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B92 News

September 9, 2003

G17 Plus inter-party negotiations continue 
BELGRADE -- Tuesday The inter-party discussions on political cooperation begun yesterday by G17 Plus in a meting with Social Democracy, have continued today with the Democratic Party of Serbia.

The partys leader, Vojislav Kostunica, who is heading the delegation meeting G17 Plus, said today that the discussions would be an exchange of opinions on various important topical issues.

He said that the Democratic Party of Serbia had declined discussion of a post-election coalition because the time for this was after the elections.;

Instead, the party has proposed discussions on the constitutional organisation of Serbia, relations with the federal state, Kosovo, the regionalisation of Serbia and social aspects of privatisation and the debt crisis.

He warned that the talks should not give the impression of any rapprochement between his party and G17 Plus after what he described as the negative campaign conducted in last years presidential elections.

There is however something more important than that which is to see whether we can bring this collapse to a halt, he said. The more we delay elections, the deeper we sink

Kostunica also said his party would seek similar discussions with other parties and provoke a public debate, together with unions and professional associations.

The public sees clearly that we can no longer continue like this and that the more we delay the elections, which are the only way out, the deeper we sink into the mire, he told B92.

The Democratic Party of Serbia also emphasised that all public opinion
surveys had shown that two thirds of the public was in favour of early elections.

At yesterdays meeting, G17 Plus and Social Democracy agreed on the need for urgent adoption of new election legislation.

Social Democracy has proposed that the legislation be based on the model prepared by the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy.

This includes the introduction of proportional voting, that Serbia be a single electoral unit, that the threshold vote for a party to be represented in the parliament be reduced from five to two per cent and guaranteed representation for national minorities.

B92 asked Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic whether the participation of some DOS member parties in the G17 Plus discussions was a threat to the governing coalition.

Just because somebody is a member of the DOS coalition, he isnt barred from independent political operation, said the prime minister.

The one question this raises is why someone in the3 governing coalition would discuss extraordinary elections with anyone, but even that is part of political life and I dont think we need to object to these meetings, he added.

Other parties which have so far accepted the invitation of G17 Plus are the Civil Alliance of Serbia, the Sandzak Democratic Party, the Vojvodina Reformists and the Initiative for a Normal Serbia

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