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Reform stumbles as Dinkic falls

The murder of prime minister Zoran Djindjic and the ousting of central bank governor Mladjan Dinkic hurt Serbia's free-market reforms. Now the government's hopes lie in privatization.

Mladjan Dinkic, Serbia's ousted central
bank governor who expects the
government to "suffer the
consequences of their decisions."

IN LATE JULY, Serbian prime minister Zoran Zivkovic completed a visit to Washington to present Serbia for the 21st century. He posed for the traditional handshake photo with secretary of state Colin Powell, and declared that relations between Serbia and the US were the best they had been for 50 years.

But while Zivkovic met with US firms such as Morgan Stanley and Bechtel to discuss the possibility of their investing in Serbia, the free-market reform project at home was starting to unravel with the resignation of a key figure behind Serbian reforms in the past three years.

"Don't expect me to go easily like some other leaders they dismissed by changing the constitution," said the departing official. "The time will come when certain things will come to the surface and everyone will suffer the consequence of their decisions." Fighting talk indeed. But you would expect nothing less from Mladjan Dinkic (pictured above), the pugnacious governor of the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) - or rather former governor.

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