Communist premier Branko Mikulic on Saturday survived calls for his resignation from Yugoslavia's most Westernized republics when the parliament rejected their plan to topple his government.
In a 75-minute speech to the Federal Assembly, Yugoslavia's national parliament, Mikulic denounced Slovenia and Croatia, the two most advanced of Yugoslavia's six republics, for demanding a vote of no confidence in his administration.The parliament then held separate closed debates in its two chambers, the Federal Chamber and the Chamber of Republics and Provinces. Each chamber voted against even calling a vote on the Slovenian and Croatian proposals for a no-confidence motion, the Tanjug news agency said.
If Mikulic had been voted out of office, it would have been the first such vote against a Communist government anywhere in Eastern Europe.
Yugoslav television said the Federal Chamber voted 125 to 64 in a show of hands against a no-confidence motion. The vote in the other chamber was 64 to 23, Tanjug said.
The Federal Chamber has a total of 220 delegates, and the other chamber 88 deputies. Some deputies were apparently absent from Saturday's session, while five Federal Chamber members abstained.
Yugoslavia has been grappling with a prolonged economic and social crisis that has recently prompted calls for a multi-party system to replace the Communists' current monopoly on power.
In his speech, Mikulic suggested alternative political systems could eventually be debated, noting that "our situation is so serious that we have no right to put off a debate on the true reasons which caused it and on its eradication."
For the moment, however, he said there is "no political alternative to Socialist self-management," the system of worker management bequeathed by Josip Broz Tito and now widely blamed for some of the nation's economic woes.
Sixteen percent of the workforce is unemployed and the foreign debt exceeds $20 billion. Inflation touched almost 200 percent before the government slapped a six-month freeze on wages and prices last November.
The freeze was to be lifted Sunday night, but the government announced Wednesday it would stay in force at least 10 more days while Yugoslavia tries to raise an emergency $300 million loan.