Serbia, Breakup of Yugoslavia and political transition

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Summary

Serbia (), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian Cyrillic: Република Србија, , Serbian Latin: Republika Srbija), is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. Serbia is landlocked and borders Hungary to the north; Romania and Bulgaria to the east; Macedonia to the south; and Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro to the west; it also claims to border Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. The capital of Serbia, Belgrade, is among Europe's oldest citie

Details

In 1989, Slobodan Milošević rose to power in Serbia. Milošević promised reduction of powers for the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina, where his allies subsequently overtook the power, during the Anti-bureaucratic revolution. This ignited tensions with the communist leadership of the other republics, and awoke nationalism across the country, that eventually resulted in the Breakup of Yugoslavia, with Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo declaring independence. Serbia and Montenegro remained together as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).

Fueled by ethnic tensions, the Yugoslav Wars erupted, with the most severe conflicts taking place in Croatia and Bosnia, where ethnic Serb populations opposed independence from Yugoslavia. The FRY remained outside the conflicts, but provided logistic, military and financial support to Serb forces in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In response, the UN imposed sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in May 1992, which led to political isolation and the collapse of the economy. Multiparty democracy was introduced in Serbia in 1990, officially dismantling the single-party system. Critics of Milošević claimed that the government continued to be authoritarian despite constitutional changes, as Milošević maintained strong political influence over the state media and security apparatus. When the ruling SPS refused to accept its defeat in municipal elections in 1996, Serbians engaged in large protests against the government. Between 1998 and 1999, peace was broken again, when the situation in Kosovo worsened with continued clashes between Yugoslav security forces and the KLA. The confrontations led to the Kosovo War.

In September 2000, opposition parties accused Milošević of electoral fraud. A campaign of civil resistance followed, led by the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS), a broad coalition of anti-Milošević parties. This culminated on 5 October when half a million people from all over the country congregated in Belgrade, compelling Milošević to concede defeat. The fall of Milošević ended Yugoslavia's international isolation. Milošević was sent to the ICTY. The DOS announced that FR Yugoslavia would seek to join the European Union. In 2003, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was renamed Serbia and Montenegro; the EU opened negotiations with the country for the Stabilization and Association Agreement. Serbia's political climate has remained tense and in 2003, the prime minister Zoran Đinđić was assassinated as result of a plot originating from circles of organized crime and former security officials.

On 21 May 2006, Montenegro held a referendum to determine whether to end its union with Serbia. The results showed 55.4% of voters in favor of independence, which was just above the 55% required by the referendum. On 5 June 2006, the National Assembly of Serbia declared Serbia to be the legal successor to the former state union.

The province of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. Serbia immediately condemned the declaration and continues to deny any statehood to Kosovo. The declaration has sparked varied responses from the international community, some welcoming it, while others condemned the unilateral move. Status neutral talks between Serbia and Kosovo-Albanian authorities are held in Brussels, mediated by the EU.

In April 2008 Serbia was invited to join the Intensified Dialogue programme with NATO despite the diplomatic rift with the alliance over Kosovo. Serbia officially applied for membership in the European Union on 22 December 2009, and received candidate status on 1 March 2012, following a delay in December 2011. Following a positive recommendation of the European Commission and European Council in June 2013, negotiations to join the EU commenced in January 2014.

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External Links

  • WikipediaKey Development Forecasts for SerbiaSerbia Corruption Profile

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