BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Yugoslavia's Parliament became a multi-party legislature for the first time in 45 years Friday when newly chosen opposition deputies from the republic of Croatia took their seats in one of the two houses.
The eight deputies belonged to the Croatian Democratic Community, which in April won the first free and secret elections held in Croatia since World War II, taking 206 of 351 state Assembly seats and ousting the Communist Party from power.
The new Croatian Assembly then selected the eight Croatian Democratic Community deputies to the 88-member Chamber of Republics and Provinces, one of the two houses of the federal Parliament.
Four other deputies were selected from the Croatian Communist Party and leftist groups, which together won 90 seats in the state Assembly.
In Friday's session, the 12 new deputies were formally admitted to the national Parliament.
It is the first time that an opposition bloc has existed in the national legislature since the Communists seized power in 1945.
A week before the Croatian polls, northwestern Slovenia, the most liberal and prosperous of Yugoslavia's six republics, held the country's first multi-party elections since the Communist takeover.
The contests were won by the five-party Slovenian Democratic Front coalition, which is known by the acronym DEMOS. But, it has declined to choose deputies for the Chamber of Republics and Provinces, apparently trusting the incumbents.
The republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro are planning to hold multi-party elections later this year.
The Communist Party of Serbia, the biggest and most populous republic, has yet to permit multi-party elections, and in November held polls in which staunch supporters of the current leadership replaced less loyal lawmakers.
The federal government plans to hold multi-party elections for the national Parliament's 220-seat Federal Chamber in November.