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Stipe Suvar, at 68; led Yugoslavia's Communist Party

ZAGREB, Croatia -- Stipe Suvar, a former president of Yugoslavia's Communist Party, died Tuesday, his new party announced. He was 68.

The tiny Socialist Workers Party, founded by Mr. Suvar in 1997, announced the death on its website.

Born in the southern Croat town of Imotski, Mr. Suvar entered the public spotlight in 1974 when he was appointed Croatia's secretary for education and culture. At the time, Croatia was a republic within the Yugoslav federation governed by the Communist Party.

Mr. Suvar advanced quickly and moved to Belgrade, the Yugoslav capital, in 1984. He became a member of the Communist Party Central Committee. He became committee president in 1989.

In 1990, he gained further political power as Croatia's representative in Yugoslavia's eight-member rotating presidency, in which each member held the top chair for one year.

Democratic changes that swept Eastern Europe, however, brought multiparty democratic elections in soon-to-be independent Croatia, and Mr. Suvar was forced later that year to relinquish his seat in Yugoslavia's federal presidency to reformist Stipe Mesic, Croatia's current head of state.

After years in the shadows, Mr. Suvar founded the Socialist Workers Party. Although the party failed to win a following of more than 1 percent nationwide, Mr. Suvar maintained his popularity through a series of books and publications.

His latest political book, ''Croatian Carousel," was a best seller in Croatia. A second edition was released last week.

Mr. Suvar remained a committed socialist who was skeptical of globalization and the European Union.

''The European Union is one large melting pot. The best Croats will leave Croatia for other countries, while elderly English, French and Germans will take over the Adriatic coast," he told the weekly Nacional for a story published last Wednesday.

''As a leftist, I am concerned about the destiny of the Croatian man, and I don't want to see him relegated to the level of a brute working force with no decision-making power over his own fate.

''If history has not swallowed us until now, then it will in the European Union," he said.

Mr. Suvar told the paper he believed socialism would prevail in the end.

''In 30 to 40 years, today's antiglobalists will gather steam and bring about the collapse of classical capitalism and the current economic system," he was quoted as saying.

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