Protest leader represents a new style of Yugoslav politician
February 8, 1997
Web posted at: 6:00 p.m. EST (2300 GMT)
From Correspondent Steve Harrigan
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- Philosopher, businessman and
possibly the next mayor of Belgrade, Zoran Djindjic is
considered by many to be the brains behind the protest
With his stylish clothes and short salt-and-pepper hair,
Djindjic is something new in Serbian politics.
"In Serbia [we have] old men, very serious in gray suits, who
never respected media," said political analyst Mirjan Bobic.
"He is young, good looking and very well educated."
Married with two children, Djindjic sees himself as a leader
of a new generation of Serbs, those born after World War II.
"I represent a generation that knows about life in the West
and the rest of the world, people who want to do everything
possible so that we become a normal European country,"
The behind-the-scenes organizer has taken on a very public
role in the street demonstrations.
The word most often used to describe Djindjic is pragmatic.
His critics say he has no core beliefs, while supporters say
his smooth style has kept the protests peaceful.
His changing positions towards Bosnian Serbs was seen by some
"Everybody makes a mistake here and here," said political
analyst Milos Vasic. "Djindjic did that mistake by flirting
with [former Serb leader] Radovan Karadzic and the Bosnian
Serbs in one moment."
Djindjic denies the charge.
"When it was popular to be a nationalist, I was the biggest
opponent to nationalism," Djindjic said. "Then, when everyone
abandoned the Serbs, I said 'I will not.'"
If the government honors its promise to return election
victories to the opposition, Djindjic will become mayor of
Belgrade. The man now stopping traffic in street protests
will be in the driver's seat, the boss over many of those who
are now blocking his path.
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