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Tuesday, 24 October, 2000, 04:21 GMT
Serbian rivals close to deal
Prime Minister designate Zoran Zizic(left) with President Kostunica
Pro-Milosevic Mr Zizic (left) is nominated as prime minister
After nearly two weeks of intensive negotiations, Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party has come close to agreeing on a transitional government for Yugoslavia's main republic, Serbia.

The deal would see key ministries, such as police, justice and finance run jointly by the Socialists, President Vojislav Kostunica's alliance of former opposition parties, and the Serbian Renewal Movement headed by Vuk Draskovic until early elections on 23 December.

President Vojislav Kostunica
President Kostunica still faces much resistance to change
However, the Serbian parliament adjourned on Monday without approving the deal.

A BBC correspondent in Belgrade says acrimonious disputes are continuing over which personalities from the Milosevic era should survive.

The current Serbian Prime Minister, Mirko Marjanovic, has already submitted his resignation.

According to some reports it has been agreed that Mr Milosevic's ally Zoran Zizic, of the Socialist People's Party, has been nominated as his replacement.

Last week the Socialist Party had agreed to dissolve the current Serbian administration and establish a temporary power-sharing government.

Coalition satisfied

But the agreement faltered as the Socialists and the Democratic Opposition Coalition (DOS) argued over socialist nominees for specific posts, amid demands from the opposition that certain allies of former President Milosevic should be fired.

Our correspondent, Paul Wood, says the Socialists complain that the former opposition keep coming back with new demands, seeking to revise earlier agreements.

Protesters
Further mass street protests had been threatened
Establishing new governments at both the federal level and in Serbia has taken on a new urgency.

The European Union has promised $175m in emergency aid once new governments are in place. Other donors are also waiting for the government to be formed before releasing funds.

With more than 90% of Yugoslavia's population living in Serbia, the make-up of the Serbian Government - and control of the powerful Serbian administration - is essential to wielding real power in the country.

Street protests

Members of DOS had warned Mr Milosevic's supporters to accept their terms for the interim cabinet or face renewed street protests.

But a negotiator for the socialists, Zoran Andjelkovic, complained that pro-democracy leaders kept stepping up their demands.

The pro-democracy leader, Vladan Batic, had warned that if Mr Milosevic's people kept opposing the alliance's terms for transition, "we can put additional pressure on them".

He had strongly suggested that if agreement on a new transitional government was not reached at Monday's session of parliament, the pro-democracy alliance would unleash new mass demonstrations.

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See also:

20 Oct 00 | Europe
Belgrade changes worry Kosovo
19 Oct 00 | Europe
Serbia's unfinished revolution
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