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Election Campaign Nightmares


By Ivan Torov

The election campaign carnival – rather resembling a country fair – has been on for some time now. Though the parliamentary elections have not been called yet their outcome is quite predictable. As things stands now (and there are no indications of any major change), citizens will once again have the chance to opt for a lesser evil (or, probably, for a bigger). In other words, the assortment of Serbia’s political and electoral buffet is so scarce that hardly anything could be marked as unknown when it comes to the usual pre-election dilemma about Serbia’s prospects after May 2012.

Similar or same options and players are in play, the ideology of unrestrained populism prevails again, driving forces boil down to Kosovo once more, the same as nationalism, global conspiracies against Serbs, economic and social impotence…Any outcome at least a bit different from everything already experienced and seen, any outcome that would convincingly negate pessimistic prognoses about Serbia suffering yet another political defeat would be a true miracle.

What do we have on the counter? We can pick up a false pro-European course offered by genetically modified Radicals (of the runaway Tomislav Nikolic), convincing as the claim that Danube runs into the Sava River. Or we can choose the political obsession (of Boris Tadic) predominant in the past couple of years, which, despite all defeats and humiliations, still fanatically claims that the “both Kosovo and EU” formula is not out of time and place or a card wasted long ago.

Both assortments brim with populist “argumentation” and are supported by their loyal and reliable allies. The Progressists (deluxe Radicals) argue that EU is not and cannot be a strategic goal in the name of which we need to renounce the icon in the form of a constitutional preamble: the argument that will soon, probably this May, bring them even closer to their ideological fellow traveler, Vojislav Kostunica, and his “scientific invention” that EU is an evil one should avoid at any cost. For their part, Democrats talk big about Europe, the topic they’ve been toying with for some time and adjusting to their short-term goals only to cover up their absolute impotence to reform Serbia and take it out of years-long crisis. Or to satisfy their long-term ambition rule as long as there is anything left to rule. As it seems, they will go on ranting until their model of Europeanism makes the people and the God, and Brussels sick. In all this, Dacic’s “reformed” Socialists have lent them a helping hand, generously. Tadic’s penchant for “historical reconciliations and compromises” is their ideal opportunity to revive “happy 1990s.” Should this imply, say, that Milutin Mrkonjic manage to convince the once DOS parties to apologize to Socialists for October 5 or a triumphant comeback of Mirjana Markovic and her son Marko (from Russia to Pozarevac) they would only prove that we have been absolutely wrong about the true nature of the Milosevic regime. In other words, the continuity of the policy that has generated wars and ethnic cleansing, and created National Socialism a la Serb could be a bridge to Europe. A bridge connecting things unbridgeable: EU and the policy that sticks to 1990s, raises tensions in and about Kosovo, openly uses Republika Srpska to blackmail, undermines Montenegro and flirts with all forms of nationalism.

Actually, this explains why Serbia has been suspended or stalled at the point when expected to make crucial steps toward Euro-integrations. And this explains why Euro-skepticism or even open confrontation with Brussels leaves behind Euro-optimism. Given that hardly anything indicates that Serbia’s policy has changed substantively, it is more and more certain that after the May elections the above-mentioned process would go down in history as yet another failure to get Serbia out of the Balkan “pub” and direct it toward some other, more modern course: and regardless who wins the election – the devastating coalition between Democrats and Socialists or invigorated Progressists-regressors. Or even in the case a possible “big” and “historical” coalition between Tadic and Nikolic authors the final chapter.

So, we are quite aware of what is on the counter but even more what could happen to us next.



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