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Yugoslavia: The Leadership Crisis
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > Political Evolution After 1945 > The Leadership Crisis


A political crisis occurred in late 1988 when Prime Minister Branko Mikulic resigned under pressure. Mikulic, who had initiated several austerity programs to reduce rampant inflation, met general disapproval when his programs produced no immediate results. He was also implicated in the Agrokomerc scandal of 1987, the most extensive instance of government and financial corruption in Yugoslavia to that time. In accordance with the constitutional provisions for resignation, the Mikulic government remained in office until a new government, headed by Ante Markovic, was selected in the spring of 1989. Markovic, who had gained a reputation as an effective economic innovator and moderate politician in Croatia, drew heavy criticism for refusing to take drastic anti-inflation measures, and for allowing both the economy and the Kosovo crisis to worsen in his first year in office.

Throughout the turbulent debates of the 1980s, the Yugoslav political system never produced a leader who commanded the respect of all factions. But by the turn of the decade, an end to the leadership crisis appeared possible. Markovic, who became prime minister in 1989, clearly belonged to a generation of technocrats intermediate between the Tito generation and the youngest politicians in the country, and some of his economic policies received strong public criticism. But Markovic made bold moves toward a Yugoslav market economy in 1990. He received broad public support when he declared that his government would function independently of LCY influence, and would be ready for multiparty elections after the LCY split in 1990. More important for the long term, a new generation of leaders began to fill national positions at the end of the 1980s, leaving few figures from Tito's World War II Partisan circle in power. New faces included 1989 State President Janez Drnovsek of Slovenia and Vasil Tupurkovski, a Macedonian member of the Federal Executive Council. Both in their thirties when elected but with positive national reputations, Drnovsek and Tupurkovski called consistently for pragmatic, drastic reform.

Data as of December 1990

Last Updated: December 1990

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Yugoslavia was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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