Yugoslav Left

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Yugoslav Left

Jugoslovenska Levica
President Ljubiša Ristić (1995–2002)
Mirjana Marković (2002–2003)
General Secretary Ratko Krsmanović
Founded23 July 1994
Dissolved12 April 2010
HeadquartersVenizelosova 31, Belgrade
Ideology Communism [1]
Democratic socialism
Serbian nationalism [2] [3]
Political position Left-wing

The Yugoslav Left (Serbo-Croatian: Југословенска Левица, ЈУЛ / Jugoslovenska Levica; JUL) was a left-wing political party in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. [4] At its peak, the party had 20 seats in Republic of Serbia's National Assembly following the 1997 general election.

Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. It typically involves a concern for those in society whom its adherents perceive as disadvantaged relative to others (prioritarianism) as well as a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished. The term left-wing can also refer to "the radical, reforming, or socialist section of a political party or system".

A political party is an organized group of people, often with common views, who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters' interests.

Republic of Serbia (1992–2006) federal unit of Yugoslavia/Serbia & Montenegro between 1992 and 2006

The Republic of Serbia was a constituent state of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia between 1992 and 2003 and the Union of Serbia and Montenegro from 2003 to 2006. With Montenegro's secession from the union with Serbia in 2006, both became sovereign states in their own right.



JUL declared itself to be a party of all "left-wing and progressive forces that believed that the general interest always comes above private interest", including communists, socialists, social democrats, and democratic socialists. [4]

Communism socialist political movement and ideology

In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management, as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.

Social democracy is a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution and regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions. Social democracy thus aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes. Due to longstanding governance by social democratic parties and their influence on socioeconomic policy development in the Nordic countries, in policy circles social democracy has become associated with the Nordic model in the latter part of the 20th century.


The party was formed in 1994 by merging 19 left-wing parties, led by the League of Communists – Movement for Yugoslavia (SK-PJ). It was led by Mirjana Marković, originally holding the title of President of the Directorate.

League of Communists – Movement for Yugoslavia

League of Communists – Movement for Yugoslavia was a political party formed by members of the Yugoslav People's Army in 1990 active in Serbia. The party was based on former party organizations within the army. In 1994 it joined the Yugoslav Left party led by Mirjana Marković.

Mirjana "Mira" Marković was a Serbian politician and wife of former Yugoslav and Serbian president Slobodan Milošević. She was the president of the now defunct Yugoslav Left political party from 2002 to 2003. Marković, who was wanted for fraud charges, lived under political asylum in Russia from February 2003 to her death on 14 April 2019.

Unlike the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) and its ally the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (DPS) which were direct descendants of the League of Communists of Serbia and Montenegro respectively, the Yugoslav Left was an all-Yugoslavian party with members from both constituent bodies. [5]

Socialist Party of Serbia political party

The Socialist Party of Serbia is a political party in Serbia that identifies as a democratic socialist and social democratic party. The Socialist Party of Serbia was the direct descendant of the League of Communists of Serbia. Throughout its existence, the party has utilised some nationalist rhetoric and themes, and has therefore been labelled a Serbian nationalist party, although the SPS has never identified itself as such.

Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro political party

The Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro is the ruling political party in Montenegro. It has been so since the introduction of a multi-party system in 1990.

League of Communists of Serbia

The League of Communists of Serbia, founded as the Communist Party of Serbia in 1945, was the Serbian branch of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, the sole legal party of Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1990. It changed its name from KPS to SKS in 1952. Under a new constitution ratified in 1974, greater power was devolved to the various republic level branches. In the late 1980s, the party was taken over by a faction endorsing Slobodan Milošević to become leader of the party. Milošević appeased nationalists in Serbia by promising to reduce the level of autonomy within the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina. This policy increased ethnic tensions with the other republics and nationalities. During the early 1990s, the growing ethnic tensions between the republics of Yugoslavia led to the breakup of the federal party.

Despite these differences, the JUL and the SPS collaborated closely. The JUL generally did not take part in elections separately. Several members of the SPS crossed the floor to JUL at some stage. [6]

Crossing the floor political term

In politics, crossing the floor is when a politician changes their allegiance or votes against their party in a Westminster system parliament. Crossing the floor may be voting against the approved party lines, or changing to another party after being elected while a member of a first party. While these practices are legally permissible, crossing the floor can lead to controversy and media attention. As well, voting against party lines may lead to consequences such as losing a position or being ejected from the party caucus.

On 24 and 25 March 1995, the party held its 1st Congress at the Sava Center in Belgrade, and theatre director Ljubiša Ristić was elected President. [7]

Belgrade City in Serbia

Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers and the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkan Peninsula. The urban area of the City of Belgrade has a population of 1.23 million, while nearly 1.7 million people live within its administrative limits.

In 1996, the JUL joined the Left Coalition with the SPS and New Democracy. Following the 1997 election, the party had 20 MPs and representatives in various local assemblies. It held five ministerial posts in the second cabinet of Mirko Marjanović.

At the 2nd Congress in Kragujevac on 6 April 2002, Marković was elected President of the Yugoslav Left. [8]

It had a minimal presence in Montenegrin politics. At its peak, the JUL was part of the Patriotic Coalition for Yugoslavia in the 2002 election with the People's Socialist Party of Montenegro, and the Serbian Radical Party. The coalition won less than 3% of the vote and no seats.

In the 2003 election in Serbia, the JUL received only 0.1% of the vote. [9]

The party officially ceased to exist on 12 April 2010. Its properties and some activities are carried on by the Better Serbia non-governmental organization, led by Dragana Kuzmanović-Janičić. [10]

International cooperation

The JUL visited the gatherings of several left-wing political groups in Europe and worldwide. It held ties with the Communist Party of China, the Communist Party of Cuba and the Workers' Party of Korea. [6]

Voter base

Its social base was mainly amongst peasants and pauperized workers, but it also had members from the so-called nouveau riche of Serbia during Slobodan Milošević's terms in office, and many high-ranked civil servants and army staff. During the 1990s, opponents of Milošević's government sometimes referred to the JUL "a branch of Communist Party of China in Yugoslavia". [6]

Presidents of the Yugoslav Left (1994–2003)

No.PresidentBirth–DeathTerm startTerm end
1 Nenad Đorđević 1949–23 July 199425 March 1995
2 Ljubiša Ristić 1947–25 March 19954 April 2002
3 Mirjana Marković 1942–20194 April 2002March 2003
(de facto)

Electoral results

Serbian Parliamentary elections

YearPopular vote% of popular vote# of seatsSeat changeCoalitionsGovernment
1997 1,418,03634.26%
20 / 250
Increase2.svg 20 Left Coalition government
2000 14,3240.38%
0 / 250
Decrease2.svg 20non-parliamentary
2003 3,7710.09%
0 / 250

Montenegrin Parliamentary elections

YearPopular vote% of popular vote# of seatsSeat changeCoalitionsGovernment
1996 1,6680.55%
0 / 250
1998 3450.10%
0 / 250
2001 1900.05%
0 / 250
2002 9,9112.84%
0 / 250
Steady2.svg Patriotic Coalition for Yugoslavia non-parliamentary

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  1. Steele, Jonathon (2000). "Yugoslavia's hated regime crumbles". Guardian. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  2. Breuilly, John (2013). The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism. OUP Oxford. p. 527.
  3. Golubović, Zagorka (2003). Politika i svakodnevni život: Srbija 1999-2002. IFDT. p. 225.
  4. 1 2 Janusz Bugajski. Political Parties of Eastern Europe: A Guide to Politics in the Post-Communist Era. Armonk, New York, USA: The Center for Strategic and International Studies. p. 407.
  5. Yugoslav Left leader: "All people in Yugoslavia should live together" [ permanent dead link ]
  6. 1 2 3 "Yugoslav Left". Free Serbia. 10 December 1999. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  7. Thomas 1999, pp. 225-6.
  8. "MIRJANA MARKOVIC IZABRANA ZA PREDSEDNICU JUL-A" (in Serbian). B92. 6 April 2002. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  9. Broad Left entry on JUL Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  10. "Mira Marković danas nema šanse kao politički lider". srbijadanas.com. Srbija Danas. 28 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2018.