The Serbian parliament voted overwhelmingly Monday to back the republic's pro-communist president and recall another member from Yugoslavia's collective presidency.
Meeting in a special session, parliament voted 207-9 to sack Riza Sapunxiu, the delegate from Serbia's Kosovo province, because of his "anti-Serbian activities." Sapunxiu voted against a state of emergency sought by Serbia to give the military greater powers to curb unrest.Serbia earlier withdrew its member from the presidency, and two other delegates followed suit. Monday's vote could paralyze the collective presidency - which normally has eight members - by leaving it without a quorum. But Vasil Tuporkovski, the delegate from Macedonia, indicated the presidency would ignore the parliament vote.
Tuporkovski said the Serbian parliament has no authority to sack Sapunxiu, who is legally responsible to the parliament of Kosovo. Serbia has suspended Kosovo's parliament because of its support for more autonomy for the region's ethnic Albanian majority.
Stipe Mesic, Croatia's representative on the federal presidency and the body's acting chairman, was quoted as saying Monday that Yugoslavs want to avoid civil war.
Croatia and Slovenia, the country's two northernmost republics, have close ties to the West. Each favors a loose federation of sovereign states, while Serbia, largest of the six Yugoslav republics, is controlled by President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialists, the renamed communists.