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Vuk Draskovic

Opposition leader

More on Vuk Draskovic: Opposition leader converted

As Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister, Vuk Draskovic had a high profile in the early weeks of the Nato strikes, appearing regularly on Western TV channels. But he was sacked following comments he made publicly criticising his country's handling of the crisis. An official statement said he had been dismissed for expressing views "in contradiction with the positions of the federal government".

Draskovic is sometimes portrayed as a liberal, but his rise to prominence in the 1980s was based on his espousal of the Serbian nationalist cause. This found expression in his writing - as a journalist and novelist - and later in his political career.

One of the founders of the political opposition when multi-party politics was allowed in 1990, he was seen as the most prominent opposition figure in Serbia during the 1990s.

When his SPO party was invited to join the Yugoslav federal government in January 1999, Draskovic showed no hesitation in taking up the offer to serve under Milosevic - notwithstanding the fact that after the Bosnian war he had said he would gladly send Milosevic to stand trial before the war crimes tribunal. Through this political marriage of convenience, Draskovic achieved a long-term ambition - a place in government. But his dismissal at the first public sign of disagreement with Milosevic was a clear illustration of who wielded the real power.

Political rivalry kept Draskovic apart from other opposition groups calling for Milosevic's resignation after the Nato campaign and it was not until January 2000 that he joined the anti-Milosevic coalition.

In October 1999 he was the only survivor in a road accident that killed a number of his SPO colleagues, which many believed was a government-inspired assassination attempt on him.