Skip to main content
May 4, 1992
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 32
Serbia in a Cracked Mirror

Agreement or Competition

by Milan Milosevic

Following the express adoption of the Constitution and the proclamation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia it was announced that the elections for the Federal Council of the Yugoslav Parliament will be held on 31 May. The President of the Serbian Parliament announced local elections in Serbia and provincial elections in Vojvodina.

It was declared that the elections for the provincial parliament of Kosovo will be organized later when the Serbian Parliament provides a statutory decision on this. A few hours earlier the Serbian parliament produced the statutes for a number of Kosovo districts so that local elections could be held. The local elections that were deferred due to the war have now been given a date despite the continuance of the war, for reasons of foreign policy, with the explanation that those who have been mobilized return to their homes, and that "the success of the peace conferences on Yugoslavia and B&H is believed in".

The Serbian opposition, indisposed by the governing party's monopoly over the media and the fact that the law on the financing of political parties still has not been passed, has once again been assigned the role of sparring partner in a hurriedly set match of short duration.

It is not clear whether the position of the opposition is worse in the federal elections or in the local ones. The Democrat, Rade Stojanovic, says that the constitution of the new state guarantees the continuation of the present government even should the opposition win in the elections - it would win in the Federal Council but the present parliament would delegate its representatives to the Council of the Republic.

The elections for the Council of the Republic, proposed by the Serbian government, foresee a council with the same party structure as the existing republican Parliament. In the elections for the Federal Council in Serbia half of the MPs will be chosen on a majority vote, and the other half of the basis of voting from the list of political parties. This means that 54 MPs will be elected by majority vote and 54 from the party lists. If the results of the elections in December 1990 are repeated, 67 of the 108 MPs from Serbia in the Federal Council will come from the Socialist Party. By using a proportional principle it would be allowed 25 (of a total of 54) MPs, and by using the majority vote quite a few more: 42 (of the other 54), which shows the advantages which the majority system brings to the governing party. On the basis of this kind of election, of a total of 20 MPs, the Socialist Party will have 15 in the Council of the Republic.

The opposition regards as its disadvantage the fact that the district voting lists were only proposed after the commencement of the election campaign.

In what could be called the Belgrade opposition public the mystical hope is being nurtured in Serbia that "something" must happen, a social rebellion, putsch, anything. Pressure for the forming of an opposition front is current once again, and the confused public expects some kind of impulse.

It looks as if the opposition thought it would compromise Milosevic if it refused to take part in the elections which he has hurried on, or reckons he will have to fulfill some of its conditions. Vuk Draskovic announced at a press conference that SPO (the Serbian Renewal Movement) would not participate in the elections in the new federal state, and that it has five conditions for local elections: the passing of the law on the financing of political parties, liberation of the media, disarmament of all paramilitary formations, private armies and bandit groups, a law on amnesty for military deserters and a three-month campaign period. Draskovic says the members of his party are refraining from putting forward candidates for the coming elections because they fear they will be mistreated by armed formations.

Vojvodina Reformist MP, Petar Petrovic, says that his party's decision on whether or not to participate will rest on international recognition of the new state, and places the same five conditions as the rest of the opposition on its participation in the local elections.

Pal Sandor, DZVM MP, refers to the decision of his party to act in the same way as the Serbian opposition. The leader of the DZVM, Andras Agoston, who began discussions with Milosevic, supported at one point participation in the elections, but nonetheless said that the decision also depended on agreement with the opposition parties.

The Democratic Party announced that it would decide this coming Sunday, but the bitterness with which the president of this party spoke of the hurried holding of elections in a hurriedly created state indicate that it will decide to boycott the elections.

Participation in the elections has only been confirmed by right wing allies such as the Serbian Radical Party and the Serbian National Renewal.

Milosevic will try to continue his rule as if everything was in order. It is a question, though, what the portion of the democratic public which is being suffocated in the unbearable ease of defeat, will do.

Vuk Draskovic made public in the past week the idea of forming an Alliance of Democratic Renewal. He says the idea came from a group of academics. Its skeleton would be made up of the SPO, Democrats and Liberals, and the coalition would be open to collective members. The idea of a shadow government which has been mentioned a number of times in the last year and a half, was strongly supported by Vesna Pesic, the president of the Reformist Party, in March, but the Reformists are not mentioned now. According to the initial outlines launched by Draskovic, the administration would also be made up of some members of the Royal Council, academics, lawyers and businessmen.

Micunovic, in his interview to VREME, announced the formation of a broad association of civil and political initiatives. Two months ago the Democrats entered a strong alliance with the Vojvodina Reformists and New Democracy. In the last few days they made known that their club had been approached by the reformist Petar Petrovic and Professor Momcilo Grubac. It has been mentioned that this has also been done by a couple of Socialist MPs, but their names are not known.

On April 5th the Democrats held talks with a group of academics and writers where the gathering together of opposition parties, associations and prominent individuals with the aim of collective efforts against the government, was discussed. At the meeting of the this party's governing council, held on 11 April in Kragujevac, the idea of the necessity of bringing together intellectuals, representatives of professional associations, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Art, and the Serbian Orthodox church, was put forward.

On April 21 the leaders of this party presented the idea of a parallel parliament and government.

The concept of including non-party individuals and members of the Royal Council in this parallel parliament reminds one of earlier governmental concepts which did not come to life even in circumstances of greater homogeneity. The last idea of its kind was launched in the Spring of 1991 at the time of the unsuccessful attempt to draw up a Serbian national program and the attempt to bring together cat and mouse - the governing party and opposition. Party leaders were even taken to Patriarch Pavle to make a vow.

The tension which once again, as always, accompanies this kind of idea shows that a coalition such as this would have difficulty in surviving in the event of coming to power, because the actual power of the participants in the coalition would be unchanged and the authority of the government would not come from the voting box by from support of the national elite.

The Serbian opposition will maybe have to seek new ways. Maybe those who say that Serbia does not in fact need governmental agreement but instead competition, are right. It would be productive if hunger and dissatisfaction distanced the masses from Milosevic. However, the hungry and angry look for a culprit and once again a new leader. The trouble is that the space for competition is small, and the governing monopoly large.


Dragoljub Micunovic


Against "Revelation"

The president of the Democratic Party, Dragoljub Micunovic, in an interview to VREME, says that in Serbia there still exists a certain fixation on the idea of a "national front" because it was due to this mechanism that communism was brought down in the East.

According to him this happened in conditions different from those that now exist in Serbia, conditions where there was no pluralistic political system and when there were no political parties. "Unfortunately," says Micunovic, "this time has passed. The "national front" always broke down into parties. Here, where there are already political parties, the creation of a national front represents a step backwards because it would mean the merging of newly formed parties into an amorphous mass".

"A different form of opposition cooperation must be found which keeps political parties as an indispensable part of the political institution of every society", he says, emphasizing that it is natural in parliamentary practice for opposition parties to cooperate in criticism of the government, and coalitions come about after election in order to form a government.

" Without a government there is no real coalition. The merging of all opposition parties would impoverish our political scene and this must be kept in mind when choosing a form of cooperation and alliance", says Micunovic.

He once again stated that it cannot be said that there is no unity of democratic opposition when it shows a high level of agreement in opposing the regime.


Vuk Draskovic


Parallel Government

In an interview to VREME the leader of the SPO, Vuk Draskovic, defined the aims of a future parallel government as follows.

"There is no more time to lose. As we will abstain from running in the elections (and I presume the Democratic Party will also abstain, because it would be shameful if it didn't), and as we cannot be on TV and cannot go out of town because we don't have petrol, we haven't a chance of campaigning, and when we organize meetings we always run the risk of some armed band causing a scandal or bloodshed. The elections will be run by Serbian nationalism and fascism, with a little communism," says Draskovic.

"As we will abstain from taking part in the elections, we must take counter steps. Our hand would be passed to the Alliance of Democratic Renewal which would endeavor, as much as it can, to explain the truth to the people and form a parallel government. The mediator for the parallel Parliament would be the SPO, and the Democrats would provide a government. Members of the Royal Council would be in this parallel parliament and this parliament would act in the name of democratic Serbia, working gradually towards a parallel government".

The demand that opposition MPs leave the parliament, which was presented by Draskovic from the start, is now loudly supported by the Serbian Liberal Party and Draskovic himself, but it is obvious that they are not joined by SPO MPs and the Democrats.

To the comment that SPO MPs don't support an exit from Parliament, Draskovic says that they agreed not to hand back the mandate, but earn a their living in the parallel parliament.

© Copyright VREME NDA (1991-2001), all rights reserved.