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Wednesday, 20 May, 1998, 04:52 GMT 05:52 UK
New Yugoslav PM faces uphill battle
President Slobodan Milosevic
President Slobodan Milosevic's choice of prime minister has been rejected
The new Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, Momir Bulatovic, is to seek approval for his government despite facing strong opposition from Montenegro - one of Yugoslavia's constituent republics.

Mr Bulatovic was appointed on Tuesday by President Slobodan Milosevic, but parliament in Montenegro chose to reject him.

Milo Djukanovic
Milo Djukanovic: will not work with Milosevic's ally
The rejection of Momir Bulatovic, a close ally of Mr Milosevic, was accompanied by a statement by Montenegro's leadership that it will not work with anyone other than the former prime minister, Radoje Kontic.

Mr Kontic was ousted from his position on Monday by supporters of Mr Milosevic.

The new appointee is the main opponent of President Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro, which, together with Serbia, makes up Yugoslavia.

The move increases the chance of a constitutional crisis in Yugoslavia, which, according to BBC's correspondent, may be to Mr Milosevic's advantage.

Radoje Kontic
Kontic: a former friend increasingly seen as a foe
There is a possibility that he will declare a state of emergency before elections in Montenegro at the end of this month, in which Mr Milosevic's opponents could strengthen their position.

The crisis has also increased the possibility that Montenegro will seek to secede from what remains of the old Yugoslavia.

Breaking the long-standing alliance with Serbia would cause a bitter and possibly violent division between and within the two republics.

A provocative choice

There can have been few more provocative nominations for the post of federal prime minister than Momir Bulatovic.

Momir Bulatovic
Bulatovic: opposed election results
He is a former Montenegro president who narrowly lost elections in October to Milo Ducanovic, a bitter opponent of Slobodan Milosevic.

The election was marred by violence when Mr Bulatovic refused to recognise his defeat.

Our correspondent says that since October, he and Mr Milosevic have been looking for ways to regain control over Montenegro, despite the objections of the Montenegro leadership.

A tight grip on the Yugoslav federation is the source of Mr Milosevic's power as federal president.

See also:

19 May 98 | Europe
Montenegro: whither Yugoslavia?
19 May 98 | Europe
Anger over ousting of Yugoslav PM
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