Yugoslavia Table of Contents
The regional divisions that prompted constitutional change also delayed concrete action by two years, as the constitution's framers sought language satisfactory to all political factions. By 1963 a new constitution had been prepared under the guidance of Eduard Kardelj, Tito's chief theoretician, with substantial input from liberal legal scholars. The new document reflected the perceived need for recentralization: the parliamentary Federal Assembly (Skupstina) was divided into one general chamber, the Federal Chamber, and four chambers given specific bureaucratic responsibilities. In an effort to end regional conflict and promote national representation of the Yugoslav people, the constitution directed that individual republics be represented only in the Chamber of Nationalities, a part of the Federal Chamber. This provision was especially important in ensuring continued contributions from all regions to federal development funds for the poorer republics.
Other provisions of the new constitution increased decentralization instead of reducing it. Tito retained his position as president of the federation but renounced his state position as president of the Federal Executive Council, a change that further separated party and state functions. The 1963 constitution also introduced the concept of rotation, which prohibited the holding of higher or lower level executive positions for more than two four-year terms. Other notable provisions extended human and civil rights and established constitutionally guaranteed court procedures. All these provisions were unique among the constitutional systems of contemporaneous communist states.
Although the 1963 constitution reflected the liberal leanings of Yugoslav leadership in those years, substantial power existed outside the institutional structure. Aleksandar Rankovic, state secretary in charge of the secret police, led an obstructionist bloc that opposed economic reform in the 1960s and advocated a return to the pre-1953 strong party role. In the many deadlocks between the liberal and obstructionist groups in this period, Tito was always the final arbiter. He generally supported economic reform but resisted decentralization of state power.
Data as of December 1990