BBC Monitoring International Reports - April 22, 2005

Excerpt from report by Serbian independent news agency FoNet

Belgrade, 21 April: Results of a poll done by the Faktor Plus agency regarding the rating of political parties and politicians have drawn attention to two things the political rise of Cedomir Jovanovic's Liberal Democratic Fraction [of the Democratic Party] and the rise in popularity of Slobodan Milosevic, whose rating is for the first time above the rating of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica.

Political analyst Petar Manic today explained the rise in popularity of Slobodan Milosevic as an attempt to return to the past and as a great disillusion when it comes to the current leadership.

According to the Faktor Plus agency poll, which is based on interviewing 1,200 citizens of Serbia, the deputy chairman of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), Tomislav Nikolic, is the most popular politician, while the Democratic Party (DS) chairman, Serbian President Boris Tadic, is slightly less popular.

Milosevic ranks third on the list, thereby beating leaders of the so-called democratic bloc for the first time.

When it comes to political parties, the ranking is more or less the same, except for Bogoljub Karic's Strength of Serbia movement [PSS] ranking third here, after the SRS and DS.

On the other hand, according to the poll, almost one third of those interviewed would like to see Karic as Serbian premier, which is more than in the case of either Nikolic or Tadic.

[Passage omitted: more on the same]

The poll showed a further drop in the ratings of the army, police and the Serbian Orthodox Church. It was said that 40% of respondents believed that only those who supported the current leadership enjoyed freedom of the press, which, according to Manic, was worrisome.

Manic assessed that the poll had shown a significant decrease in the interest for politics and a rise in the interest for social and economic issues, adding that the most positive thing was that around 70% of respondents saw Serbia-Montenegro joining the European Union and [NATO-led] Partnership for Peace in a positive light.

Source: FoNet news agency, Belgrade, in Serbian 1320 gmt 22 Apr 05

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