Country Listing

Yugoslavia Table of Contents


Federal Executive Council

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) was responsible for everyday bureaucratic operation of the government (see fig. 14). Using recommendations from the LCY and its own committees, the FEC was the primary sponsor of proposals for deliberation by the Federal Assembly. The FEC consisted of a prime minister and two deputy prime ministers who were nominated by the States Presidency and ratified by the Federal Assembly, and the heads, or secretaries, of the twelve major federal bureaucracies (the secretariats of finance, foreign affairs, defense, labor, agriculture, industry and energy, internal affairs, foreign economic relations, domestic trade, transport and communication, development, and legal and administrative affairs). The secretaries were selected by the prime minister and approved by the Federal Assembly. Four ministers without portfolio were added from republics underrepresented in the other fifteen positions.

The nineteen-member council outlined in the 1974 Constitution was reduced from the previous number of twenty-nine; the Federal Secretariat of Finance was added in 1988, the secretariats of development and domestic trade in 1989. Although Tito's rotation principle was not observed in determining the nationality of the prime minister or the departmental secretaries, a rough balance was maintained.

FEC members formed a variety of committees for resolution of interregional issues preparatory to making recommendations to the Federal Assembly. Five standing committees, one for each of the most troublesome federal issues, included members from both the federal and the republican executive councils. These committees debated practical aspects of all national problems, making the FEC the most important national center of political debate, compromise, and influence.

Legislation was formulated in the FEC--a process that could take a year or more--then sent to the appropriate chamber of the Federal Assembly for debate. In the 1970s, the FEC was second only to Tito himself in producing compromises on controversial issues among opposing republics, and second only to the party as a decision--making body. By definition, it controlled all federal bureaucracies and had exclusive access to expert information needed for policy making. The FEC also could determine the scheduling of debate on legislation and policy. After Tito's death, however, regions defended their interests more stubbornly and party leadership split along regional lines. In negotiations involving party leaders with regional agendas, the FEC increasingly relied on constitutionally prescribed temporary measures, which could not be blocked by dissenting delegations. Such measures remained in effect pending a unanimous resolution, and on many issues they were the only valid legislation for long periods of time. The FEC's failing bargaining power during the 1980s was exemplified by its inability to formulate the practical terms of the Long-Term Program of Economic Stabilization.

FEC members also sat on advisory councils that considered inter-regional organizational issues. All major social and political organizations, including the LCY, were represented in the councils. Although not prescribed in the Constitution, the councils played a major role in federal policy making after 1973.

Data as of December 1990