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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 16:28 GMT
Djindjic ally picked for top job
Zoran Zivkovic and portrait of Zoran Djindjic
Mr Zivkovic promises to carry on Mr Djindjic's reforms
Serbia's Democratic Party has chosen its candidate to replace the country's prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, who was assassinated in Belgrade last Wednesday.

He is Zoran Zivkovic, a former Yugoslav interior minister and close ally of Mr Djindjic.

Mr Zivkovic is expected to be voted in as prime minister by parliament in a few days' time.

The party will decide on replacement for Mr Djindjic as party leader at its congress later this year.

The party session which decided to nominate Mr Zivkovic for the premiership began with a tribute to the assassinated leader.

A large photograph surrounded by flowers was placed at the seat he normally occupied.

Mr Zivkovic has committed himself to continuing Mr Djindjic's reformist policies.

But the BBC's Nick Hawton in Belgrade says he will face many difficult tasks as he attempts to maintain political and economic stability in Serbia, and track down those involved in Mr Djindjic's assassination.

There are no guarantees that the ruling coalition government will stick together, he says.

Serbia only has an acting president after the failure of last year's elections, and the new federal government of Serbia and Montenegro still has to hold its first session.

Unpredictable

Serbia's new prime minister will also have to reassure foreign governments and investors that democracy and economic reforms will continue - a difficult task in a country whose immediate future seems so unpredictable.

Hundreds of thousands of people, including many foreign dignitaries, turned out for Mr Djindjic's funeral procession through Belgrade on Saturday.

It was the biggest funeral in Belgrade since that of President Tito in 1980.

Police say they have arrested one of the suspected ringleaders behind the assassination.

The suspect, Mladan Micic - known as The Rat - was captured in a village 70 kilometres (45 miles) from Belgrade.

He was detained along with six other people in the village of Smoljinac.

Weapons, ammunition, surveillance devices and car number plates were seized in the raid.

Police have arrested about 200 people since Mr Djindjic's assassination.


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