Slain YY official was a moderate

BELGRADE, May 15, 2000 -- (Reuters) A Yugoslav provincial governor murdered over the weekend was a moderate member of President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist party willing to cooperate with political foes, an opposition leader said on Sunday.

"There is no doubt that Bosko Perosevic belonged to the so-called soft wing of the Socialist Party. He was tolerant, educated and ready for cooperation," Zarko Jokanovic, top official of the opposition New Democracy party, told Reuters.

Perosevic, head of the Vojvodina provincial government, was shot in the head by a lone gunman while touring a farm fair in Novi Sad, capital of the northern province, on Saturday.

His death was the latest in a series of high-profile killings in the isolated Balkan country, including Defense Minister Pavle Bulatovic in February and the deputy interior minister in 1997. Both are still unsolved.

"Due to his tolerance, Perosevic was probably not popular with Socialist hard-liners and their coalition partners in the Yugoslav Left," Jokanovic said. The neo-communist Yugoslav Left is run by Milosevic's wife, Mira Markovic.

Jokanovic said Serbian Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic "should finally resign if he didn't do that after all the other killings." Jokanovic was referring to up to 500 mostly unsolved murders of politicians, businessmen and underworld figures over the past decade in Serbia.

On Saturday, the Socialist Party called Perosevic's murder a terrorist act and accused the opposition of responsibility.

"Traitors and gangs of criminals, among them (opposition movement) Otpor and some others, have resorted to terrorism on orders from their foreign and local mentors," a party statement said.

In contrast with most previous murders, Perosevic's killer was arrested on the spot and identified as Milivoje Gutovic, born in 1950. Police did not give further information.

Belgrade media said on Sunday Gutovic had been a member of the Novi Sad fair security for 20 years and his colleagues described him as someone who did not make trouble but did "appear lost from time to time".

Local media quoted neighbors of Gutovic as saying he was considered a volatile man with a neurotic history. Several deaths in his family were reported over the past six months.

Original article