PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 2007:
DELUSIONS, LABOR LOST AND TRICKS
By Teofil Pancic
Last December was really hard on all, and a still harder January awaits
us. Everything aspiring to rule Serbia in the four years to come is running to and fro,
making promises and endearing citizens. The whole Serbia resembles a fair of jugglery and
acrobatics. Everybody exerts himself to sell his cheap merchandise at highest price
possible. Well, that circus makes up unavoidable side-effect of the picturesque
parliamentary democracy a la South. And we will (probably) leave all that behind one fine
morning. But in the meantime we should better examine what was it we got last time as the
outcome of previous elections, the elections won by those who were harder on, say, Zoran
Djindjic than on Slobodan Milosevic. Let alone on Ratko Mladic.
These days "Watch-the-Pennies" Premier Vojislav Kostunica, Minister
of Capital Incidents Velimir Ilic and their assistants, aide-de-camps and worshipers tour
Serbia and lobby with citizens to entrust yet another mandate to the "populist
coalition" as the only true pillar of the outgoing government. For this mandate was not
enough for proving all their skills and expertise. And what a pity would it be had they
not be given a chance to fully realize their plan! And so, the Premier and his entourage
cannot but boast - not because they are prone to boasting, they simply must as no one
else would. Now at the end of their (early) mandate, they say, Serbia is in a far better
shape than at the time they stepped in. Ergo, today's Serbia is much better off than the
one they inherited from the disgusting DOS coalition in which uninformed people mistakenly
included them at the beginning. The bottom line here is that having a more or less the
same team at the helm after January 21 would perfectly benefit the overall bloom.
Everything simply must be in full bloom or else face the government's wrath!
Joking apart, after almost three years at the helm of the government,
Kostunica's cabinet has no choice other than singing odes to itself. For, its results
are much too meager - and even directly detrimental in some aspects - for serious
people to speak in its favor. Just an occasional, more or less carefully selected and
context-isolated "economic indicator" is truly better than it was three years ago.
But, after all, isn't that a minimum of the minimal minimum after six years of
democratic-market transition? The rest is either status quo or the legendary Dead Sea, the
Silent Decay covered with a thick layer of ditchwater, or spectacular, scurry backwards.
But arguing with such regime over directions and speeds is of no avail. Therefore, let's
see how it tackled major political problems and what its managerial capacity might produce
should it only get the chance.
Let's start from the end: Serbia got a new Constitution and that's
the most tangible result of the actual regime generously assisted by the "constructive
opposition." No big deal? Well, it would have been wasn't only the new Constitution so
awfully porous and leaky, was it not, in many aspects, a hindrance rather than
encouragement to Serbia's modernization and Europeanization. In some of its segments,
the Constitution turns into Constipation, a cynical ridicule of contemporary democratic
standards, let alone its Dadaist "preamble." The latter by itself undermines any trace
of seriousness of the "constitution-building" project its creators planned it to be.
What a waste of time and energy! What a waste of the resources every irresponsible
government in Serbia sees as boundless!
Further, the government itself defined "the Kosovo question" as the
top priority for which it forged such makeshift constitution after all. But what's a
realistic impact of the government's "Kosovo policy" if there is any? (I definitely
refuse to call the amateurish blubbering of Sandra Raskovic, the Kostunica Serbia's
second best surrealistic political entity after legendary Ljiljana Colic, a policy.)
It's non-existent, I am afraid, given that the government has so spectacularly failed to
implement its (non-existent?) plans "A" and "B." The former was a Don Quixote-like
enterprise meant to at least formally maintain Kosovo within Serbian borders. It turned
out to nothing since the dynamics of the "Kosovo problem" took a turn of its own. You
could use Fabian tactics and "play tricks" on the process to buy time, but that's
actually a labor lost. The latter was supposed to formulate some kind of Serbia's
post-Kosovo strategy. But no one formulated anything given that the very consideration of
an option as such would break the Taboo, magically "invoke" the developments the
regime simply would not "believe possible." Here the regime gives the impression of
being composed of epic poetry enthusiasts rather than of highest public servants.
The "Montenegrin issue" was also the government's impressive
shame. And not because the famous "state union" disintegrated - which was
unavoidable since that union was nothing but a bizarre caricature and was of no avail. The
government disgraced itself for having put all its eggs in one basket - a virtual "state
union" - which had nothing to do with common sense and sound reasoning. And so, after
Montenegro's referendum it was left blatantly disoriented and childishly pouting. The
government's shame is Serbia's shame as well. And the very fact that it was
predictable and quite unnecessary hurts you and makes you angry. Serbia was again wasting
time on delusions, and was again hostage to its political and intellectual quack-elite's
unrealistic, "super-national" obsessions and frustrations. Shall we ever see the end
to it? And who will survive - them or Serbia?
"The Hague issue" - so movingly unsavory to the Premier & Co.
- is yet another of the regime's shipwrecks. They firstly tried to pretend The Hague
and the tribunal did not exist at all. For, boy, the government has better things to do
than bother itself with "the head cook and the dishwasher." That "wise policy"
flopped almost like the super-honest Marsicanin in the presidential race. Then the
government stuck to "two-way cooperation" and "voluntary surrenders" like a leech
in spite of the fact that is has been duly warned that that's nothing but trivial buying
of time and that eventually - once it packed all her Pavkovics and other Milosevic's
mannequins - it would have to come to grips with the Real Problem: Ratko Mladic and Co.
All in all, now three years later, Serbia is more blocked and "blackmailed" with
Mladic than she was in March 2004 and a viable solution is nowhere in sight. But then, can
you find a solution after all when you first don't look for it at all, then pretend to
be looking for it and finally just look for it a bit but would rather not be the one to
Last but not least, the government these days boasts of "normalized
and stabilized" social and political situation. How interesting! For, this is how things
look like in real life: organized crime feels better and better, whatever survived the
"Saber" action has recuperated and put on weight (moreover, it has been compensated
for the enormous mental pain and impairment of the reputation for which it had worked up a
sweat); the regime, with the helping hand of its ministries and police and other services,
has made such a mess of the trial of the accused of the Premier Djindjic assassination and
provoked so many scandals that it sickens one to list them; when it comes to "national
policy" the Radicals are stronger than ever before though they have not changed their
skin, let alone their habits; the Socialists have always been the regime's (abundantly
remunerated) pillar; all in all, two major riders of the Serbian Apocalypse of 1990s have
been leniently given the comfortable status of "system parties" without having to
undergo any transformation whatsoever. And there is more to it, just name it.
As it seems, seven or eight days before the parliamentary elections
Svetlana (Ceca) Raznatovic - Arkan's widow, Legija and Siptar's bosom friend and the
crowned queen of the mafia-warmongering glamour of 1990s - will be emitting sounds from a
stage mounted in downtown Belgrade. The happening's proud organizer is the "populist
coalition," the incumbent regime's virtuous backbone. See, had I only mentioned that
as a possibility, many would have raised hue and cry, and called me malicious. But every
pot has its cover be there or not my dirty imagination. Give it a thought...