Edvard Kardelj

(b. 1910)

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Tito (1892—1980) Yugoslav Marshal and statesman, Prime Minister 1945–53 and President 1953–80

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(b. Ljubljana, Slovenia, 17 Jan. 1910; d. Ljubljana 10 Feb. 1979)

Slovene; Secretary of the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party and Vice-President of the Yugoslav government 1952–79 Trained as a teacher, at 18 Kardelj became a Communist and in 1930–2 was imprisoned for his activities. In 1934–7 he worked for the Comintern in Moscow, where he met Tito and became his close colleague. He founded the Slovene Communist Party in 1937 and helped Tito rebuild the Yugoslav Communist Party, but always advocated a balance between national and class approaches in party and state structures. In 1940 he was elected to the party's Central Committee and Politbureau, remaining a member till his death. He was Vice-President of the Provisional Government (AVNOJ) in 1943 and of the subsequent Tito-Subasic government, becoming also Foreign Minister when Subasic resigned in 1946. Later he was appointed secretary of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (as it became in 1952) and, after the fall of Djilas in 1954, Vice-Premier and Speaker of the Yugoslav parliament.

Kardelj made an enormous contribution to the theoretical and institutional development of Yugoslav Communism. In the 1940s he helped to create the new Yugoslav legal system and the ‘federal’ state structure of 1946. After the disgrace of Djilas in 1954 he became the main theoretician of the party's new ideology of ‘self-management’. In the 1960s his ideas for federalizing reform were opposed by Serbian centralists, but after the fall of Rankovic in 1966 they found fruition in the constitutional amendments of 1971 and the new constitution of 1974, which gave decisive power to the Republics and Provinces. It also introduced a complicated ‘delegation system’ designed to promote ‘non-party pluralism’ (a sort of one-party corporatism). But this unstable compromise resulted in governmental paralysis after Tito's death in 1980.

Subjects: Politics.

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