BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ President Slobodan Milosevic's ruling Socialist party is planning aggressive campaigns to win back control of Serbia's opposition-governed municipalities, an independent Belgrade daily reported Saturday.

The ruling party and its ultranationalist and neocommunist allies want to fend off increasingly popular democratic opposition parties and take back localities they lost in 1996 elections, the newspaper Glas said. It quoted a Socialist official whom it did not identify.

Four years ago, allied opposition parties won local elections in Serbia's main urban areas. Milosevic tried to annul the results, but the move triggered massive protests and he eventually acknowledged defeat.

Dates for new municipal elections have not yet been set. They could take place as early as May, Glas quoted the official as saying.

Regardless, a substantial change of authority in Serbia depends on crucial parliamentary elections, not due before 2001. Confident of defeating Milosevic, the opposition has demanded early parliamentary balloting.