Djindjic assassinated

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Mar 12 07:04:37 MST 2003

The Guardian
1.30pm update

Serbian PM shot dead

Zoran Djindjic, the Serbian prime minister and one of the key leaders in
the revolt that toppled Slobodan Milosevic, was today assassinated in
According to local media reports, Mr Djindjic was shot while entering
the government building. Mr Djindjic sustained two shots in his stomach
and back. He died while being treated in Belgrade's emergency hospital.

Only last month, Mr Djindjic survived an alleged assassination attempt
when a lorry cut across his motorcade. He later dismissed the February
21 incident as a "futile effort" that could not stop democratic reforms.

"If someone thinks the law and the reforms can be stopped by eliminating
me, then that is a huge delusion," Mr Djindjic was quoted as saying by
the Politika newspaper at the time.

A veteran opposition leader, Mr Djindjic, who had a fondness for big
cars and flashy suits, was one of the main organisers of the 2000
election campaign that led to the fall of Slobodan Milosevic, the former
Yugoslav president, now on trial at the Hague for war crimes.

It is widely believed that Mr Milosevic finally gave way after Mr
Djindjic, using his contacts in the army and security services, had
persuaded them not to intervene to prop up the faltering regime.

Although he always opposed Mr Milosevic, Mr Djindjic often took
hawkishly nationalistic stances during the Croatian and Bosnian wars,
once famously roasting an ox with Radovan Karadzic, the wartime leader
of the Bosnian Serbs.

Although Mr Djindjic played a prominent role in Serbian politics over
the last decade he never enjoyed great popular appeal. Mindful of his
limited popularity, he decided to back Vojislav Kostunica in the 2000
election as presidential candidate.

Mr Djindjic made enemies because of his pro-reformist stand. A
German-educated technocrat known to supporters as "the manager" for his
organisational skills and as "little Slobo" to his detractors for his
authoritarian tendencies, Mr Djindjic handed over Mr Milosevic to the
west in return for international economic aid.



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