BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- The Parliament of Croatia, Yugoslavia's second-largest republic, Wednesday selected as president and prime minister men who were jailed by communist authorities in the 1970s for fomenting Croatian nationalism.
Croatia follows Slovenia as the second of Yugoslavia's six republics to throw communists out of power. Communist authorities in a third republic, Serbia, have promised to work to meet demands for multi-party elections made by political parties formed over the past few months.
The Croation Parliament, meeting in the western Yugoslav city of Zagreb, elected as president a 68-year-old nationalist and former communist dissident, Franjo Tudjman, who was jailed in the early 1970s for 'hostile propaganda.' Tudgman was the only candidate for the post. His party won 206 seats of the 351 parliamentary seats in April elections.
Tudgman served as a general in former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito's partisans in World War II.
Stepan Mesic, a 55-year-old lawyer and former communist official, was elected as prime minister, with just five votes against him. A nationalist like Tudgman, Mesic was jailed in 1972 for 'hostile propaganda.'
As the majority party in Parliament, the Croatian Democratic Community filled all major posts. Zarko Domljan, a 58-year-old art historian from Zagreb University, was elected parliamentary chairman, with just three votes against him. One member of a Communist reformist party was elected as vice chairman of Parliament.
In separate action, the European Community signaled Wednesday that it wanted to have closer ties with Yugoslavia, improving trade and extending more aid.
In addition, the EC executive agency proposed $1.08 billion in loans to Yugoslavia from the European Investment Bank for five years beginning July 1, almost twice previous levels of aid. About two-thirds of the loans would fund improvements in Yugoslavia's transit system.
Addressing the Parliament, Tudjman said the new government has to work out a new Croatian constitution, and he advocated a sovereign Croatia state as part of a confederation of six Yugoslav republics.
Croatia, with a population of 5 million, is predominantly roman Catholic and culturally Western-oriented. It has traditionally quarreled with Serbia, the largest republic, which is Orthodox in religion and culturally oriented toward the East.