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Serbia's Latest Battle


Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, who toppled strongman Slobodan Milosevic from power two years ago, is fighting for his political survival. His post will disappear, probably in January, after the old Yugoslav federal structure is replaced by a looser union between Serbia and Montenegro.

So Kostunica is running for President of Serbia in elections on Sept. 29. Kostunica, a populist who appeals to Serbia's nationalist sentiments, is challenging Miroljub Labus, the architect of aggressive economic reforms introduced by Kostunica's main rival, Serb Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

If Kostunica loses, he drifts into the political wilderness. If he wins, he will still have a platform from which to criticize Djindjic's reforms, which have led to massive layoffs. Kostunica has vowed to push for early parliamentary elections. Investors fear that slowing reforms could threaten Serbia's recovery. EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady


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