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Serb Party Picks Milosevic as Head

January 19, 2003|From Reuters

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia — The Socialist Party of Serbia reelected Slobodan Milosevic as its president Saturday, even though the former Yugoslav leader is on trial for war crimes and had called on the party to name someone else.

Party congress delegates booed Bogoljub Bjelica, tapped by Milosevic to head the party in his absence, when he read a letter from the jailed Milosevic calling some party officials traitors.

The officials said Milosevic, on trial for crimes against humanity during the 1990s Balkan wars, is misinformed about the situation in his party because he is isolated in his cell at the U.N. court in The Hague.

Although the party has not disowned Milosevic -- a huge portrait of him hung in the congress hall -- Secretary-General Zoran Andjelkovic said the party is "aware of the mistakes and omissions made while we were in power, and we are not running away from them."

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