united into the Republic of Serb Krajina. The federal army tried to disarm the territorial defence forces of Slovenia (republics had their local defence forces similar to the Home Guard) in 1990 but was not completely successful. Still, Slovenia began to covertly import arms to replenish its armed forces.

Croatia also embarked upon the illegal import of arms, (following the disarmament of the republics' armed forces by the federal army) mainly from Hungary, and were under constant surveillance which produced a video of a secret meeting between the Croatian Defence minister Martin Špegelj and the two men, filmed by the Yugoslav counter-intelligence (KOS, Kontra-obavještajna služba). Špegelj announced that they were at war with the army and gave instructions about arms smuggling as well as methods of dealing with the Yugoslav Army's officers stationed in Croatian cities. Serbia and JNA used this discovery of Croatian rearmament for propaganda purposes. Guns were also fired from army bases through Croatia. Elsewhere, tensions were running high. In the same month, the Army leaders met with the Presidency of Yugoslavia in an attempt to get them to declare a state of emergency which would allow for the army to take control of the country. The army was seen as an arm of the Serbian government by that time so the consequence feared by the other republics was to be total Serbian domination of the union. The representatives of Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Vojvodina voted for the decision, while all other republics, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, voted against. The tie delayed an escalation of conflicts, but not for long. [27]

Following the first multi-party election results, in the autumn of 1990, the republics of Slovenia and Croatia proposed transforming Yugoslavia into a loose confederation of six republics. By this proposal, republics would have right to self-determination. However Milošević rejected all such proposals, arguing that like Slovenes and Croats, the Serbs (having in mind Croatian Serbs) should also have a right to self-determination.

On 9 March 1991, demonstrations were held against Slobodan Milošević in Belgrade, but the police and the military were deployed in the streets to restore order, killing two people. In late March 1991, the Plitvice Lakes incident was one of the first sparks of open war in Croatia. The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), whose superior officers were mainly of Serbian ethnicity, maintained an impression of being neutral, but as time went on, they got more and more involved in state politics.

On 25 June 1991, Slovenia and Croatia became the first republics to declare independence from Yugoslavia. The federal customs officers in Slovenia on the border crossings with Italy, Austria, and Hungary mainly just changed uniforms since most of them were local Slovenes. The following day (26 June), the Federal Executive Council specifically ordered the army to take control of the "internationally recognized borders", leading to the Ten-Day War. As Slovenia and Croatia fought towards independence, the Serbian and Croatian forces indulged into a violent and perilous rivalry. [26]

The Yugoslav People's Army forces, based in barracks in Slovenia and Croatia, attempted to carry out the task within the next 48 hours. However, because of misinformation given to the Yugoslav Army conscripts that the Federation was under attack by foreign forces and the fact that the majority of them did not wish to engage in a war on the ground where they served their conscription, the Slovene territorial defence forces retook most of the posts within several days with only minimal loss of life on both sides.

There was a suspected incident of a war crime, as the Austrian ORF TV network showed footage of three Yugoslav Army soldiers surrendering to the territorial defence force, before gunfire was heard and the troops were seen falling down. However, none were killed in the incident. There were however numerous cases of destruction of civilian property and civilian life by the Yugoslav People's Army, including houses and a church. A civilian airport, along with a hangar and aircraft inside the hangar, was bombarded truck drivers on the road from Ljubljana to Zagreb and Austrian journalists at the Ljubljana Airport were killed.

A ceasefire was eventually agreed upon. According to the Brioni Agreement, recognised by representatives of all republics, the international community pressured Slovenia and Croatia to place a three-month moratorium on their independence.

During these three months, the Yugoslav Army completed its pull-out from Slovenia, but in Croatia, a bloody war broke out in the autumn of 1991. Ethnic Serbs, who had created their own state Republic of Serbian Krajina in heavily Serb-populated regions resisted the police forces of the Republic of Croatia who were trying to bring that breakaway region back under Croatian jurisdiction. In some strategic places, the Yugoslav Army acted as a buffer zone in most others it was protecting or aiding Serbs with resources and even manpower in their confrontation with the new Croatian army and their police force.

In September 1991, the Republic of Macedonia also declared independence, becoming the only former republic to gain sovereignty without resistance from the Belgrade-based Yugoslav authorities. 500 US soldiers were then deployed under the UN banner to monitor Macedonia's northern borders with the Republic of Serbia. Macedonia's first president, Kiro Gligorov, maintained good relations with Belgrade and the other breakaway republics and there have to date been no problems between Macedonian and Serbian border police even though small pockets of Kosovo and the Preševo valley complete the northern reaches of the historical region known as Macedonia (Prohor Pčinjski part), which would otherwise create a border dispute if ever Macedonian nationalism should resurface (see VMRO). This was despite the fact that the Yugoslav Army refused to abandon its military infrastructure on the top of the Straža Mountain up to the year 2000.

As a result of the conflict, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted UN Security Council Resolution 721 on 27 November 1991, which paved the way to the establishment of peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia. [28]

In Bosnia and Herzegovina in November 1991, the Bosnian Serbs held a referendum which resulted in an overwhelming vote in favour of forming a Serbian republic within the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and staying in a common state with Serbia and Montenegro. On 9 January 1992, the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb assembly proclaimed a separate "Republic of the Serb people of Bosnia and Herzegovina". The referendum and creation of SARs were proclaimed unconstitutional by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and declared illegal and invalid. However, in February–March 1992, the government held a national referendum on Bosnian independence from Yugoslavia. That referendum was in turn declared contrary to the BiH and the Federal constitution by the federal Constitutional Court in Belgrade and the newly established Bosnian Serb government.

The referendum was largely boycotted by the Bosnian Serbs. The Federal court in Belgrade did not decide on the matter of the referendum of the Bosnian Serbs. The turnout was somewhere between 64 and 67% and 98% of the voters voted for independence. It was not clear what the two-thirds majority requirement actually meant and whether it was satisfied. The republic's government declared its independence on 5 April, and the Serbs immediately declared the independence of Republika Srpska. The war in Bosnia followed shortly thereafter.


Various dates are considered the end of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia:

Appendix IX: Franchises and Contested Elections

In 1660 there were 52 counties and 215 parliamentary boroughs, returning a total of 507 Members. The 39 English counties (Durham had not yet been enfranchised) each returned two MPs, the 12 Welsh counties one Member each. The 12 Welsh boroughs were all single-Member constituencies, as were five English ones (Abingdon, Banbury, Bewdley, Higham Ferrers and Monmouth). Two constituencies, London and the linked boroughs of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, returned four Members. Durham County and city were enfranchised by Act of Parliament in 1673, and Newark by royal charter in the same year. Newark was the last constituency to be enfranchised in this way, and it required the issue of a second charter widening the franchise (which had originally been in the corporation) before a valid election could be held. As a result of these enfranchisements, by the end of the Cavalier Parliament the Membership of the Commons had been increased by six. Throughout the period (and indeed long after) county Members were elected by 40 s. freeholders, but borough MPs were returned on a variety of franchises of which there were eight main types: burgage, corporation, freeholder, freeman, freeman and other, householder, inhabitant, and scot and lot.

There were 31 burgage boroughs in 1660, in which the franchise was attached to fixed units of property which entitled their owners to vote. Owners of more than one burgage installed people in their burgages for electoral purposes (faggot voters), and burgage-holders who were ineligible to vote (chiefly women and minors) were allowed to delegate their votes. The franchise of one burgage borough, Aldborough, was altered to scot and lot payers by decision of the Commons. Some burgage boroughs (Bere Alston, Whitchurch and Castle Rising for example) were indisputably pocket boroughs, but the practice of systematically buying up burgages in order to establish electoral control was not as widespread in this period as it was to become in the eighteenth century, and the electoral interest of many Members rested as much on deference as it did on burgage ownership.

There were 31 boroughs in 1660 in which the franchise was vested in the corporation only. By 1689 a combination of new charters and decisions of the House had reduced that number to 25. Although corporations tended to be small self-perpetuating oligarchies, deference to the wishes of a local landowner (particularly if many townspeople were dependent on him for trade or employment) was not uncommon, and quo warranto proceedings could temporarily give the Government a strong interest.

In ten boroughs (12 in 1689) the franchise lay in the freeholders, and in 92 boroughs (89 by the end of the period) Members were elected by the freemen. These boroughs were not homogeneous. In some towns the method of creating freemen gave the corporation a strong interest in others the presence of a garrison or naval dockyard meant that the Government exercised considerable influence. Smaller boroughs tended to be more receptive to threats or bribery than larger ones, and remodelling of charters could have a profound effect on elections. In a further 17 boroughs the franchise was vested in freemen and others (usually rate-payers) and by 1689 this number had risen to 19. Like freeman boroughs, these towns varied greatly in size of electorate and vulnerability to outside influence. Camelford had only 60 electors, Bedford over 500.

Ten boroughs returned Members on a householder franchise. The smallest of these, St. Germans, was a pocket borough entirely under the influence of the Eliot family, but for the most part they were large and fairly independent towns like Southwark and Taunton, in which no single interest predominated. In a further five boroughs the inhabitants were entitled to vote. These were all quite small boroughs, one of which, Wendover, was virtually a pocket borough under the control of the Hampden family.

There were 19 boroughs in 1660 in which the franchise was vested in scot and lot payers (that is, those who contributed to church and poor) and by 1689 this number had risen to 26. These were for the most part boroughs of medium size which tended to be fairly independent of outside influence, although the smallest of them, Stockbridge, acquired a reputation for venality. Steyning, not much larger, was dominated by John Fagg I.

Leaving aside changes in electorates which were later reversed (most of which occurred prior to the 1685 election and were annulled before the elections to the Revolution Convention), the franchises of 19 boroughs were altered during this period. Four of these changes were by charter, the rest by decision, either stated or implicit, of the Commons. In 1689 at New Windsor the House reversed no less than three earlier decisions and accepted that the franchise lay in the corporation, as stated in the 1685 charter (to do otherwise would have unseated the Speaker, Henry Powle). At East Looe the charter of 1685 altered the franchise from corporation to freeman, while Newark’s charter of 1684 widened the electorate from the corporation to the corporation, freemen and freeholders. At St. Ives the 1685 charter narrowed the franchise from the freemen to the corporation the electorate was undefined at the next election and remained a matter of dispute till 1702.

In three instances, Tamworth in 1679 (Mar.), and Sudbury and Malmesbury in 1689, the Commons seem to have accepted a fait accompli by the electorate which effectively widened the franchise. The franchises of 12 boroughs were altered by decision of the House. In two instances, Exeter in June 1689 and Bridgwater in 1679 (Mar.), the Commons’ decision was implicit in allowing candidates elected on a wider franchise to take their seats. The Commons usually voted in favour of enlarging an electorate, particularly during the Exclusion crisis when a House predominantly hostile to the Court was anxious to undermine government influence in the boroughs. There were exceptions: in December 1680 the Commons decided that the franchise at Great Marlow lay in the scot and lot payers, not the inhabitants, thus ensuring the defeat of the court supporter, Humphrey Winch. Generally, however, a wider franchise favoured opponents of the Court.

Election contests in boroughs are usually known only from reports in the Journals. Thus the numbers given below would probably be increased if our knowledge were greater. Contemporary evidence for county elections, however, is nearly always forthcoming, so that the numbers given here may be assumed to be accurate. At the general election of 1660, 23 seats were contested in 16 counties. There were straight contests in 29 boroughs, involving 37 seats. In a further 40 boroughs candidates were doubly returned for a total of 56 seats and nine elections were subsequently declared void. The large number of double returns reflects the genuine ignorance of the returning officers as to what the franchise should be, and perhaps their reluctance to make decisions in the time of political uncertainty which preceded the meeting of the Restoration Convention. Three by-elections were contested, all in borough constituencies.

Only 14 county seats in 11 counties were contested at the general election of 1661, one of which (Breconshire) was subsequently declared void. There were 44 straight contests in 32 boroughs, and in a further 28 boroughs elections resulted in double returns (the number of seats involved was 36). Six borough elections were eventually declared void. There were contested by-elections for 16 county seats, double returns for three and a void by-election in one. No fewer than 100 seats were contested at by-elections in a further eight, double returns were made, and an additional ten contested by-elections in boroughs were subsequently declared void. The relatively large number of double returns and void elections was due to disputes about the franchise and procedure at elections in which both local and national politics were involved.

The elections to the first Exclusion Parliament saw the largest number of contests for any general election of the period. Twenty-two seats were contested in 17 counties, and two county elections were declared void. A total of 103 borough seats were contested in 84 boroughs but there were only six double returns (involving nine seats), since many uncertainties about franchises and election procedures had been resolved during the Cavalier Parliament. One borough and three county seats were contested at by-elections.

Twenty-three seats in 16 counties were contested at the second general election of 1679. Eighty-four seats were fought in 61 boroughs, but there were only four double returns (two each in two boroughs) and two void elections. One county and four borough seats were contested at by-elections.

The elections to the Oxford Parliament saw a sharp drop in the number of contests. There were contests in only nine counties, involving 15 seats, and 63 seats were fought in 45 boroughs (there were two double returns, both for the same borough). Many court supporters may have felt their cause was hopeless, and many candidates may not have had the resources to fight a third election in the space of two years in fact, some corporations wrote to their sitting Members promising to re-elect them without expense. There were no by-elections for this shortlived Parliament.

At the elections to James II’s Parliament, 23 seats were contested in 15 counties, and 77 seats in 57 boroughs. There was one double return and one void election, both for borough seats. Five seats in four boroughs were fought at by-elections. The elections to the Revolution Convention again saw a fall in the number of contests. There were contests in only nine counties (involving 13 seats) and 41 boroughs (for 56 seats). In addition there were ten double returns in six boroughs, and five borough elections were subsequently declared void. One county and 15 borough seats were contested at by-elections one by-election for a borough seat was voided.

The chart below shows the size and type of each constituency, and contests and double returns for each Parliament. The borough types are shown in capital letters, B standing for burgage, C for corporation, FH for freeholder, F for freeman, H for householder, I for inhabitant and SL for scot and lot. The constituency sizes are shown in brackets, (S) indicating an electorate of 50 or under, (M) an electorate of between 51 and 500, and (L) an electorate of over 500. An ‘X’ stands for a contested general election an ‘X’ preceded by an italicized date indicates a contested by-election. All known contests, including those on the cry or view as well as those on the poll, have been included. A ‘d’ is used to show double returns. The new charters which affected the elections to James II’s Parliament, most of which were granted between 1681 and 1685, are indicated by asterisks.

Politics of Serbia and Montenegro

The Politics of Serbia and Montenegro, known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, took place in a framework of a federal parliamentary republic with a multi-party system, and after 2003, in the context of a confederation. The president was head of state and, following constitutional reforms in 2003, simultaneously head of government. Executive power was exercised by the Council of Ministers. Federal legislative power was vested in the Yugoslav Parliament.

The Most Contentious and Contested Presidential Election in History was 1876, not 2020

Seemingly every election cycle, the media harps about how this is the most important presidential election in the history of the country, but an examination of the nation’s past shows that’s not the case. Almost 150 years ago, the United States was again trying to pick a national leader and it remains the most contentious and contested election in the history of the country.

In 1865, the Civil War, the deadliest war in American history in terms of casualties at roughly 750,000, finally ended with a treaty of peace signed in Appomattox, Virginia. But, as with the end of every war, it was the ensuing years that would be the real test for peace.

Due to the conflict, the Southern Confederacy was deeply scarred, physically and economically, and required federal assistance, which became known as the Reconstruction. The North also decided to reformat the Southern governments to prevent another Civil War and blocked many of the Confederacy soldiers and leaders from voting in general elections in the years immediately following the end of the war.

After a decade of the government being controlled by the Republican party under the leadership of Ulysses S. Grant, due in large part to the support of the newly emancipated black slaves, the race for his successor would determine the future of the country and either solidify or fracture the fragile Union.

The election was between Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden, governor of New York, and Republican candidate Gov. Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio.

As reported by The Washington Post, “With each party at full strength for the first time after the war, a highly competitive and partisan atmosphere set the stage for an extremely close election.

“This extreme partisanship and polarization produced exceptionally high levels of interest and engagement. Both political parties worked exceedingly hard to mobilize their base, and the election of 1876 yielded the highest voter turnout in U.S. history, at 81.8 percent.”

To say the election was close is an understatement.

In addition to the alleged voter fraud and intimidation of blacks, there was also a tie in Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida (equaling 19 votes). At the end of the election night, though Gov. Tilden won the popular vote by a staggering 260,000 and seemingly the electoral college at 184, he was one vote short of ensuring the presidency.

With three state elections up in the air and undetermined, a solution was challenging as there was no constitutional precedent and any proposed tie breaker was usually partisan in nature.

There was some desire to turn the situation over to the Supreme Court, but the Democrat party refused that option. Finally, the decision was made to create “an electoral commission with five members of the Democratic House, five members of the Republican Senate and five members of the Supreme Court — including two Democrats, two Republicans, and a fifth justice chosen by the other four. The other justices ultimately selected Joseph Bradley, another Republican, which led the commission to award the returns to Hayes in a series of 8-to-7 party-line votes in mid-February 1877.”

To say the Democrats vehemently contested the decision is an understatement. The situation, in fact, became so heated that there was a very real possibility of a second Civil War.

Thankfully, cooler heads and compromise prevailed.

Gov. Tilden, an unsung hero, decided not to contest the race in order to secure peace for the country.

In addition, Hayes offered his own concessions, pledging to bring “the blessings of honest and capable local self-government” to the South. It was a sign that after 10 years, the federal government was going to end the Reconstruction. After his election became official, Hayes followed through and removed federal troops from South Carolina and Louisiana, which signaled a new era and the United States fully entered the Gilded Age.

Hayes also put a Southerner in his cabinet, a compromise that helped heal old and new wounds.

There are a lot of lessons that can be taken from the election of 1876.

One is that elections do have consequences, and that the future and stability of the country should matter more than winning. If Tilden had contested the election, the country could look much different today.

The second is that voter fraud, which happened during the election of 1876, could very easily happen in this election as well. While it would be much easier to commit fraud in the 1800s, the reliance on mail-in ballots could result in another heavily contested election or election interference. Unfortunately, there will always be people who want to sway the election in one direction or another. For the media to act like there isn’t is dangerous and misleading.

Lastly, despite who wins, at the end of the day the United States needs both compromise and leadership, something that doesn’t seem to happen much in American politics anymore.

Bitter And Contested Elections In America's History

Presidential historian at Vanderbilt University Thomas Schwartz discusses the history of peaceful transfers of political power in American presidential elections, going back more than 200 years.

Earlier this week, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met in Las Vegas, Nev., for their final debate before the election, which is just over two weeks away now. And perhaps the biggest news out of the exchange came when Fox News moderator Chris Wallace asked Donald Trump if he would accept the outcome of the results regardless of the winner.


CHRIS WALLACE: That the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together, in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?

DONALD TRUMP: What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense.

MARTIN: Trump has since amended that statement to the following.


TRUMP: That I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win.

MARTIN: Since then, you've heard public officials and analysts from across the political spectrum expressing shock about this, many saying they've never heard a candidate expressing this kind of sentiment in their lifetimes. But we wanted to go deeper and ask an historian if contentious elections have played out this way in the past. So we called Thomas Schwartz, presidential historian at Vanderbilt University, and he's with us now from Nashville, Tenn. Professor Schwartz, thanks so much for joining us.

THOMAS SCHWARTZ: Oh, well, thank you for having me on the program.

MARTIN: Well, first of all, let's - give us a primer on the transfer of power in U.S. election history. You know, how was this precedent established?

SCHWARTZ: Well, if you know, the Constitution has no provisions for political parties in it. And it was very difficult, at first, to establish that precedent. The original Electoral College was simply whoever got the most electoral votes became president and the second-most was vice president. That worked all right with George Washington. He was the consensus choice. But in 1796, you had a very bitter election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in which Adams only narrowly squeaked out a victory.

But the real precedent for the peaceful transfer of power comes in 1800 - also a very, very bitter, contested election in which the supporters of both candidates said all sorts of very nasty personal things about both. In the end, Jefferson got more electoral votes than Adams, but he was tied with Burr, and the election actually had to go to the House of Representatives. But Jefferson did win. Adams did not stay for the inaugural, so you can see the bitterness that was there.

But then Jefferson struck a note of conciliation in his inaugural by talking about we are all Republicans, we were all federalists. And I think in that sense, it was the first peaceful transfer of power. Jefferson later wrote about it as a mark of the American system. And it began the process of establishing the idea that there can be a peaceful transfer of power not by the sword, as Jefferson wrote, but by the ballot. And this was the way the United States should be.

MARTIN: Now, you heard Hillary Clinton respond during the debate by saying that she found Donald Trump's comments horrifying. And she went on to say that the peaceful transition of power is the mainstay - one of the mainstays of our 240-year history as a democracy. But there was an exception. Can you talk about that? I mean, thinking.

MARTIN: . During the Civil War.

SCHWARTZ: Yes, and that's the election of 1860. And that's the exception that has made challenging the legitimacy something of a taboo in American political history because it was challenged in 1860. Abraham Lincoln got no votes from seven Southern states. He was not accepted as legitimate by many of the Southern politicians, particularly the Southern Democratic Party. The Democratic Party had split.

Now, Stephen Douglas, actually, who ran as a Democrat and got the second-most number of popular votes, did concede and accept the legitimacy of Lincoln's election and was very patriotic. And in fact, Al Gore, when he conceded to George Bush in 2000, quoted Stephen Douglas' famous statement that he conceded for the importance of that, for the safety of the country.

But the other candidate, particularly John Breckinridge from the Southern secessionists, saw in Lincoln's election an illegitimate seizure of power. And they refused to accept it because they saw Lincoln as attacking the institution of slavery. And they proceeded to secede even before Lincoln was inaugurated as president.

MARTIN: And is that why you say it's now taboo? It's because the Civil War is understood to have followed that? Is that why we don't talk about it?

SCHWARTZ: I think that is lurking in the background. It doesn't mean that we haven't had bitter, contested elections and had recounts and had situations such as in 1877, when they had to appoint a congressional committee to look at the electoral votes of the states, or in 1916, where the California results weren't known for several days before we knew that Woodrow Wilson had been re-elected, or in 2000, when you had the results so close in Florida.

We've had bitter elections, but the process itself has been established as absolutely fundamental. And I think that is, in part, because the great national tragedy of American history is the Civil War and the almost 750,000 people killed in that conflict. We've come to terms with it because it ended slavery, but it still was a disaster for the country, and it's not something anyone wants to see repeated.

MARTIN: That's Thomas Schwartz. He's a historian of U.S. foreign relations and the presidency at Vanderbilt University. He was kind enough to join us from the Vanderbilt campus in Nashville. Professor Schwartz, thanks so much for speaking with us.

SCHWARTZ: Thank you for having me on the program.

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1960: Did the Daley machine deliver?

The 1960 election pitted Republican Vice President Richard Nixon against Democratic U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy.

The popular vote was the closest of the 20th century, with Kennedy defeating Nixon by only about 100,000 votes – a less than 0.2 percent difference.

Because of that national spread – and because Kennedy officially defeated Nixon by less than 1 percent in five states (Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico) and less than 2 percent in Texas – many Republicans cried foul. They fixated on two places in particular – southern Texas and Chicago, where a political machine led by Mayor Richard Daley allegedly churned out just enough votes to give Kennedy the state of Illinois. If Nixon had won Texas and Illinois, he would have had an Electoral College majority.

While Republican-leaning newspapers proceeded to investigate and conclude that voter fraud had occurred in both states, Nixon did not contest the results. Following the example of Cleveland in 1892, Nixon ran for president again in 1968 and won.


Yugoslavia occupied a significant portion of the Balkan peninsula, including a strip of land on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea, stretching southward from the Bay of Trieste in Central Europe to the mouth of Bojana as well as Lake Prespa inland, and eastward as far as the Iron Gates on the Danube and Midžor in the Balkan Mountains, thus including a large part of Southeast Europe, a region with a history of ethnic conflict.

The important elements that fostered the discord involved contemporary and historical factors, including the formation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the first breakup and subsequent inter-ethnic and political wars and genocide during World War II, ideas of Greater Albania, Greater Croatia and Greater Serbia and conflicting views about Pan-Slavism, and the unilateral recognition by a newly reunited Germany of the breakaway republics.

Before World War II, major tensions arose from the first, monarchist Yugoslavia's multi-ethnic make-up and relative political and demographic domination of the Serbs. Fundamental to the tensions were the different concepts of the new state. The Croats and Slovenes envisaged a federal model where they would enjoy greater autonomy than they had as a separate crown land under Austria-Hungary. Under Austria-Hungary, both Slovenes and Croats enjoyed autonomy with free hands only in education, law, religion, and 45% of taxes. [3] The Serbs tended to view the territories as a just reward for their support of the allies in World War I and the new state as an extension of the Kingdom of Serbia. [ citation needed ]

Tensions between the Croats and Serbs often erupted into open conflict, with the Serb-dominated security structure exercising oppression during elections and the assassination in national parliament of Croat political leaders, including Stjepan Radić, who opposed the Serbian monarch's absolutism. [4] The assassination and human rights abuses were subject of concern for the Human Rights League and precipitated voices of protest from intellectuals, including Albert Einstein. [5] It was in this environment of oppression that the radical insurgent group (later fascist dictatorship), the Ustaše were formed.

During World War II, the country's tensions were exploited by the occupying Axis forces which established a Croat puppet state spanning much of present-day Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Axis powers installed the Ustaše as the leaders of the Independent State of Croatia.

The Ustaše resolved that the Serbian minority were a fifth column of Serbian expansionism, and pursued a policy of persecution against the Serbs. The policy dictated that one-third of the Serbian minority were to be killed, one-third expelled, and one-third converted to Catholicism and assimilated as Croats. Conversely, the Chetniks pursued their own campaign of persecution against non-Serbs in parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Sandžak per the Moljević plan ("On Our State and Its Borders") and the orders issues by Draža Mihailović which included "[t]he cleansing of all nation understandings and fighting".

Both Croats and Muslims were recruited as soldiers by the SS (primarily in the 13th Waffen Mountain Division). At the same time, former royalist, General Milan Nedić, was installed by the Axis as head of the puppet government and local Serbs were recruited into the Gestapo and the Serbian Volunteer Corps, which was linked to the German Waffen-SS. Both quislings were confronted and eventually defeated by the communist-led, anti-fascist Partisan movement composed of members of all ethnic groups in the area, leading to the formation of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The official Yugoslav post-war estimate of victims in Yugoslavia during World War II was 1,704,000. Subsequent data gathering in the 1980s by historians Vladimir Žerjavić and Bogoljub Kočović showed that the actual number of dead was about 1 million. Of that number, 330,000 to 390,000 ethnic Serbs perished from all causes in Croatia and Bosnia. [6] These same historians also established the deaths of 192,000 to 207,000 ethnic Croats and 86,000 to 103,000 Muslims from all affiliations and causes throughout Yugoslavia. [7] [8]

Prior to its collapse, Yugoslavia was a regional industrial power and an economic success. From 1960 to 1980, annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged 6.1 percent, medical care was free, literacy was 91 percent, and life expectancy was 72 years. [9] Prior to 1991, Yugoslavia's armed forces were amongst the best-equipped in Europe. [10]

Yugoslavia was a unique state, straddling both the East and West. Moreover, its president, Josip Broz Tito, was one of the fundamental founders of the "third world" or "group of 77" which acted as an alternative to the superpowers. More importantly, Yugoslavia acted as a buffer state between the West and the Soviet Union and also prevented the Soviets from getting a toehold on the Mediterranean Sea.

The central government's control began to be loosened due to increasing nationalist grievances and the Communist's Party's wish to support "national self determination". This resulted in Kosovo being turned into an autonomous region of Serbia, legislated by the 1974 constitution. This constitution broke down powers between the capital and the autonomous regions in Vojvodina (an area of Yugoslavia with a large number of ethnic minorities) and Kosovo (with a large ethnic-Albanian population).

Despite the federal structure of the new Yugoslavia, there was still tension between the federalists, primarily Croats and Slovenes who argued for greater autonomy, and unitarists, primarily Serbs. The struggle would occur in cycles of protests for greater individual and national rights (such as the Croatian Spring) and subsequent repression. The 1974 constitution was an attempt to short-circuit this pattern by entrenching the federal model and formalising national rights.

The loosened control basically turned Yugoslavia into a de facto confederacy, which also placed pressure on the legitimacy of the regime within the federation. Since the late 1970s a widening gap of economic resources between the developed and underdeveloped regions of Yugoslavia severely deteriorated the federation's unity. [11] The most developed republics, Croatia and Slovenia, rejected attempts to limit their autonomy as provided in the 1974 Constitution. [11] Public opinion in Slovenia in 1987 saw better economic opportunity in independence from Yugoslavia than within it. [11] There were also places that saw no economic benefit from being in Yugoslavia for example, the autonomous province of Kosovo was poorly developed, and per capita GDP fell from 47 percent of the Yugoslav average in the immediate post-war period to 27 percent by the 1980s. [12] It highlighted the vast differences in the quality of life in the different republics.

Economic growth was curbed due to Western trade barriers combined with the 1973 oil crisis. Yugoslavia subsequently fell into heavy IMF debt due to the large number of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans taken out by the regime. As a condition of receiving loans, the IMF demanded the "market liberalisation" of Yugoslavia. By 1981, Yugoslavia had incurred $19.9 billion in foreign debt. Another concern was the unemployment rate, at 1 million by 1980. This problem was compounded by the general "unproductiveness of the South", which not only added to Yugoslavia's economic woes, but also irritated Slovenia and Croatia further. [13] [14]

Structural problems Edit

The SFR Yugoslavia was a conglomeration of eight federated entities, roughly divided along ethnic lines, including six republics—

—and two autonomous provinces within Serbia,

With the 1974 Constitution, the office of President of Yugoslavia was replaced with the Yugoslav Presidency, an eight-member collective head-of-state composed of representatives from six republics and, controversially, two autonomous provinces of the Socialist Republic of Serbia, SAP Kosovo and SAP Vojvodina.

Since the SFR Yugoslav federation was formed in 1945, the constituent Socialist Republic of Serbia (SR Serbia) included the two autonomous provinces of SAP Kosovo and SAP Vojvodina. With the 1974 constitution, the influence of the central government of SR Serbia over the provinces was greatly reduced, which gave them long-sought autonomy. The government of SR Serbia was restricted in making and carrying out decisions that would apply to the provinces. The provinces had a vote in the Yugoslav Presidency, which was not always cast in favor of SR Serbia. In Serbia, there was great resentment towards these developments, which the nationalist elements of the public saw as the "division of Serbia". The 1974 constitution not only exacerbated Serbian fears of a "weak Serbia, for a strong Yugoslavia" but also hit at the heart of Serbian national sentiment. A majority of Serbs see Kosovo as the "cradle of the nation", and would not accept the possibility of losing it to the majority Albanian population.

In an effort to ensure his legacy, Tito's 1974 constitution established a system of year-long presidencies, on a rotation basis out of the eight leaders of the republics and autonomous provinces. Tito's death would show that such short terms were highly ineffective. Essentially it left a power vacuum which was left open for most of the 1980s.

Death of Tito and the weakening of Communism Edit

On 4 May 1980, Tito's death was announced through state broadcasts across Yugoslavia. His death removed what many international political observers saw as Yugoslavia's main unifying force, and subsequently ethnic tension started to grow in Yugoslavia. The crisis that emerged in Yugoslavia was connected with the weakening of the Communist states in Eastern Europe towards the end of the Cold War, leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In Yugoslavia, the national communist party, officially called the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, had lost its ideological potency. [15]

In 1986, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) contributed significantly to the rise of nationalist sentiments, as it drafted the controversial SANU Memorandum protesting against the weakening of the Serbian central government.

The problems in the Serbian autonomous province of SAP Kosovo between ethnic Serbs and Albanians grew exponentially. This, coupled with economic problems in Kosovo and Serbia as a whole, led to even greater Serbian resentment of the 1974 Constitution. Kosovo Albanians started to demand that Kosovo be granted the status of a constituent republic beginning in the early 1980s, particularly with the 1981 protests in Kosovo. This was seen by the Serbian public as a devastating blow to Serb pride because of the historic links that Serbians held with Kosovo. It was viewed that that secession would be devastating to Kosovar Serbs. This eventually led to the repression of the Albanian majority in Kosovo. [16] [ better source needed ]

Meanwhile, the more prosperous republics of SR Slovenia and SR Croatia wanted to move towards decentralization and democracy. [17]

The historian Basil Davidson contends that the "recourse to 'ethnicity' as an explanation [of the conflict] is pseudo-scientific nonsense. " Even the degree of linguistic and religious differences "have been less substantial than instant commentators routinely tell us". Between the two major communities, the Serbs and the Croats, Davidson argues, "the term 'ethnic cleansing' can have no sense at all". Davidson agrees with Susan Woodward, an expert on Balkan affairs, who found the "motivating causes of the disintegration in economic circumstance and its ferocious pressures". [18]

Economic collapse and the international climate Edit

As President, Tito's policy was to push for rapid economic growth, and growth was indeed high in the 1970s. However, the over-expansion of the economy caused inflation and pushed Yugoslavia into economic recession. [19]

A major problem for Yugoslavia was the heavy debt incurred in the 1970s, which proved to be difficult to repay in the 1980s. [20] Yugoslavia's debt load, initially estimated at a sum equal to $6 billion U.S dollars, instead turned out to be equal to sum equivalent to $21 billion U.S. dollars, which was a colossal sum for a poor country. [20] In 1984 the Reagan administration issued a classified document, National Security Decision Directive 133, expressing concern that Yugoslavia's debt load might cause the country to align with the Soviet bloc. [21] The 1980s were a time of economic austerity as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) imposed stringent conditions on Yugoslavia, which caused much resentment toward the Communist elites who had so mismanaged the economy by recklessly borrowing of money abroad. [22] The policies of austerity also led to uncovering much corruption by the elites, most notably with the "Agrokomerc affair" of 1987, when the Agrokomerc enterprise of Bosnia turned out to be the centre of a vast nexus of corruption running all across Yugoslavia, and that the managers of Agrokomerc had issued promissory notes equivalent to US$500 [ dubious – discuss ] without collateral, forcing the state to assume responsibility for their debts when Agrokomerc finally collapsed. [22] The rampant corruption in Yugoslavia, of which the "Agrokomerc affair" was merely the most dramatic example, did much to discredit the Communist system, as it was revealed that the elites were living luxurious lifestyles well beyond the means of ordinary people with money stolen from the public purse, in a time of austerity. [22] The problems imposed by heavy indebtedness and corruption had by the mid-1980s increasingly started to corrode the legitimacy of the Communist system as ordinary people started to lose faith in the competence and honesty of the elites. [22]

A wave of major strikes developed in 1987-88 as workers demanded higher wages to compensate for inflation, as the IMF mandated the end of various subsidies, and they were accompanied by denunciations of the entire system as corrupt. [23] Finally, the politics of austerity brought to the fore tensions between the well off "have" republics like Slovenia and Croatia versus the poorer "have not" republics like Serbia. [23] Both Croatia and Slovenia felt that they were paying too much money into the federal budget to support the "have not" republics, while Serbia wanted Croatia and Slovenia to pay more money into the federal budget to support them at a time of austerity. [24] Increasingly, demands were voiced in Serbia for more centralisation in order to force Croatia and Slovenia to pay more into the federal budget, demands that were completely rejected in the "have" republics. [24]

The relaxation of tensions with the Soviet Union after Mikhail Gorbachev became leader in 1985 meant that western nations were no longer willing to be generous with restructuring Yugoslavia's debts, as the example of a communist country outside of the Soviet bloc was no longer needed by the West as a way of destabilising the Soviet bloc. The external status quo, which the Communist Party had depended upon to remain viable, was thus beginning to disappear. Furthermore, the failure of communism all over Central and Eastern Europe once again brought to the surface Yugoslavia's inner contradictions, economic inefficiencies (such as chronic lack of productivity, fuelled by the country's leaderships' decision to enforce a policy of full employment), and ethno-religious tensions. Yugoslavia's non-aligned status resulted in access to loans from both superpower blocs. This contact with the United States and the West opened up Yugoslavia's markets sooner than the rest of Central and Eastern Europe. The 1980s were a decade of Western economic ministrations. [ citation needed ]

A decade of frugality resulted in growing frustration and resentment against both the Serbian "ruling class", and the minorities who were seen to benefit from government legislation. Real earnings in Yugoslavia fell by 25% from 1979 to 1985. By 1988 emigrant remittances to Yugoslavia totalled over $4.5 billion (USD), and by 1989 remittances were $6.2 billion (USD), making up over 19% of the world's total. [13] [14]

In 1990, US policy insisted on the shock therapy austerity programme that was meted out to the ex-Comecon countries. Such a programme had been advocated by the IMF and other organisations "as a condition for fresh injections of capital." [25]

Appendix I: Constituencies and contested elections

The House of Commons during the period 1715-54 had 558 Members, elected by 314 constituencies, as follows:

England, 489 Members, 245 constituencies:

40 counties, returning 2 Members each

196 boroughs, returning 2 Members each

2 boroughs (London and the combined constituency of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis), returning 4 Members each

5 boroughs (Abingdon, Banbury, Bewdley, Higham Ferrers, and Monmouth), returning 1 Member each

2 universities, returning 2 Members each.

Wales, 24 Members, 24 constituencies:

12 counties, returning 1 Member each

12 boroughs, returning 1 Member each.

Scotland, 45 Members, 45 constituencies:

27 counties, returning 1 Member each

3 pairs of counties, 1 county in each pair alternating with the other in returning 1 Member

1 burgh (Edinburgh), returning 1 Member

14 groups of burghs, each returning 1 Member.

The following tables list the constituencies and show by an X when elections were contested. Contested by-elections are entered by date in the last column. By a contested election is meant one in which the candidates stood a poll. The tables also indicate the size of the electorate, borough electorates being shown as L (large, an electorate of 1,000 or more), M (medium, at least 500 but below 1,000), or S (small, below 500), and the borough franchise by B (burgage holders), C (the corporation), FH (freeholders), FM (freemen, and variations of the freeman franchise), H (inhabitant householders), SL (those paying scot and lot).

The borough franchise shown in these tables differs in six constituencies from that given in Namier Brooke, i. appendix I, viz. Callington H for SL Castle Rising B for FM Malton FM for B Newton B for C Preston FM for H Yarmouth FM for C.

Contested Elections in Yugoslavia - HISTORY

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Lesson Plan: The History of Contested Presidential Elections

How does the Electoral College Work

American University History Professor Allan Lichtman explained how the Electoral College works, the history of how electors were chosen and how candidates campaign based on electoral votes.


This lesson looks at the contested presidential elections occurring in 1800, 1824, 1876 and 2000. Using C-SPAN video clips, students will identify how each election was resolved and the consequences of these elections. They will apply this knowledge by describing similarities and differences between these examples and determining what lessons can be learned from these elections.



Introduce the process of electing a president by having students view the following video clip. Students should answer each of the questions as they view the video.

Throughout this lesson, students can use either a Google Doc handout or Google Slide presentation to access the video clips and activities.

What determines how many electors each state gets?

How do most states determine which candidate gets their electoral votes?

Why do candidates focus on large states and competitive states when campaigning?

How were most electors selected in the early days of the United States? How has that changed?


Address any misconceptions about the electoral college and how the president is elected. As a brainstorm activity, have the students answer the following question:


Using the information form the introduction, students will view each of the following video clips about contested elections. Students can use the interactive Google Slides presentation or the handout to take notes on each of these examples.

Students should provide information on the following topics for each election:

Candidates Running for President

Unique Circumstances Occurring in this Election

How was this Election Resolved


Election of 1800

Election of 1824

Election of 1876

Election of 2000


Using the handout or the slides, have the student identify what these examples have in common and what is different about these examples.

Using the information from the previous activities, have students answer the following question either in a discussion or with a written response.


Evaluating Contested Elections- Choose one of the contested elections discussed in the lesson. Using information from the videos and outside research, evaluate if this election was correctly decided.

Redesigning the Presidential Election Process- Based on what you learned about the presidential election process and contested elections, redesign the process in which the president is elected. Include the following information in your redesign:

Who votes and how votes are counted?

How many votes does it take to win?


How did the resolution of the contested 2000 election compare to previous ones?

How has the process for electing a president changed since the election of 1800?

Watch the video: Top 10 Contested Elections In History (January 2022).