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YUGOSLAV COMMUNISTS PUBLISH DRAFT CALLING FOR FREE ELECTIONS

SHARE YUGOSLAV COMMUNISTS PUBLISH DRAFT CALLING FOR FREE ELECTIONS

The Communist Party published a draft declaration Friday that it was ready to give up guaranteed power and compete with other parties in elections next year.

It also called for a new constitution guaranteeing market-oriented economic reform, respect for human rights and an independent judiciary."The Communist Party of Yugoslavia supports freedom of assembly and speech, and all other civil liberties regardless of political convictions of individuals," said the document, written by a committee preparing for a party congress next month.

The party will relinquish its monopoly on power and take part in "free, direct and secret (ballot) elections," the document said, and "we are changing all of this now in order that tomorrow it will not be too late for socialism in Yugoslavia."

Reforms specified in the declaration should be carried out within six months after the congress, it said, as published by the daily Borba.

Some opponents of change fear independent parties would be formed along ethnic lines and further exacerbate tensions in this tenuous federation of six republics and two autonomous republics.

Communist leaders in Serbia, the largest of republic, has resolutely opposed Western-style democracy, but appeared to soften the stance Friday at a regional congress.

Bogdan Trifunovic, Serbian party chief, said in a keynote address that Communists and Serbian authorities "have no reason or wish to administratively impede the establishment" of other political parties.

Croatia, the second-largest republic, the liberal Slovenia in the north already have endorsed democratic reform. Both have scheduled free elections for spring.

Numerous independent political movements and parties have been formed in Croatia and Slovenia during the past year.