Ante Marković

Ante Marković
31st Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
In office
16 March 1989  20 December 1991
President Raif Dizdarević
Janez Drnovšek
Borisav Jović
Sejdo Bajramović (Acting)
Stipe Mesić
Branko Kostić (Acting)
(Office subsequently dissolved)
Deputy Aleksandar Mitrović
Živko Pregl
Preceded by Branko Mikulić
Succeeded by Aleksandar Mitrović (Acting)
(Office subsequently dissolved)
15th President of the Presidency of Croatia
In office
10 May 1986  May 1988
Prime Minister Antun Milović
Preceded by Ema Derosi-Bjelajac
Succeeded by Ivo Latin
10th Prime Minister of Croatia
In office
July 1980  20 November 1985
President Jakov Blažević
Marijan Cvetković
Milutin Baltić
Jakša Petrić
Pero Car
Preceded by Petar Fleković
Succeeded by Ema Derosi-Bjelajac
Personal details
Born (1924-11-25)25 November 1924
Konjic, Kingdom of Yugoslavia (present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Died 28 November 2011(2011-11-28) (aged 87)
Zagreb, Croatia
Nationality Croat
Political party League of Communists of Yugoslavia (SKJ),
Union of Reform Forces (SRSJ)
Alma mater University of Zagreb

Ante Marković (pronounced [ǎːnte mǎːrkoʋit͡ɕ]; 25 November 1924 – 28 November 2011)[1][2] was the last prime minister of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Early life

Marković, who was a Bosnian Croat, was born in Konjic, then a part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, presently in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He graduated from the Electrotechnical Department of the Technical Faculty of the University of Zagreb in 1954.[3]

Political career

President of Croatia

In 1986 he became president of the Presidency of Socialist Republic of Croatia (thus becoming 7th Croatian president) replacing Ema Derosi-Bjelajac. He held that position until 1988, when he was replaced by Ivo Latin.

Prime Minister of Yugoslavia

He became prime minister in March 1989 following the resignation of Branko Mikulić. After that decision had become public, the U.S. had anticipated cooperation because Marković was known "to favor market-oriented reforms" [4] - the BBC declared that he is "Washington's best ally in Yugoslavia".[5] At the end of the year, Marković launched a new and ambitious program of unprecedented economic reforms, including stabilization of currency and privatization, as well as a program of limited trade liberalization. The result of his monetary reform was a halt to inflation, leading to a rise in Yugoslavia's standard of living. Nonetheless, the short-term effect of economic reforms undertaken by Marković led to a decline in Yugoslavia's industrial sector. Numerous bankruptcies occurred as the state-owned enterprises struggled to compete in a more free market environment, a fact later wielded against Marković by his many opponents. By 1990, the annual rate of growth in GDP had declined to -7.5%. In 1991, GDP declined by a further 15 percent and industrial output decreased by 21 percent.

Marković owed his popularity to his image of a new, modern Western-styled politician. He had become popular among those who wanted Yugoslavia to be transformed into a modern, democratic federation. Marković also maintained popularity by staying out of increasingly virulent quarrels within the leadership of Communist League of Yugoslavia or trying to act as mediator between various republics.

When the LCY broke up in January 1990, Marković had only his popularity and the apparent success of his programme on his side. In July 1990, he formed the Union of Reform Forces (Savez reformskih snaga), a political party supporting a reformed Yugoslavian federation.

This decision was not well received. Borisav Jović, then the President of Yugoslavia, commented

The general conclusion is that Ante Markovic is no longer acceptable or reliable to us. No one has any doubts in their mind any longer that he's the extended arm of the United States in terms of overthrowing anyone who ever thinks of socialism, and it is through our votes that we appointed him Prime Minister in the Assembly. He is playing the most dangerous game of treason.[6]

Jović's conclusion on Marković's role

He was no doubt the most active creator of the destruction of our economy, and to a large extent a significant participant in the break-up of Yugoslavia. Others, when boasted of having broken up Yugoslavia wanted to take this infamous role upon themselves but in all these respects they never came close to what Marković did, who had declared himself as the protagonist of Yugoslavia's survival[6]

Later, his programme was sabotaged by Slobodan Milošević who

had virtually sealed Markovic's failure by December 1990 by secretly securing an illegal loan worth $1.7 billion from Serbia's main bank in order to ease his reelection that month. The loan undermined Markovic's economic austerity program, undoing the progress that had been made toward controlling the country's inflation rate.[7]

Or, as Christopher Bennet tells it in Yugoslavia's Bloody Collapse:[8]

Quite simply, the bank printed whatever money Milošević felt he needed to get himself reelected and the size of the 'loan' became clear a few weeks later when inflation took off again throughout the country. As the economy resumed its downward slide, Marković knew his enterprise had failed [...]

The authority of the federal government was further diminished by secessionist moves in Slovenia and Croatia. In the last months of his tenure Marković tried to find compromise between secessionists and those demanding that Yugoslavia remain a single entity. His efforts, although favoured by new democratic governments in Bosnia and Macedonia, ultimately failed, because the army which should have served the interests of top level governance - sided with Milošević. Frustrated and politically impotent, Marković told his cabinet in September 1991 what he had gleaned from a wiretap that had come into his possession:[9]

The line has been clearly established [between the Serbian government, the army and Serb politicians in Bosnia]. I know because I heard Milošević give the order to Karadžić to get in contact with General Uzelac and to order, following the decisions of the meeting of the military hierarchy, that arms should be distributed and that the TO of Krajina and Bosnia be armed and utilised in the realisation of the RAM plan.[10]

Marković remained in office even after the start of the war, only to resign in December 1991, isolated and without any authority.

Life after 1991

Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, Marković disappeared from the public eye. In 1993 he was rumoured to be Tuđman's choice for Croatian prime minister, apparently due to his economic expertise. The post ultimately fell to Nikica Valentić, who used some of Marković's recipes to halt inflation.[11]

Marković instead dedicated himself to a business career. In the early 2000s he worked as an economic advisor to the Macedonian government.

He appeared as a witness at the Slobodan Milošević trial at the ICTY in 2003. This appearance broke his 12 years of silence; after that testimony, he gave an interview to the Zagreb-based Globus news magazine. In his testimony he stated that Milošević was obviously striving to create a Greater Serbia. He also revealed that both Milošević and Tuđman confirmed to him that in March 1991 in Karađorđevo they made an agreement to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina between themselves.[12]

Marković died in the early hours of 28 November 2011, after a short illness.


  1. "Ante Markovic obituary". The Guardian. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  2. "Umro Ante Marković" (in Croatian). Croatian Radiotelevision. 2011-11-28. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
  3. Kristijan Zimmer (2004). "Dodijeljene Zlatne diplome i priznanja "Josip Lončar"" (in Croatian).
  4. Facts on File, January 27, 1989
  5. Misha Glenny, "The Massacre of Yugoslavia," New York Review of Books, January 30, 1992
  6. 1 2 "Testimony of Borisav Jović". Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milošević. ICTY. 2003-11-20. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  7. Rogel, Carole (1998). The Breakup of Yugoslavia and the War in Bosnia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-313-29918-6.
  8. Bennet, Christopher (1995). Yugoslavia's Bloody Collapse. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-85065-232-8.
  9. Judah, Tim (1997). The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
  10. Magazine Vreme, No. 48, 23 September 1991
  11. "Odlazak Markovića: Bio uvjeren da će dogovorima sačuvati SFRJ". Večernji list (in Croatian). 28 November 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  12. Croatian News Agency (2003). "Report on Marković's testimony on ICTY".
Political offices
Preceded by
Branko Mikulić
Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
16 March 1989 – 20 December 1991
Succeeded by
Aleksandar Mitrović
Preceded by
Antun Milović
President of the Presidency of Croatia
10 May 1986 – May 1988
Succeeded by
Ema Derosi-Bjelajac
Preceded by
Petar Fleković
Prime Minister of Croatia
July 1980 – 20 November 1985
Succeeded by
Ema Derosi-Bjelajac
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