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Yugoslavia Table of Contents



Vojvodina, the second province of the Serbian Republic, occupied a much more favorable economic and geographic position than Kosovo, but its political status was equally ambiguous in the 1980s. This was emphasized in 1981, when ethnic Hungarians demonstrated in support of the Kosovan nationalists. In 1987 the president of Vojvodina rejected categorically Serbia's proposal that provincial autonomy be repealed. In late 1988 mass proSerbian demonstrations orchestrated by Milosevic in Vojvodina forced resignation of the Vojvodina provincial party presidium, which was replaced by a pro-Serbian group. This move ensured support for the recentralization amendments to the Serbian constitution in 1989. In the Serbian presidential election of 1989, Milosevic received a strong majority in Vojvodina, but not in Kosovo. Vojvodinian political leaders of the new regime firmly supported amendment of the Serbian constitution and other proSerbian positions. The region had a history of relative stability in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the border with neighboring Hungary was tranquil. The ethnic Hungarian population was much smaller (16 percent in 1991, down from 19 percent in 1981) than the Albanian population of Kosovo; the nationality key, which required balanced representation in party and state for the major ethnic groups in Yugoslavia, did not apply to the ethnic Hungarians in Vojvodina, but the province's relative prosperity precluded major political unrest. In 1990 Hungarian activists formed the Democratic Community of Vojrodina Hungarians (DCVH) to advance cultural autonomy and eveutual self-rule for the Hungarian Minority. Strongly backing a united Yugoslavia, the DCVH advocated equal status for the Hungarian language and publications in Vojvodina and restoration of autonomy for the province rather than independence from Serbia.

Data as of December 1990