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NO 119-120

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INFO   :::  Helsinki Charter - PAGE 2 > Helsinki Charter No. 119-120 > Text


Helsinki Charter No. 119-120

May - June 2008


Citizens Defeat Elite


By Teofil Pancic

Post-election "settlement of ground" in Serbia slowly comes to an end. "The casting is over long ago and everyone goes his own way now, " as a poet from Sopot put it. Well, what have we got? We've got a government and we've got an opposition. Great, that's what we wanted, isn't it? Yes, sure. And who we've got in the government? The Democratic Party and the G17, but also the Socialist Party of Serbia & Co., the former have not shared a single political stand until now. And who we've got in the opposition? The Radicals and the Populists, a team that logically tends to brotherhood. They have restrained themselves from hugging each other for long! But we also have the Liberal Democratic Party that has nothing in common with those opposition colleagues but has something in common with a part of the government. And that something is, alas, in vain since it has nothing to do with the other part of the government. So, you can see from the height of thousands and thousands of miles that the government and the opposition are some weird makeshifts and that some four of five "more natural" coalitions could have been formed. But the trouble is that you cannot make a coalition without a majority, and there is no majority know yourselves that maths is a wonder. And now we shall be living in that wonderland. Will it be easy for us in that galimatias? No, it will not. On the other hand, heaven save us from a "natural" coalition made of obscure creatures, primitives and no-goods. A more solid country than Serbia wouldn't stand yet another tour of such madness and keep body and soul together.

Will the government housing various Dacics, Mrkonjics and other Bajatovics have any real Euro-reformist potential or the whole story will fall apart faced with the first serious challenge, the moment one needs to run the gauntlet and break with the very essence of one's political identity? Only vicious prophets and soothsayers could answer this question for the time being. Theoretically, the Socialists always have a reserve option at hand: to break the existing coalition with the Democrats et al. - should the story about reforms turn more serious than they could stand it - and go back to good, old, common values they have with the Democratic Party of Serbia and the Radicals. That wouldn't be that impossible but is still hardly probable. Had they seen any worthwhile profit in such a combination they would have done it already. For, socializing with Dinkic, Sutanovac or (God forbid) Canak is certainly not the peak of their spiritual pleasure. A "walkout" to the other side of political landscape is a high-risk and farfetched step and, therefore, never a matter of one's whim: that's a well-thought-out strategic decision. But it doesn't necessary imply that the one who made such a decision was capable of understanding its consequences immediately...People say that not even Gorbachev wanted to liquidate communism and the USSR with his perestroika, he was only intent to "improve" them, but things turned upside down. Why? Because there was no material whatever worthy of any "improvement: " there were just rags and cast-offs. The same refers to post-Milosevic Socialist Party: it has nothing valuable to be conserved, all it has are sentimental memories of the epoch of an immature, inferior, provincial and bloody demagogue they have followed because they themselves had been hostages to the same fixation. But, alas, since the chances for his resurrection are more than meager all one can do is to "elegantly" kick and throw away all his bits and pieces down the road. Is today's Socialist Party of Serbia really ready and capable of doing it? Not exactly. But let's wait and see what happens to them after six months in "Euro-reformist" government, and then after a year or two...Today they are clapping their hands in Brussels, tomorrow they will be threading London. After all, a man is not made of, little by little at least some of them may get socialized, not all of them are hopeless cases.

Be that as it may be, their main "social worker" - or educator or whatever you want to call him - will be Boris Tadic. It is in his interest to reeducate them, and it is in their interest to get reeducated, though just a few of them are now aware of that. And by some fortunate force of circumstances the success of this bizarre and uncertain process is also in the best interest of Serbia. True, those convinced that additional ruin would be in the best interest of Serbia (I know it's hard to believe that Serbia could be more ruined than it is, but I assure you it can) disagree with this stand. But after the election they have been anyway sent deep into the opposition wherefrom, by the very nature of things, they will be doing less harm to Serbia despite the fact that they will surely harness all their hardly negligent, destructive potentials. So, Tadic, Democrats & Co. now have free rein to turn this country into a decent place to live in, which is their historical chance but also historical responsibility. If they mess up they can only collectively seclude themselves in a monastery for life, the monastery on the other side of the globe.

"The international factor" - every nonentity over here, be he "pro-democratic" or now accuses by habit of being somehow mysteriously responsible for all local stupidities and failure - plays into their hands. How come? Well, the SAA has been signed though it could have been quite legally "frozen;" even an explicit recognition of Kosovo's independence is no longer mentioned as a precondition for the accession to the EU and that will be so until - if ever - all EU member-states recognize Kosovo. So, what remains? Extradition of the remaining three runaways from The Hague, a serious work on everything that qualifies Serbia for the white Schengen list - biometrical passports are already late and, so far, no one is taken accountable for that - and, of course, all that enormous work (political, economic and legal) on adjustment to the EU standards. All that is by definition complex and hard, but still makes a fair offer.

The government has publicized its goal - to bring Serbia to the threshold of the EU at the end of its mandate. And then all you have to do is to knock and they will let you in...Educator Boris and his students might get a bingo but they have to buy a ticket first. Just imagine the expression on Vojislav Kostunica's face at such a moment: such a spectacular sight would be worth every drop of sweat one needs to pour on the way!


NO 119-120

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