Balkans: April 5, 2000

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Here's some local intrigue. A pro-Milosevic mayor in the town of Zrenjanin, in northern (Vojvodina) Serbia was faced with an attempt to challenge him by opposition members in the town's assembly. Suddenly three men appear outside the hone of Jano Svetlik, one of the mayor's opponents. Svetlik is conveniently abducted. Svetlike is also a member of the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina. an opposition faction with ethnic Hungarian ties. After the pro-Milosevic mayor beat back the opposition vote, Svetlik was released and his abductors disappeared. Just business as usual in a dictatorship that tries to keep a few democratic trappings? The truth is, Vojvodina could become yet another Balkan hotspot. The Serbs are very concerned about ethnic Hungarian activism. This could be a sign of rising ethnic tension -- and a potential crackdown.

 

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