Presidency of Yugoslavia

The Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbian: Predsedništvo SFRJ, Председништво СФРЈ; Croatian: Predsjedništvo SFRJ; Slovene: Predsedstvo SFRJ; Macedonian: Председателство на СФРЈ), also known as the Presidium, was the collective head of state of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was established in 1971 according to amendments to the 1963 Constitution and reorganized by the 1974 Constitution. Up to 1974, the Presidency had 23 members – three from each republic, two from each autonomous province and President Josip Broz Tito.[1] In 1974 the Presidency was reduced to 9 members – one from each republic and autonomous province and, until 1988, President of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia ex officio.

Presidency of Yugoslavia
Serbian: Председништво СФРЈ
Croatian: Predsjedništvo SFRJ
Slovene: Predsedstvo SFRJ
Macedonian: Претседателство на СФРЈ
Standard of a Member of the Presidency of SFR Yugoslavia.svg
Standard of a Member of the Presidency of Yugoslavia
Josip Broz Tito uniform portrait.jpg
Best known officeholder
Josip Broz Tito
30 June 1971 – 4 May 1980
Term lengthNo fixed length
Formation30 June 1971
First holderJosip Broz Tito
Final holderBranko Kostić
Abolished15 June 1992

Constitutional powersEdit

According to the 1974 Constitution, the Presidency had following powers:[2]

The Presidency had eight members elected by parliaments of each republic and autonomous province and proclaimed by the Federal Assembly of the SFRY, the ninth member was president of the Presidium of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. This ex officio membership of the LCY leader was abolished by the constitutional changes in autumn 1988.[3] The mandate of the Presidency lasted five years so the nine-member Presidency was elected in total four times - in 1974, 1979, 1984 and 1989.

Until 1980 most of powers of the Presidency (and control over the country in general) were in fact exercised by Josip Broz Tito, who was president of the republic for life. After his death in May 1980, his office stayed vacant and the Presidency began to function according to the constitution.

Sometimes, the Presidency held its sessions in an extended composition. Besides the members of the actual Presidency, in such sessions took part following officials: chairman of the Federal Assembly, chairman and vice-chairman of the Federal Executive Council (the government), federal secretaries (ministers) of defense, interior and foreign affairs, chairman of the Federal Conference of the Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia and chairmen of the Presidencies of the Yugoslav republics and autonomous provinces.[4] The extended Presidency wasn't grounded in the Constitution and couldn't itself adopt any decisions.

Post-Tito periodEdit

Tito, as a president of the republic, was ex officio chairman of the Presidency. After his death a new chairman of the Presidency was elected every year. The order of rotating of the members on the leading position was agreed in advance, so this annual election was a pure formality. The rotating system jammed only in May 1991 - Stipe Mesić, representative of Franjo Tuđman's new Croatian government in the Presidency, was about to become the chairman but wasn't elected due to opposition of a half of the Presidency controlled by Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević. The top state office of the disintegrating federation remained vacant until 1 July when Mesić was finally elected.[5][6]

Only one year after Tito's death, Yugoslav leaders had to face violent riots in Kosovo. On 2 April 1981 the Presidency under chairmanship of Cvijetin Mijatović declared a state of emergency in Priština and Kosovska Mitrovica, which lasted one week.[7][8] The Presidency declared the state of emergency again, that time on the whole territory of Kosovo, on 27 February 1989 under chairmanship of Raif Dizdarević, when even more serious disorders in Kosovo broke out.[8][9] For the third time in post-Tito Yugoslavia, the state of emergency in Kosovo was imposed by the Presidency in February 1990.[10]

The composition of the last Presidency elected in May 1989 reflected both approach of political pluralism in some parts of the federation and the beginning of agony in Yugoslavia:

In summer 1991 Mesić and Drnovšek, regarding their republics independent, ceased to attend sessions of the Presidency. They were followed by Bogićević and Vasil Tupurkovski from Macedonia, so that the Presidency de facto ceased to exist, although the members from Serbia, her provinces (Kosovo and Vojvodina) and Montenegro continued to hold sessions until 1992.[6]

Personal composition (1971–1992)Edit

Presidency 1971–1974
Name Term of chairmanship Representing
Josip Broz Tito 30 June 1971 – 15 May 1974 President of the Republic, President of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia
Vidoje Žarković
Veljko Mićunović
Dobroslav Ćulafić
SR Montenegro
Ilija Rajačić
Replaced by Sreten Kovačević
Maćaš Keleman
Replaced by Mrs. Ida Szabo
SAP Vojvodina
Ilaz Kurteshi
Velli Deva
SAP Kosovo
Nikola Minčev
Krste Crvenkovski
Kiro Gligorov
Replaced by Lazar Koliševski
SR Macedonia
Hamdija Pozderac
Rato Dugonjić
Augustin Papić
SR Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sergej Kraigher
Marko Bulc
Mitja Ribičič
SR Slovenia
Dragoslav Marković
Dobrivoje Vidić
Koča Popović
Replaced by Dragi Stamenković
SR Serbia
Jakov Blažević
Đuro Kladarin
Miko Tripalo
Replaced by Milan Mišković
SR Croatia
Presidency 1974–1979
Josip Broz Tito 15 May 1974 – 15 May 1979 President of the Republic, President of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia
Vidoje Žarković SR Montenegro
Stevan Doronjski SAP Vojvodina
Fadil Hoxha SAP Kosovo
Lazar Koliševski SR Macedonia
Cvijetin Mijatović SR Bosnia and Herzegovina
Edvard Kardelj1
1979 Sergej Kraigher
SR Slovenia
Petar Stambolić SR Serbia
Vladimir Bakarić SR Croatia
Presidency 1979–1984
Josip Broz Tito1 15 May 1979 – 4 May 1980 President of the Republic, President of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia
Vidoje Žarković SR Montenegro
Stevan Doronjski1
1981 Radovan Vlajković
SAP Vojvodina
Fadil Hoxha SAP Kosovo
Lazar Koliševski 4 May 1980 – 15 May 1980 SR Macedonia
Cvijetin Mijatović 15 May 1980 – 15 May 1981 SR Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sergej Kraigher 15 May 1981 – 15 May 1982 SR Slovenia
Petar Stambolić 15 May 1982 – 15 May 1983 SR Serbia
Vladimir Bakarić1
1983 Mika Špiljak

15 May 1983 – 15 May 1984
SR Croatia
1980 Stevan Doronjski
1980 Lazar Mojsov
1981 Dušan Dragosavac
1982 Mitja Ribičič
1983 Dragoslav Marković
League of Communists of Yugoslavia
Presidency 1984–1989
Veselin Đuranović 15 May 1984 – 15 May 1985 SR Montenegro
Radovan Vlajković 15 May 1985 – 15 May 1986 SAP Vojvodina
Sinan Hasani 15 May 1986 – 15 May 1987 SAP Kosovo
Lazar Mojsov 15 May 1987 – 15 May 1988 SR Macedonia
Branko Mikulić2
1986 Hamdija Pozderac3
1987 Raif Dizdarević

15 May 1988 – 15 May 1989
SR Bosnia and Herzegovina
Stane Dolanc SR Slovenia
Nikola Ljubičić SR Serbia
Josip Vrhovec SR Croatia
1984 Ali Shukri
1985 Vidoje Žarković
1986 Milanko Renovica
1987 Boško Krunić
1988 Stipe Šuvar
(until November 1988)
League of Communists of Yugoslavia
Presidency 1989–1992
Dragutin Zelenović5
1990 Jugoslav Kostić
SAP Vojvodina
Riza Sapunxhiu6
1991 Sejdo Bajramović
SAP Kosovo
Vasil Tupurkovski SR Macedonia / Republic of Macedonia
Bogić Bogićević SR Bosnia and Herzegovina
Janez Drnovšek 15 May 1989 – 15 May 1990 SR Slovenia / Republic of Slovenia
Borisav Jović 15 May 1990 – 15 May 1991 SR Serbia
Stipe Šuvar4
1990 Stipe Mesić

1 July 1991 – 3 October 1991
SR Croatia / Republic of Croatia
Nenad Bućin7
1991 Branko Kostić

6 December 1991 – 15 June 1992
SR Montenegro


  1. Died while holding the office
  2. Resigned when he became Chairman of the Federal Executive Council
  3. Resigned due to accusation of participation in the Agrokomerc scandal
  4. Recalled by the Croatian Parliament
  5. Recalled by the Serbian Parliament
  6. Recalled by the Serbian Parliament
  7. Recalled by the Montenegrin Parliament


See alsoEdit