Friday, June 4, 1999 Published at 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Analysis: Can Milosevic survive?
Reconstruction funds will not be available while Milosevic remains in power
By South East Europe Analyst Gabriel Partos
Yet so far he has always managed to stay on top.
Now with the conflict in Kosovo apparently nearing its conclusion, Mr Milosevic may be facing a greater threat to his position than ever before.
There are two main reasons for this - both linked to Nato's 10-week campaign of air strikes against Yugoslavia.
Now a large proportion of Serbia's bridges, railways and public buildings are in ruins - due to the president's refusal to accept the Rambouillet peace accords.
In the firing line
They will also be able to exploit another weakness in Mr Milosevic's position: while he and others who have been indicted for crimes against humanity remain in office, the West will not be providing reconstruction funds for Serbia.
Bosnia is a clear example - the Bosnian Serbs only began to receive substantial aid last year when a more pragmatic leadership took office.
Mr Milosevic's position now looks more vulnerable than at any stage over the past 12 years.
Apart from a few brief occasions, the opposition has failed over the years to present a united front; and its leaders have often spent more time squabbling amongst themselves than confronting Mr Milosevic.
Even now, the best-known opposition figures may not be in a position to mount a credible challenge.
Vuk Draskovic, leader of the conservative Serbian Renewal Movement, was until recently in Mr Milosevic's government, which makes his position rather ambiguous.
The absence of a strong, united opposition is clearly a boost to Mr Milosevic's chances of political survival, as well as the fact that his term as president has two more years to run.
But Serbian politics now faces perhaps its most turbulent period in an already dramatic decade, and Mr Milosevic is likely to come under mounting pressure.
That will only increase if the top brass in the security forces decide that Mr Milosevic has not just lost the conflict but may also lose the peace for Serbia if his continued presence in office condemns the country to lasting ruin.