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Jackie Rowland reports for BBC News
"The Alliance for Change is trying to put a brave face on"
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Saturday, 25 December, 1999, 05:11 GMT
Serbian opposition leader may resign

Protestors in Belgrade Protests have failed to shake President Slobodan Milosevic's rule

By Belgrade correspondent Jacky Rowland

The Serbian opposition leader, Zoran Djindjic, is expected to reach a decision this week on whether to step down from his position as leader of the Democratic Party.

This is one of the issues which will be considered at a meeting of the party leadership in Belgrade.

Zoran Djindjic: Undecided future
Mr Djindjic has maintained for some time that he would stand down if opposition demonstrations failed to remove President Slobodan Milosevic from power.

The opposition as a whole is facing up to its failure to win widescale public support this year.

Demonstrations which started in September with tens of thousands of people dwindled to a few hundred before fizzling out.

Mr Djindjic adopted the position that if the protest rallies did not yield results there would have to be changes in the opposition.

The question facing the Democratic Party is whether his departure should be one of those changes.

Djindjic fled bombing

This would not be a question of self-sacrifice. The party has become aware that Mr Djindjic is not necessarily an asset.

Many people in Serbia remember how he fled to Montenegro during Nato airstrikes earlier this year, rather than toughing it out in Belgrade with his colleagues.

Vuk Draskovic Vuk Draskovic: Emerging as the main Serbian opposition figure
It is also likely that Mr Djindjic is falling out of favour with the west, which has been supporting his unsuccessful plan to bring about political change in Serbia.

If Mr Djindjic does step down from his position as party leader, it does not mean that he is leaving politics for good.

He is expected to retain some co-ordinating or administrative role in the opposition.

Meanwhile, his old rival, Vuk Draskovic, is emerging as the main player in the opposition movement

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See also:
19 Dec 99 |  Europe
Milosevic opponents call off rallies
20 Nov 99 |  Europe
Serb opposition rallies fizzle out
02 Oct 99 |  Europe
Police confront Belgrade marchers
01 Oct 99 |  Europe
Milosevic guard stepped up
01 Oct 99 |  Europe
Analysis: Can Serbia's opposition unite?

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