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Serbian Prime Minister elect, Zoran Djindjic
"The next step is reform"
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The BBC's Jacky Rowland in Belgrade
"The people of Serbia have delivered their verdict"
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Vladeta Jankovic, Democratic Party of Serbia
"The democratic parties, regardless of their differences, will remain together"
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Sunday, 24 December, 2000, 23:18 GMT
Milosevic 'to face justice'
Ballots from the Serbian election
Voters gave Mr Djindjic a clear mandate
The Prime Minister-elect of Serbia, Zoran Djindjic, says one of his new government's priorities will be to bring to justice the former President, Slobodan Milosevic.

Mr Djindjic was speaking in a BBC interview the day after elections in which his reformist coalition swept away the last vestiges of political power held by Mr Milosevic and his Socialist Party.

He will face the justice in Serbia

Zoran Djindjic
He said Mr Milosevic would first face charges of corruption and abuse of power and could later answer to war crimes allegations.

"We have even now in the newspapers enough evidence to start with the investigation about his abuses of power, and I think it will happen in January, and he will face the justice in Serbia," Mr Djindjic said.

"People wouldn't accept to give him amnesty for what he has done."

Pressure for trial

Western leaders want Mr Milosevic to face war crimes charges at The Hague tribunal. Mr Djindjic pointed out that Yugoslav law does not permit extradition - but he said the government might reach an agreement with The Hague for a war crimes trial in Serbia.

Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic: Indicted for war crimes in Kosovo

"We are interested to know what happened in Serbia, in Kosovo, in other parts of Serbia during the last years. We are also interested to focus on personal responsibility, not to be responsible as a nation," he said.

The victory of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) comes just three months after the reformist alliance won the federal Yugoslav elections.

Clear mandate

The DOS now has a two-thirds majority in the Serbian parliament, allowing it to pass legislation unhindered.

With more than 90% of the ballots counted by Monday morning, the DOS - led by Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica - had secured 176 seats in the 250-member legislature.

Zoran Djindiic
Djindjic's victory is seen as a significant milestone

Mr Milosevic's Socialists were a distant second with 37 seats.

Two other parties made it into the assembly: the ultra-nationalist Radical Party and the hard-line Serbian Unity Party. They had a combined total of 37 seats.

Before the vote, opposition leaders said that the economy and relations with the West were their most important priorities.

But now that victory is secured, they are talking about putting Mr Milosevic on trial.

Checks and balances

The new government has also promised a system of checks and balances to make sure that it does not abuse its power as Mr Milosevic did in the past.

Serb police in Kosovo, 1998
Milosevic used Serb police to carry out ethnic cleansing

The BBC's Jacky Rowland in Belgrade says the reformist alliance now has a mandate to change Serbia in a fundamental way.

The economy will be a priority, with an urgent need to recover from 10 years of mismanagement by the Milosevic regime, and the withdrawal of foreign investment.

Coup de grace

Mr Milosevic was ousted from the Yugoslav presidency by popular revolt three months ago, after he refused to accept defeat in the Yugoslav federal elections.

President Kostunica
President Kostunica will now have friends in Serbia's parliament

But the parliamentary election result is being seen as another landmark, as the Serbian parliament and government are more powerful than their federal counterparts.

The powers of the Serbian Government include responsibility for an 85,000-strong police force, and for major economic, financial and social policy.

Mr Djindjic said the result marked the end not only of Mr Milosevic, but of what he called all dictatorships in Serbia.

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See also:

24 Dec 00 | Europe
Socialists' slide from power
11 Jun 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Arkan 'victim of gang warfare'
08 Dec 00 | Europe
Yugoslavia seeks missing millions
22 Dec 00 | Europe
Serbs promised international aid
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