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Wednesday, 27 September, 2000, 16:12 GMT
Yugoslav elections: John Simpson answers your questions
John Simpson, BBC World Affairs Editor is in Yugoslavia covering the tense aftermath of Sunday's presidential elections.
Opposition parties in Yugoslavia are urging supporters to take to the streets of Belgrade to show their anger at President Milosevic's refusal to admit defeat in the elections.
The authorities have acknowledged that Mr Milosevic polled fewer votes than his main challenger, Vojislav Kostunica. But they've ordered a re-run because they say neither man secured an outright majority.
Mr Kostunica has said he won't take part in a second round of voting, claiming he's already won a decisive victory
What's the atmosphere like out there amid such huge political tension? What will a winning result for the opposition mean for President Milosevic?
BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson has answered a selection of your questions. A transcription is available below.
Unfortunately video of this event will not be available due to technical difficulties with the sound. We apologise for any disappointment this may cause.
Fergal Carty, Republic of Ireland: Do you think that Milosevic anticipated the strength of support for the opposition?
John Simpson: I'm certain that he didn't, I'm certain that it came as a terrible shock to him.
Mark Gledhill, UK: If Milosevic were to claim victory and it is believed that the vote was rigged, what will the opposition do?
John Simpson: Well in a sense we're seeing what they'll do already because what happened in the first round, will presumably have to happen in the second round if Mr Milosevic is to be able to claim victory.
Robert Tyllia, United States of America: Is Nato obligated to defend the integrity of the Montenegrin Government if Mr. Milosevic incites violence or attempts a coup? How would this Nato intervention manifest itself?
John Simpson: It's issued the strongest warnings, it's not bound by some kind of treaty or anything like that, but obviously it couldn't just look on passively while things happened here.
Anthony Ristic, United Kingdom: Is there a potential 'people's revolution' brewing if Milosevic tries to cling to power?
John Simpson: This is really the central question. For those of us who went through the big revolutions of 1989, some of the circumstances are similar and some are very different.
David Vujanovic, Australia: In a radio report today, I heard something about the police in Belgrade not appearing to follow (presidential?) orders and keep people off the streets. Do you know anything about this possibly crucial development and, if it's true, do you think this is a sign of Mr Milosevic's crumbling clout?
John Simpson: It is obvious that there must be policeman and senior military people who are considering their position, who are wondering what they'll do. But I think in terms of the actual day-by-day policing in the city, I don't think we've seen any changes from what we've seen in the past and I don't think we will see that for a little bit.
Jasmina Lijesevic, UK: Is the situation in Montenegro as tense as the media is suggesting, and do you believe that if Milosevic triggers unrest it really will be brother against brother?
John Simpson: I think it will be quiet difficult for President Milosevic to distract attention from his problems now by staging something in Montenegro. I think events have taken us further beyond that.
Paul Clark, UK: What happened to Vuk Draskovic?
John Simpson: Well in fact he's not that far from here.
He's at a seaside resort called Budva on the coast in Montenegro quite a long way away from everything that is happening.
Vesko Stanic, UK: Given that the opposition is also anti-western, what will the relationship between a new, and hopefully democratic, Yugoslavia and the rest of the US-led world be like?
John Simpson: I don't think the opposition is anti-western. What is absolutely true is that Mr Kostunica is a nationalist of a sort, but not an extreme nationalist - he's nothing like Mr Milosevic and would want to be seen to be extremely different from President Milosevic if he were to come to power.
Neil, Scotland: Are there really major differences in the policies of Milosevic and Kostunica?
John Simpson: Yes there are. It really is grotesquely overstating it to say they're both nationalists and therefore both exactly the same. For one thing, four wars have been fought in the 13 years of President Milosevic's government. Each of those has been stimulated by his own rhetoric and his own policies. Mr Kostunica is a completely different type of person, and there's absolutely no way he'd think of doing that kind of thing.
Piers Erridge, UK: When people power swelled in other eastern bloc states in 1989, its success was very much helped by the fact that the military wouldn't ultimately turn their guns on their own people. Is there any sign in Yugoslavia that a similar reluctance will prevail if Milosevic's opponents attempt a 'velvet revolution'?
John Simpson: The only country where the military were called in the first place was in China. The military were not involved in any of the revolutions in Eastern Europe. The police in some of those countries started off in a very hostile and aggressive way. Those of us who were there saw how day-to-day it became more difficult to get them to carry out their orders, to repress the demonstrators heavily.
Carlton Nielsen, United States of America: Given that Milosevic will use the apparatus available to him to remain in power, do you think that the Yugoslav population will have a tolerance for further delays/vote rigging on the government's part and how long will they tolerate it?
John Simpson: It would be nice to be able to say yes or no to that and to be able to say it's absolutely clear that people power will do such and such here - it's not that clear. We've been so often up to the point where it would seem to outsiders that a revolution against President Milosevic was absolutely inevitable and at the key moment it fell away.
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