|President of the Federal Executive Council|
16 March 1989 - 20 December 1991
|Vice-President of the Presidency of the Socialist Republic of Croatia|
10 May 1988 - 16 March 1989
|President of the Presidency of the Socialist Republic of Croatia|
10 May 1986 - 10 May 1988
|President of the Executive Council of the Socialist Republic of Croatia|
10 May 1982 - 10 May 1986
|Born||25 November 1924|
Konjic, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
|Died||28 November 2011 (aged 87)|
|Alma mater||University of Zagreb|
Ante Markovi? (pronounced [?:nte m?:rko?it]; 25 November 1924 - 28 November 2011) was a Croatian politician, businessman, engineer active in SFR Yugoslavia. Markovi? is most notable for having served as the last prime minister of Yugoslavia as a one-party socialist state.
Markovi?, was a Bosnian Croat, born in Konjic, then a part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, presently in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1943 he joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and fought with the Yugoslav Partisans in World War II. He received a degree in electrical engineering from the Electrotechnical Department of the Technical Faculty of the University of Zagreb in 1954. He remained in Zagreb, where he was a director of Rade Kon?ar Industrial Works from 1961 to 1984.
He became prime minister in March 1989 following the resignation of Branko Mikuli?. After that decision had become public, the U.S. had anticipated cooperation because Markovi? was known "to favor market-oriented reforms" - the BBC declared that he is "Washington's best ally in Yugoslavia". At the end of the year, Markovi? launched a new and ambitious program of unprecedented economic reforms, including the establishment of a fixed exchange rate, the privatization of failing state enterprises, as well as a program of trade liberalization. The result of his economic reforms was a halt to inflation, leading to a rise in Yugoslavia's standard of living. Nonetheless, the short-term effect of economic reforms undertaken by Markovi? led to a decline in Yugoslavia's industrial sector. Numerous bankruptcies occurred as state-owned enterprises struggled to compete in a more free market environment, a fact later wielded against Markovi? by many of his opponents. By 1990, the annual rate of growth in GDP had declined to -7.5%.
Markovi? was the most popular politician in Yugoslavia and owed his popularity to his image of a modern Western-styled politician. He had become a leading political figure for those who wanted Yugoslavia to be transformed into a modern, democratic federation. Markovi? also maintained popularity by staying out of increasingly virulent quarrels within the leadership of League of Communists of Yugoslavia or trying to act as mediator between various republics.
When the League of Communists of Yugoslavia broke up in January 1990, Markovi? had only his popularity and the apparent success of his economic program on his side. In July 1990, he formed the Union of Reform Forces of Yugoslavia (Savez reformskih snaga), a political party supporting a more centralized Yugoslav Federation, and accession to the European Community.
The general conclusion is that Ante Markovic is no longer acceptable or reliable to us. No one has any doubts in their mind any longer that he's the extended arm of the United States in terms of overthrowing anyone who ever thinks of socialism, and it is through our votes that we appointed him Prime Minister in the Assembly. He is playing the most dangerous game of treason.
Jovi?'s concluded that Markovi?
was no doubt the most active creator of the destruction of our economy, and to a large extent a significant participant in the break-up of Yugoslavia. Others, when boasted of having broken up Yugoslavia wanted to take this infamous role upon themselves but in all these respects they never came close to what Markovi? did, who had declared himself as the protagonist of Yugoslavia's survival
Later, his programme was sabotaged by Slobodan Milo?evi? who
had virtually sealed Markovic's failure by December 1990 by secretly securing an illegal loan worth $1.7 billion from Serbia's main bank to ease his reelection that month. The loan undermined Markovic's economic austerity program, undoing the progress that had been made toward controlling the country's inflation rate.
Christopher Bennet tells it in Yugoslavia's Bloody Collapse, stated:
Quite simply, the bank printed whatever money Milo?evi? felt he needed to get himself reelected and the size of the 'loan' became clear a few weeks later when inflation took off again throughout the country. As the economy resumed its downward slide, Markovi? knew his enterprise had failed [...]
The authority of the federal government was further diminished by secessionist moves in Slovenia and Croatia. In the last months of his tenure Markovi? tried to find a compromise between secessionists and those demanding that Yugoslavia remain a single entity. His efforts, although favored by the governments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, ultimately failed, because the Yugoslav People's Army, which should have served the interests of top-level governance, sided with Milo?evi?. Frustrated and politically impotent, Markovi? told his cabinet in September 1991 what he had gleaned from a wiretap that had come into his possession, which detailed a plan to partition Bosnia and Herzegovina:
The line has been clearly established [between the Serbian government, the army and Serb politicians in Bosnia]. I know because I heard Slobodan Milo?evi? give the order to Radovan Karad?i? to get in contact with General Uzelac and to order, following the decisions of the meeting of the military hierarchy, that arms should be distributed and that the TO of Krajina and Bosnia be armed and utilized in the realization of the RAM plan.
Before he resigned in December 1991, Markovic endorsed the Carrington Plan to transform Yugoslavia into a loose confederation of states as a means to prevent a further escalation of the Yugoslav Wars. In the end, all his efforts failed to stop the violent disintegration of Yugoslavia.
Approximately at noon of 7 October 1991, Markovi? met with Stjepan Mesi?, then President of the Presidency of Yugoslavia and Franjo Tu?man, then President of Croatia in the Banski dvori. The purpose of the meeting was to persuade Markovi? to leave his position as the head of the Yugoslav federal government and endorse Croatian independence. The three then moved into the president's office for desert. Shortly after, the Yugoslav People's Army attempted to assassinate Markovic along with the democratically elected leadership of Croatia with a decapitation strike on Banski dvori. Markovi? immediately blamed Yugoslav defense minister Veljko Kadijevi?, and refused to return to Belgrade until Kadijevi? resigned from his post.
Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, Markovi? disappeared from the public eye and decided to work in Austria as an economic adviser. In 1993 he was rumoured to be Tu?man's choice for Croatian prime minister, apparently due to his economic expertise. The post ultimately fell to Nikica Valenti?, who established many of the same economic reforms that Markovi? did while prime minister.
He appeared as a witness at the Slobodan Milo?evi? trial at the ICTY in 2003. This appearance broke his 12 years of silence; after that testimony, he gave an interview to the Zagreb-based Globus news magazine. In his testimony, he stated that Milo?evi? was obviously striving to carve a Greater Serbia out of the ruins of Yugoslavia. He also revealed that both Milo?evi? and Tu?man confirmed to him that in March 1991 in Kara?or?evo they made an agreement to partition Bosnia and Herzegovina. Milo?evi? responded by blaming Markovi? for the intervention of the Yugoslav Army in Slovenia. Markovi? denied ordering intervention in Slovenia, stating that it was outside his mandate as prime minister of Yugoslavia.
Markovi? died in the early hours of 28 November 2011 after a short illness, aged 87. Ante Markovi? was buried in Dubrovnik. His funeral was attended by former Croatian president Stjepan Mesi?, president of the Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik, filmmaker Emir Kusturica among many others. The Croatian Sabor (parliament) also sent their condolences to the family of Ante Markovi?.
| Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
16 March 1989 - 20 December 1991
| President of the Presidency of Croatia
10 May 1986 - 10 May 1988
| Prime Minister of Croatia
10 May 1982 - 10 May 1986