Serbia and the new Yugoslavia
The dramatic fall of Slobodan Milošević, at first president of Serbia between 1989 and 1997 and, from 1997 to October 2000, president of the new Yugoslavia which includes only Serbia and Montenegro, closed a ten-year period during which Serbia isolated itself from the rest of Europe and, alone with Croatia, was ruled in an authoritarian manner apparently irrespective of the consequences for the country.
The domination of Milošević over Serbia, which began in the last years of the communist regime, was confirmed at the first multiparty presidential and parliamentary elections of December 1990. At the presidential election, Milošević was popularly elected as a moderate former communist against Vuk Drasković, whose platform was anti-communist but also was then virulently nationalistic. At the parliamentary election, Milošević's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) obtained 194 out of 250 seats, the Serbian Renaissance Movement (SRM) of Drasković was second with 19 seats.
Milošević had already entrenched his power earlier in the year when a new Serbian Constitution was adopted by the parliament of Serbia in June 1990 subsequently approved in September by the people in a referendum (which was boycotted by ethnic Albanians) and when he ensured in the following month that what was once the League of Communists remained in power under the new name of Socialist Party of Serbia. The dominance of that party was in part assured by the nationalistic twist which Milošević gave to the organisation. The new Constitution had abolished the autonomous status granted by the communist constitution of Serbia of 1974 to Voivodina in the north – largely populated by ethnic Hungarians – and to Kosovo in the south, where ethnic Albanians were the immense majority. This development was held to be a patriotic necessity given that the region was considered sacred in Serbian mythology for having been the ‘cradle’ of the country. Thus Milošević could exercise effective control of the government both in