Serbian Prime Minister. The international spotlight was focused upon Zoran Djindjic in 2000 as he spearheaded popular demonstrations which toppled Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. He was the founder of the Serbian Democratic Party and a high profile critic of the country's communist system with a pro-western stance believing Serbia should align with Europe and the West. After Milosevic ignored an opposition victory in local elections, he organized months of daily protest rallies in Belgrade which led to a reversal by the government allowing him to become the first noncommunist mayor of the city. Opposition parties led by Vojislav Kostunica defeated Milosevic at the polls but he refused to step down. Many huge demonstrations led by Kostunica and Djindjic finally drove Milosevic from power. Elected prime minster in Serbia's first noncommunist government in 2001, he called for the introduction of a market economy and stated that Serbia's future lay in close integration with the west. A rift developed between Djindjic and Kostunica, now the President of Yugoslavia, over the arrest of Milosevic and deportation to the Hague for trial. Alas...the gun is part of Balkan politics, a bullet claimed him. Serbia lost its reformer and its best hope for peace and prosperity. Zoran Djindjic was assassinated in the stairway of the main Serbian government building by a bullet from a rifle with a sniper scope from the window of a nearby building. A single shot penetrated his heart resulting in instant death. His solemn state procession and funeral were attended by hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens as well as foreign delegations. Zoran was born in Bosanski Samac a town on the Sava river in northern Bosnia to Dragomir and Mila Djindjic. His father was a Yugoslavian army officer and his mother sometimes worked as a hostess. His secondary education was interrupted as his father was transferred to Belgrade where he completed his high school education and became a student of philosophy at the University of Belgrade. Here, he was an active opponent of the country's communist system and was jailed for activities trying to organize an independent political movement consisting of students. Moving to Germany, he obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy from the university of Konstanz. Upon returning to Serbia, he took a teaching position at Novi Sad University and together with other Serbs founded the Democratic Party with him as Chairman. He was elected to the Parliament of Serbia while becoming the President of the party. A quick in and out term as mayor of Belgrade followed. Realizing he was on the assassination list of President Milosevic, he left Serbia for a lengthy trip to western countries meeting with various leaders, George Bush, Tony Blair, Jacqes Chirac and others. Time magazine named him one of the most important politicians of his time. Upon his return to Serbia, he was arrested and charged with endangering state security with a closed trial. He ultimately would get both justice and revenge over the Milosevic regime. Djindjic played a prominent role in the presidential elections in September 2000 and the uprising that followed which overthrew Milosevic and then led a broad base of party coalitions to victory in Serbian elections. He became Prime Minister of Serbia. Legacy...He put Serbia back on the road to sanity. His untimely death halted reform in a tragic country where death and corruption was a way of life. Although his dream of coexistence with neighboring nations, close ties with Europe and economic prosperity died with him, his imprint remains in Serbia. His hands on quest for jobs and concern for the economy in 2001 resulted as he headed a delegation that met with Bill Gates, head of Microsoft at his residence in Redmond, Washington. They discussed the modernization and sorry state of Serbian public services. He pleaded with Gates to invest in the country and make it the software representative in the Balkans. In 2005, Microsoft opened a development center for Tablet PC technology in Belgrade.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield