Another year, another elections

6 January 08

An upstanding citizen that I am, I take great interest in the pinnacle of democracy — popular presidential elections. This is the second elections that will take place around my birthday, so it is of utmost importance to me which party will hold the victory celebration, with free booze for all their supporters.

Besides free alcohol, I also take great interest in the social aspect of the campaigns. In every sphere of life, marketing serves twofold purpose: to get the people to know the product and to convince them that they need their product. So, if the dominant commercial in a country like Serbia is for sugar-free chewing gum, by simple induction you can tell alot about the state of the national teeth whiteness and breath, or rather: what people think about their teeth and breath.

Same goes for political advertising: the presidential candidates will try to sell themselves in a minute or two of television commercials, or try to penetrate your mind with a look in their eyes on a wall poster.

For the sake of bringing the state of the populus to the wider audience, outside the country’s ever-sovereign and territorially integral borders, I will try to summarize some presidential candidates’ campaigns here by looking past tv commercials and posters, in their ballot-appearance order:

Tomislav Nikolić (Serbian Radical Party)

Besides the incumbent president (Boris Tadić), Nikolić is the other candidate with realistic go at victory. His campaign traditionally targets the lowest IQ’s of the country. Let me paraphrase a part of one of his speeches:

I love what you, Vojvodinians, have done with your part of Serbia. You built great lives, great homes, and you live great. You coexist with non-Serbs too, you get married to them, and that’s splendid! People who say that Serbian Radical Parties will not look after minorities are lying. Look at minorities now — a Hungarian farmer in Vojvodina can’t make a proper living, just like a Serbian farmer can’t!

It’s rather obvious that his first statement, about Vojvodina being great and excellent, directly contradicts his statement about people there not being able to make a living.

But a more interesting point is how he talks about minorities when he addresses the Serbs. He subtly points out the entire idea about “good” and “bad” ethnic minority citizens. “Bad” ethnic minorities are those who have a mind of their own, while “good” ones follow the majority blindly.

I can bet €20 that hardly any ethnic minorities will give their votes to Nikolić, except the selected few who suffer from a wild and perverted form of Stockholm syndrome.

Boris Tadić (Democratic Party)

Tadić is the incumbent president, and his campaign is a great example of the stupidity of Serbian constitution. Namely, Serbia is a parliamentary system (which means that executive power is closely tied to the parliament) with an elected presidents (which would imply that the president has executive powers too, but in reality there are hardly any powers in that office, especially if the president and the prime minister are from two different political parties).

The way a proper incumbent president would lead the campaign would be by showing to the public what she or he has done so far.

But, when powers of the president are largely trivial and mostly out of the eye of the public, all populist rethoric becomes pointless. Tadić can only shout a lot of slogans, mostly impersonal, like: Serbia needs to get into European Union, or Kosovo should remain a part of Serbia. That’s just silly.

Velimir Ilić (New Serbia)

While Tadić‘s Democratic Party represents the more “European” part of the ruling coalition, Ilić‘s New Serbia stands for newly discovered conservatism and traditionalism.

He is sort of in a pickle, because he is from a small party, running against his coaliting partner (Tadić) and his parliamentary opponent (Nikolić), and his views are closer to that of Nikolić than to majority of his coalition.

In a word, he is forced to talk a lot without making a statement. He even has to deprive himself of the slogans (his views are not all that popular within his own governmental coalition), so as a result you get a guy mumbling about … things. Really hard to say what.

István Pásztor (Vojvodinian Hungarians)

If you read the bit about Nikolić, Pásztor is a member of the “bad” Hungarian minority in Serbia. That is, he is not loyal to Serbian national ideas.

His views really can’t get past the fact that he is not an ethnic Serb and that his native language isn’t Serbian. Most of his campaign revolves around him trying to explain that minorities should be able to have presidential candidates for the entire country too.

Čedomir Jovanović (Liberal Democratic Party)

Just like in the parliamentary elections, held last year, Jovanović mostly concentrates on social issues. His voters are a niche market of civic-oriented “xenophiles” and his campaign is mostly nationalism and “corporationalism” bashing and a few slogans that sound like vulgar version of John Lennon’s Imagine.


There are several other candidates that I didn’t write about, mainly because they are your typical loonies (not to imply that other candidates are particularly sane). There is, for example, Milutin Mrkonjić, Milošević‘s political heir, who is at the same time an industrialist and a communist.The same thing goes for them like it goes for the candidates I described:

Each candidate will receive around €120,000, while the winner will receive €4,000,000 to compensate for his TV, paper, fuel and hand-shaking expenses. Of course, those 4 millions will be conveniently accompanied by a high social standing, and perhaps more importantly, close ties to money flow and a chance to do memorable favors to foreign investors and domestic industrialists and bankers.


  1. bganon
    Jan 11, 11:50 AM #

    I have a creeping feeling that Nikolic is going to win.

    Yeah it will stuff us in Serbia but maybe it will force to childish radicals to grow up as well.

    Having come back after a spot of travelling I’m more convinced than ever that the snails pace Serbia is progressing at is just terrible.

    Perhaps people will begin to wake up and smell the coffee if Nikolic does get in. His election may prove an embarassment but it will focus a few minds. I’m getting fed up with the Serbian system.

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