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Premier-designate Announces Cabinet

March 15, 1989

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Premier-designate Ante Markovic, a reformer and successful businessman, announced a trimmer government Wednesday to carry the battle against Yugoslavia’s worst economic crisis since World War II.

His Cabinet will have 19 ministers, compared with 29 in the outgoing administration of Branko Mikulic, and will be a combination of politicians and technocrats. He and his government are to be sworn in Thursday.

Parliament approved a 1989 budget Wednesday totaling the equivalent of $3 billion, a 165 percent increase reflecting inflation that has reached an annual rate of 346 percent, according to government figures.

Yugoslavia’s federal budget covers only defense, aid to underdeveloped regions, government salaries and retirement benefits. All other expenditures are covered in budgets of the six member republics.

The economic crisis has caused labor unrest and exacerbated problems between ethnic groups in the nation’s loose federation.

In Kosovo, an autonomous province that was the heart of ancient Serbia, 2,000 miners defied government orders to end a strike that began Feb. 21. About 90 percent of the people in the poor southern region are ethnic Albanians, and Serbian residents complain of discrimination.

Markovic, an advocate of market-oriented economic reform, is a former president of the Croatian republic. Mikulic’s government resigned Dec. 30, becoming the first to do so since the Communist Party gained power after World War II under the late President Tito.

Political, ethnic and economic problems have increased since Tito died in 1980 and was succeeded by a collective presidency, which has proved ineffectual. Mikulic resigned because his government was unable to solve those problems.

As deputy premiers, Markovic selected Alexandar Mitrovic, vice president of Serbia, the largest republic, and Zivko Pregl, executive secretary of Slovenia’s Communist Party, the official news agency Tanjug reported.

His choices indicate a balanced position between Slovenia, which advocates a market economy and political pluralism, and Serbia, which wants more centralism and political orthodoxy.

Foreign Minister Budimir Loncar and Gen. Veljko Kadijevic, the defense minister, will continue in those jobs.

Gen. Petar Gracanin, president of Serbia, is to be interior minister and Branko Zekan, manager of a large Croatian insurance company, will become finance minister, Tanjug said.

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