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694
SERVIA


regency was Jovan Ristich, who had already been regent during the minority of King Milan (1868-1871). Although he had been since 1868 the leader of the Liberal party, he showed himself, as regent, extremely Conservative. The new constitution was the embodiment of Radical principles, and the numerically strongest party in the country was Radical. The national assembly was composed, therefore, almost exclusively of Radicals, and the government was Radical likewise. From the very beginning the Conservative regency and the Radical government distrusted each other. The government was not strong enough to resist the clamour of their numerous partisans for participation in the spoils of party warfare. Political passions, which had been stirred up by the long struggle against King Milan's Progressive régime, could not be allayed so quickly; and as the anarchical element of the Radical party obtained the ascendancy overthe more cultured and more moderate members, all sorts. of political excesses were committed. The old system of borrowing money to cover the yearly deficits were continued, and the expenditure went on increasing from year to year. The administration lost all authority, the police were paralysed and brigandage became rife. The Radical government thought to strengthen their position by letting the national assembly vote a law prohibiting the return of the king's father to Servia, and forcibly expelling the king's mother, Queen Natalie. But such laws and such acts only embittered political passions and greatly encouraged the adherents of Prince Peter Karageorgevich, who, having married the eldest daughter of Prince Nicholas of Montenegro and living at Cettigne, was supposed to enjoy the support of Russia. ~ The political situation .became still more confused when on the death of the third regent, General Kosta. Protich, the government tried to force the regency to accept in his stead M Pashich, the .leader of the Radical party. The regents thereupon dismissed the cabinet and called the Liberals to the government 1892). The Liberal cabinet dissolved the Radical Radical

(August

national assembly, and at the general elections used very great pressure

succeed,

to secure a Liberal majority. In this they did not and the situation became hopelessly entangled by the fact that the national assembly was Radical, the government Liberal, and the regency practically in all its tendencies' Conservative. The legislative machinery as well as the administration of the country was thus completely paralysed. Then the young king Alexander suddenly ~ proclaimed himself. of age (although at that time only in his seventeenth year), dismissed the regents and the Liberal cabinet, and formed his first cabinet from among the moderate Radicals (13th April 1893). The Kingir Administration.-The moderate Radicals quickly showed themselves unable to do any serious work. They were fettered by the dissatisfaction of the Left wing of their own party. »To satisfy the extreme Radicals they had to impeach the members of the last cabinet. This increased the bitterness of the Liberals, who, though not so numerous as the Radicals, included in their ranks more men of wealth and culture. Political passions were again in full blaze. The anti-dynastic party raised its head again, and-in many Radical publications the expulsion of the reigning dynasty and its replacement by the Karageorgevich were advocated. At the same time reports were reaching King Alexander that Russia was discussing with the leaders of the extreme Radicals the conditions under which a Russian grand-duke was to be proclaimed king of Servia. The ex-King M ilan's Return.-In such circumstances King Alexander thought best to invite his father the ex-King Milan (who was living in Paris) to his side, and to use his great knowledge of men and his political experience. In the beginning of ]anuary 1894 King Milan arrived in Belgrade. The Radical cabinet resigned and was replaced by a cabinet composed of politicians standing outside the political parties. In June the Radical constitution of 1889 was suspended, and in its place the constitution of 1869 was re-established. A

The nation was evidently tired of the violent agitations of recent years. This feeling gave rise to Conservative, even somewhat reactionary, legislation. The duration of the legislature was extended from three to five years; the liberty of the press was curtailed by the enactment that proprietors of political papers must pay to the government a deposit. of 5000 dinars (£200), and that the editors must have completed their studies at a university; the laws on less-majesté were made more severe. After the advent to power of Dr Vladan Georgevich (October 1897) persistent and successful efforts were made to improve the country's financial and economic condition. The violent party strife which from 1880 to 1895 had absorbed the best energies of the country and paralysed every serious and productive work, ceased almost completely, and the nation as a. whole turned to improve its agriculture and commerce. The sustained improvement in the political and commercial situation was not influenced materially by the temporary excitement in consequence of the attempt on the life of King Milan (6th July 1899), and of the state trial of several prominent Radicals accused of having conspired for the overthrow of the dynasty. One remarkable feature in the foreign policy of Servia in the last years of the 19th century was that after King Milan was appointed commander-in-chief of the Servian regular army (1898), Russia and Montenegro -practically, -although not formally, broke off their diplomatic relations with Servia, while at the same time the relations of that country with Austria-Hungary became more friendly than under the Radical régime. King Alexanderlv M arriage.-All this was suddenly changed when in July 1900 King Alexander married Mme»Draga Mashin, once lady-in-waiting to his mother Queen Natalie. Hethrew himself into the arms of Russia, forbade his father Milan to reside in Servia, and followed Russian guidance in all questions of foreign policy. To strengthen his position in the country he promulgated a new constitution in April 1901, 'establishing for the first time in the history of Servia a parliament with two houses (skupshtina and senate). But the unpopularity of the king's marriage wasnot lessened. Constitutional liberties and especially the free press were mercilessly used to attack both the king and the queen, who neither wished nor were able to conceal their dissatisfaction. Aj general feeling that King Alexander contemplated changing the situation by one of his bold and clever coups d'état increased the political unrest. Matters went from bad to worse when persistent rumours were set in motion that Queen Draga had succeeded in persuading King Alexander to proclaim one of her two brothers heir-apparent to the throne. In 1902 a widespread military conspiracy was rumoured to exist, while Austria and Russia repeatedly gave proofs that they were indifferent to the fate of Alexander, and so encouraged the malcontents. King Alexander felt that he could eventually fortify his position either by a great foreign policy or by his divorce from the childless Queen Draga. He seems to have been working for joint action with Bulgaria for the liberation of Macedonia from Turkish rule. Some of his intimate friends asserted that he contemplated divorcing the queen, and that he was only waiting for her departure for an Austrian watering-place, which departure was fixed for the 1 5th of June 1903. In the first hours of the 11th of June the conspirators surrounded the palace with troops, forced an entrance and assassinated both King Alexander and Queen Draga in a most cruel and savage manner. ' (C. Mr.)

King Peter Karageorgevich.-The regicides proclaimed Prince Peter Karageorgevich king of Servia; and a provisional cabinet was formed, with Colonel Mashin, brother-in-law of the murdered Queen Draga and organizer of the conspiracy, as minister of public works. The skupshtina and senate assembled, restored the constitution of 1889 instead of the reactionary constitution promulgated by King Alexander on the 19th of April 1901, and ratified the election of Prince Peter, who entered 'Belgrade as king on the 24th of June 1903. Born in 1844, he was the son of Alexander Karageorgevich and grandson of Karageorge; in -1883 he had married Princess Zorka, daughter of Prince (afterwards king) Nicholas of Montenegro. His authority was at first merely nominal; the highest administrative- offices were occupied by the regicides, who received the unanimous thanks of the skupshtina for the assassination of King Alexander and

Queen Draga. Russia, Austria-Hungary and Montenegro were