RADIO “POLITIKA”, 105.2 MHz
Monday, 20 January 2003, 4:00 p.m.
Program: IT MIGHT BE, BUT DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN SO
Discussion with the working title: IS IT NO GOOD WITHOUT THE KING?
Journalist: In today’s program we talk about constitutional monarchy, that is, whether it is “no good without the King” at this moment when we are getting closer to the unraveling on our political scene. This year our Federal State will be defined, the work on the new Serbian constitution is inevitable, the President of the Republic will be elected, we hope, and possible parliamentary elections might give us a true picture of political positions in Serbia.
Isn’t this the appropriate time to speak about the possibility for the people to decide if they might be in favour of a modern constitutional monarchy? What betterment can constitutional monarchy bring, and what are the advantages of republic? That is the topic of our today’s program, and our today’s guest is architect Dragomir Acovic, member of the Crown Council.
A topic like this seemed reasonable to us at the time when an outcome and a solution to this, all but pleasant, situation in Serbia, that has taken too long, is being sought for.
Mr. Acovic: It generally seems to me that there is a tremendous inclination in our country to think in patterns, and burdened with the lack of real proportions. We have wasted awful lot of time, the time that is almost irreplaceable, trying to determine our way by following an imaginary vision of something that not only never existed in this country but was proved to be impossible by the already existing experiences. Not just when it comes to the form of the State, but in other issues as well, we act as if this wasn’t our country, as if this wasn’t our nation and this wasn’t our destiny, but as if we were in a laboratory and our main objective was to create something that nobody ever has, and to be original at any cost.
Our experiment with republic is a disaster, to put it mildly. It is so, first of all, because republic was not established here as a new model that would open new possibilities and broaden freedoms. It was established as an instrument of repression, and that instrument was directed toward creating a safe environment for the new revolutionary government, that would enable them to pursue their ideal, which was a reign without limitations, without standards, dictated only by their own interest, fulfilled to the disadvantage of everybody else. Unfortunately, their experiment was successful.
We got the state, got the republic that was a precise illustration of such intentions and such program, and ever since the disappearance of the coryphaeus of that program and that concept we have been trying to fix what was left after him, without realizing that what was functioning – was functioning through his absolute will and under the circumstances of his absolute power, through the mechanism created by him. That creation – in the absence of this unique “spiritus agens” – can’t be neither sustained, nor reconstructed, nor mended.
The only option, which is persistently being avoided when the ways of overcoming our crisis are being discussed, is indeed the one which seems the most logical, the simplest and the shortest, hopefully the most efficient, is to return to what used to function rather well in this country and in this nation. I say rather well deliberately, I’m not saying perfectly because...
Journalist: At one time, at the beginning of the 20th century it did function...
Mr. Acovic: You know, it didn’t function perfectly even then, but when we compare it to what was going on later – it really seems like the golden age. I’m simply saying that the total outcome of the functioning of monarchy today, in my view, would be by far more favourable than the result of the existence and functioning of republic, that is, of the republics. I would like to remind that we didn’t have just one republic, we went through various kinds and transformations of the republics, some of them were cosmetic, some essential. However, the fact remains that our greatest problem is the change of government. It is no invention of ours that republic has a tendency to develop and constantly increases the wish in those who were elected, never to step down from the power they legitimately gained. Using illegitimate means, if necessary. That is why the distribution and control of executive power is one of the most important questions, and we keep trying to vary one same answer to it. That answer has not given the best results so far, not because there were no people of quality. We have had quality people. It is just that in our society, it seems, with our mentality, with the sum of our experiences and attitudes, the very institution of the Republic creates an environment and political surroundings in which the same problems reoccur under various names, but with the same essence and with the same consequences.
It is not the question of whether the right people were elected at one moment, the problem is that once you have chosen the right people they do not remain the same people that were chosen. At the end of the day, it is a general problem of governing here. There is a famous dictum that every power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, which makes sense. That is why it is very important to review, without ideological zeal...
Journalist: That is, excuse me, the main problem, how to eliminate zeal, and speak rationally, sensibly, in our circumstances...
Mr. Acovic: That is not only our problem. However, the opinions that differ from the common pattern of thinking are rarely heard, not because there are none, but because an automatic reaction has been developed, which says that whoever speaks about monarchy, must be retrograde. That is a nice expression meaning that a person is backward-minded, and advocates return to the dark ages and something that smart people should immediately distance from. On the other hand, those who are in favor of republic, have the advantage of that model being beyond the possibility of doubt. You know, there is a privilege in Catholic church referring to Cardinals. it says that a Cardinal is beyond any doubt, that no one is allowed to doubt a Cardinal. If you have any doubts about a Cardinal, you are already guilty of sacrilege, and you are sanctioned for doing so. In the same way, a number of ideas that were at a certain point in the development of political thinking and civilization, were qualified as progressive in our country, can’t be viewed so “a priori” and so categorically, for they simply do not have the same results in every nation, every time and under any circumstances. The fact is that there is not one single European monarchy today that might be called backward, despotic, non-democratic, or even worse, anti-democratic. On the contrary, those are all model democratic countries and hardly anything in that respect can be questioned. The fact is that we are witnesses of the existence of huge number of republics, both on European ground and in the world generally, who call themselves democratic, people’s, or whatever (which usually means that is exactly what they lack), and it can’t be said that they are one bit closer to democracy than any European monarchy, while some of those republics are among most totalitarian, most despotic countries that are known of.
So, the very basic argumentation is pointless and I believe it should be recognized as such. But it seems it is not recognized as such and it can be heard quite often how the very fact that this country and society should move forward means it can’t happen within, with the symbols of, under the name of and with characteristics of monarchy. The problem might lay in almost unconscious falling into a trap when we speak about monarchy. When you say monarchy, that might create a picture in which a monarch is a synonym for an autocrat who is above the law, whose will is unbounded, and constitution, if exists, is only a formal pretext, just like in Stalin’s Soviet Union whose constitution was full of freedom and democracy, and all who called upon it (in the best case) found themselves on the way to Siberia.
Journalist: Speaking of Siberia, why isn’t this debate so widespread, let’s say, in Russia, that has a stronger tradition, among Slavic nations?
Mr. Acovic: I think the point is not whether it is widespread or not. It is rather widespread in Russia, too. However, in Russia, as a huge country with such enormous and complex mechanisms, great changes happen either when they are initiated by the highest authorities, or by a disaster, like what was called “October revolution”, when things turn upside down. It is quite logical that what in our country could be done in a year, probably would take half a century in Russia. Nevertheless, monarchistic sentiment in Russia does exist. It might no be so articulated as other political concepts are, because it is a rather exotic phenomenon for monarchy to be promoted by a monarchistic political party, and to define the objective politically-wise, and give it a certain penetrability through the state institutions, it is almost impossible to avoid political parties as the leaders of the process.
Journalist: We have another guest with us at the studio, academician Nikola Milosevic, honorary President of the Serbian Liberal Party.
Good afternoon and welcome. You have had an opportunity to listen to our introduction for the last ten minutes, so I suggest we continue from where we stopped, and then move to the short history of the Liberals, who brought a breath of European parliamentarism of monarchistic provenance to our country.
There is a notion that a modern monarchy in our case would not automatically mean a European one, but more something like “Balkan” monarchy, with the example of Greece being quoted, where the King was deposed in a coup, and yet Greece is on its way of recovery and it is a medium developed country.
Mr. Acovic: When one hears such notion, one must ask oneself if those who offer such attitudes are well informed. First of all, Greece was on a good way, it was a developing European country while it was monarchy. Monarchy in Greece was not abolished by liberals and democrats but by colonels. In other words, monarchy was deposed by the enemies of democracy, not by supporters of more democracy. O f course a question arises why monarchy wasn’t restored in Greece. I can only say that monarchy was on the way to be restored and it wasn’t simply because a course of political interests at that moment prevented such option. That, certainly, did not prevent Greece from moving forward. Just the same, those who take Greece as an example, might also take the example of Spain. Monarchy in Spain was restored in 1978 and it showed its full potential. Spain today is indeed a more democratic, more progressive and wealthier society than it has ever been. It is very difficult to talk to people who stick the label “Balkan” to monarchy, and they somehow lose from sight the fact that we have a Balkan republic here, which doesn’t look like the Republics of Finland or France, but like exactly what the term of republic in the Balkans mean.
Journalist: Professor Milosevic, what are the advantages of monarchy, what would good would monarchy bring to us in political circumstances like ours?
Prof. Milosevic: If I may, I would first point to the difference that is very often overlooked, particularly by the opponents of any form of monarchy. Monarchies can roughly be divided into so called absolute and so called parliamentary. In the first case, monarch is above the law, he is an autocrat (expression used by Russian emperors). In the latter , it is not the monarch who has the decision making power, but the Parliament as the center of political, that is, legislative power. Democratic institutions in that case exist parallel to the monarch’s prerogatives.
As for the first form of monarchy, one should remind, to take from where Mr. Acovic has stopped, of the names of some of the most famous republicans of our age: Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Josip Broz Tito, Slobodan Milosevic, etc.
One should remind that republican form of state is no warrant that democratic institutions will exist, on the contrary, in modern republics the abuse of power and fatal consequences of such abuses are by far bigger than in absolute monarchies of all times. As for our monarchistic tradition, speaking of Russian emperors, I take it that attention should be brought to the fact that our monarchistic tradition, unlike Russian, was in its early stage connected with parliamentary, that is, democratic order. That was not the case with the Russians. Until the overthrowing the Russian dynasty, Russian Empire had no democratic institutions. But Serbia had them already in the times of Obrenovics, and of course, during the reign of Peter I it had had them for quite some time. At that time, one might freely say, Serbia was a model democracy, and it is by no chance that the translation of the famous book by English liberal thinker John Stuart Mill “On Liberty”, was done by none other but King Peter I Karadjordjevic.
I’m trying to say that there was a different relationship between monarchistic tradition in Serbia and the very institutions of monarchy, than not only in Russia, but in any other country. Of course, one might mention, and I have heard it a lot from republic supporters, the so called “sixth of January dictatorship” of King Alexander I. Instead of any comment, I’m going to tell about something that can’t be read anywhere. At the time of the notorious dictatorship, an adjutant of King Alexander I came to an engineer who was in possession of a valuable painting by our famous artist Bijelic, and said His Majesty wanted to buy it. The answer was “it is not for sale”. The adjutant thanked and left. Then comes the time of the republic under Josip Broz and the same story happens again, an adjutant of Broz went to the same engineer and said : “Comrade Tito has heard of the picture and he wants to buy it”. The answer is the same: “It is not for sale”. Now comes the republican twist: the adjutant of comrade Tito says: “Yes, but you must sell the painting”. “Well, all right, if I must, take it then”, says the engineer and the adjutant takes it away. So, there are some historical examples that reflect essential changes. The so called dictatorship of King Alexander was an episode, otherwise democracy could not have been reestablished afterwards. The dictatorship of Josip Broz was a despocy. The difference between a dictatorship and a despocy in its original mythical meaning, is often overlooked. Dictatorship was the power invested by the Senate with a strict time limit of six months, and no prerogatives to declare war or to pass new laws. The communists did not establish dictatorship, but despocy. They came to power by force, like Josip Broz here, and then didn’t set any time limit to their government, and of course, stuck to it, and in no other way their government was limited. Just one more thing: because of specific historical reasons I believe the best solution for us would indeed be to continue the tradition of parliamentary monarchy. We would gain two profits: on one side, a patriotic tradition would gather those citizens who perhaps are not inclined to democratic beliefs, and who would perhaps accept even an absolute form of reign, and on the other hand we could join tradition and modernity. For, as Mr. Acovic has already said, let us join the example of Spain to other examples like England, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, which is in a great expansion, Japan, Australia, New Zealand. Those are all monarchies, and in economic, political and democratic respect, I see no objection to them. If we have to choose what in our tradition brought parliamentary and democratic order, I really see no reason for arguing.
Journalist: Mr. Acovic, what are the ways that might follow, if appropriate political will existed, to restore monarchy or at least to enable the citizens of Serbia to express their attitude for or against it?
Mr. Acovic: You’ve mentioned on condition the political will existed, and that is the essence. If there is no political will we can keep trying to find ways until eternity, and the matter simply can’t be conducted, unless of course, by taking to undemocratic means that are in contrast to what the point of the existence of monarchy should be. Even if that happened, monarchy established in that way would have the seed of its downfall inside itself. Political will is indeed essential. And I don’t mean just the will of those who are currently in political offices. We must have an understanding that we are in a too deep crisis to allow ourselves to play with the destiny of the nation and the state endlessly. We don’t even have the options, it seems to me, that any other European country has. We are simply in a state of suspended sovereignty and suspended future. I fear that any further insisting on political stratagems, on organizing ambushes in attempt to take one another by surprise, really leads to nowhere. When I spoke about the basic function of monarchy being to establish a focal point, a center of gathering, I meant it very seriously. I’m not saying, nor I’m imagining that an overwhelming consensus can be achieved, but every country has a certain number of politically aware people who must be able to estimate the options and who must come forward at one point and say that a stop to an unsuccessful experiment simply must be put. Our experiment is a failure. Because it constantly generates new crises, and we simply don’t have enough capacity or strength, or life left inside us, to stand new variations on the same theme, for those new variations can only produce even worse results than the original options.
Journalist: Aren’t Serbian voters, regarding three failed attempts of presidential elections, tired and dissatisfied with the offered options, and aren’t they looking for something else?
Mr. Acovic: I think it might be put that way. We are now in a rather unusual situation. The question of Serbia’s constitution has been opened, not because any particular political force wanted so, but because we had to open it, partly under pressure from the inside, and more so under pressure from the outside.
Journalist: Professor Milosevic, would you please state your opinion on this. Isn’t this in a way a discrete signal to bring up the question of monarchy?
Prof. Milosevic: I9 don’t see what other solution we could offer. The citizens are after all aware that their expectations have not been fulfilled even in the extent that was reasonable to expect. I shall give you just a few examples: one of our leading political figures is assuring us that politics is a sort of trampoline, and he himself is a good trader. I’m not denying there is such element in politics, but if you want to be a good trader, then go into trade.
It was said that the new government were promised three billion German marks in cash as soon as Milosevic was ousted. All right, Milosevic fell, but did one promised mark come? It didn’t. Then the same Milosevic was traded for with the Hague. He was sent to the Hague, but did we get anything from that trade?
All in all, people who don’t come out in elections see that, they understand where we are, not just by the will of the great powers, but by the policy of this government, in a position not far from a protectorate, in a position where political trade, when it is not required by the US Congress, is done to our disadvantage.
In a direct connection to our topic, I shall just add the problem of national identity. Here we go from one extreme to another. First we had the extreme of heavenly nation which is a nonsense, now we have another extreme. The winner of the last year’s “NIN’s Award”, Mr. Ciric, said in a TV show that the Serbs are born informers and genetic “debejci”(members of state security - translator’s note). And nobody reacted to it, not even those who would might be called to say something about it. What I want to add is this: a policy of erasing national identity is being conducted, making equal the national identity and nationalism. Protection of national interests is an elementary right and elementary duty in all democratic countries, and only here it is qualified as nationalism.
Therefore, restoration of parliamentary monarchy would ease up that tension.
Journalist: What would it really mean for our country, for Serbia really, if parliamentary monarchy was established?
I’m going to quote Crown Prince Alexander who said that “constitutional monarchy would be a good solution for our country, because it defends democracy, human rights, and continuity, respecting members of all religious and ethnic communities. Monarch is not a member of any political party. Constitutional monarchy respects and supports all political parties who comply with the democratic principles. Constitutional monarchy is a solution for political conflicts, for it establishes clear share of responsibilities: the Prime Minister runs the Government, and Monarch respects the constitution and stays out of politics”.
He has cited a significant number of countries, supporting the idea of constitutional monarchy: Great Britain, Spain, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.
Those are all reasons for constitutional monarchy, but what exactly would that mean in the political scene in Serbia?
Mr. Acovic: Two things should not be confused. One is executive power, that is, the Government, elected directly, with the mandate to conduct the policy based on which it won elections, in a certain time limit.
What we are saying here does not refer to that principle, that principle goes without saying. When we talk about constitutional parliamentary monarchy then it is understood that here is an executive power elected directly with a defined mandate, and that there is a constitution which obliges both executive and legislative power, as well as the monarch.
However, what we have had here as a problem, for quite some time, is the fact that once the power is gained, it is understood as victory over a part of one’s own nation, the part that doesn’t share your views, and whose will is temporarily suspended by your election victory.
But the moment when you start taking that the other will doesn’t exist, or is irrelevant, you are becoming a victor over a part of your own nation just in the same way as the occupier who puts the whole nation under control.
Journalist: Forgive me for interrupting, but this seems like a good opportunity to say that when Milosevic’s political opponents spoke against him, they spoke against over three million people who voted for him. Is there an awareness of that kind of political culture?
Mr. Acovic: That is not just the question of political culture, that is a question of complying with a certain discipline in life. There is a situation, for example, in Belgium, where there are strong ethnic tensions, and the existence of the Crown and the Monarch works as a stabilizing factor and allows the public interest and attention to focus on the elements of unity. We have been deformed in that way ever since 1945, and differences, whether they were political, ethnic, cultural, religious or any other kind, have been much more important to us then anything that brings us together. The existence of such mentality and such relationships can’t be taken as irrelevant, but something that is by nature outside such influences also must be allowed to exist. Well, that is exactly the function of the Crown in most contemporary monarchies, and we have seen the function of the Crown (I ‘m talking about the examples of other countries) was important, crucial and beneficial at the times of crises. We keep trying to find paragons in Europe, which is natural, we are a European country regardless of what the rest of Europe and a part of our public might think. But, by the standards of living and by some manifestations of public life, we are deeply in the third world, which is a non-European phenomenon. I would also like to remind what role in the situations like that the King of Thailand had, let’s say, or that when an extreme repressive communist regime was removed in Cambodia, the country found its way to return to normal by reinstituting the King.
Journalist: Professor Milosevic, what are your thoughts on the subject?
Prof. Milosevic: I think reestablishing parliamentary monarchy ( I prefer the term parliamentary to constitutional, for there might exist countries with a constitution and no parliament) would be a good solution.
The term “parliamentary monarchy” points directly to the fact that monarchy does not exclude, but on the contrary, recognizes a democratic order like we used to have at one time in the Balkans. However, there is another reason, when it comes to our historical circumstances, to be for such a solution of our political problems. Reestablishing of such form of monarchy would point to the possibility of joining tradition and democracy, and to a, hopefully, middle solution between Vojislav Seselj and Sonja Biserko. Which means, neither to erase the national identity like some NGOs and some people who support the present Government do, nor to sing nationalistic, to be more precise chauvinistic, tunes, like Vojislav Seselj does. That integrative factor of golden middle would then be incarnated in the institution of parliamentary monarchy.
Journalist: It would be interesting to point out another segment where new problems might arise. The very personality of Crown Prince Alexander, disputes of who has the right to the throne, inappropriately explained and interpreted act of usurping the throne in 1941, in other words, everything that happened then.
There are some theories that monarchy in fact was not abolished, that it still exists, that this is a state of emergency that took longer, etc.
So, from the historical heritage regarding breaking up with monarchy in our country, to the very personality of Crown Prince Alexander and his right to the throne?
Mr. Acovic: There were quite some stories, most of them were not just a product of sheer ignorance, but an attempt to confuse people and to compromise what in itself is relatively simple and undisputable. Monarchy in our country was abolished by an illegitimate, illegal act, an usurpation of power happened.
In 1945, the Government was simply taken by a coup, and that coup has remained a burden until today, above all as a historical heritage, and particularly a burden as a legal standard based on which everything that followed the coup was legalized. Neither the citizens were asked anything then, nor the situation was settled in an undisputable, verified and confirmed manner, nor even an intention to do so existed. Simply, the power was taken by those who came out as the victors after the war. King Peter II was the legitimate Monarch until his death, he never abdicated.
Journalist: And the stories are...
Mr. Acovic: The stories exist because someone is glad they exist. If such an act existed and if Broz could get hold of it, it would, as Matija Beckovic once said, be on the first pages of school textbooks. But such document does not exist and it can’t be invented, no matter how much the idea was contemplated and wished that one day it might turn out somewhere. Based on that, the second King Peter died, his son became the King. In our country succession to the throne was immediate, unconditioned and irrevocable. The one who was the Crown Prince until the moment of the ruler’s death, became the ruler that same second. That is the standard that in France was formulated like: “The King is dead, long live the King!”. If we look at things from that point of view, the one who we call, and who calls himself the Crown Prince, is in fact, legally speaking, the King ever since 1970. The fact that he doesn’t use the title of the King does not mean anything from the point of view of his real status. However, we are not going through the whole story about monarchy in order to discuss the relationships between the members of the family, for they are clear, despite the fact that each family, including the Royal, has someone whose interest is to create a little confusion, that is another matter. We are discussing monarchy as people who want to favour one family and one member of that family, or one person. We are discussing a principle, and when you start eroding principles in one country, in a nation and in a society, then there is no end to sacrificing principles. What started as abolishing monarchy, was continued by confiscation. What was continued by confiscation, was followed by deprivation of human and citizens’ rights. After that came single-mindedness, single political will, power without any control, without limits, without any guidance, any standard, any direction or borders. By speaking about monarchy, we speak about most things that today are on the agenda of numerous NGOs, that believe they are entering new areas in human rights. Those rights existed, they were the part of the existing political system in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and the Kingdom of Serbia before that.
We are now conquering something that we abandoned for nothing, thinking that we had some new breakthroughs in democracy. We are only coming back where we left the road to democracy, but we are not trying to reconstruct the society and social relationships, because that can never happen.
We are trying to reconstruct a system of the state that had showed as good and useful, for whatever could be read about this country, was credited to monarchy. If today that was the only thing to credit to the republic, I would be the first to say: “Why should we change anything, when it functions so well?”
Journalist: Professor Milosevic, Crown Prince Alexander ( I shall keep calling him the way it is accustomed) is a descendant, whether someone like it or not, of almost all European dynasties. He finished military school, was in business, he is very disciplined, extremely precise and exact, together with all that his name means. What could he do for Serbia at this moment, having in mind its position in Europe and the fact that a good number of the Union members are constitutional monarchies?
Prof. Milosevic: First, the person of the Crown Prince should be separated from the function itself. In short, at home he would refresh the belief that it is possible to join tradition and monarchy. In foreign affairs he would indeed be both formal and symbolic guarantee that this country has discontinued its communist tradition, for only then it would be definitely clear that Serbia took a different direction, a significantly different course. As for the personality of Crown Prince Alexander, it can often be heard from the opponents of monarchy how the Crown Prince can’t speak Serbian. Interestingly enough that comes from those who didn’t mind at all that their republican idol Josip Broz could not speak any language, including his mother tongue. Second, he had many years to master the language, which is not the case with Crown Prince Alexander, it was not as if he was sent to Eaton to learn foreign languages, and he could have done it here. Everybody knows how he ended up abroad, it was not of his own will, and everybody knows that he was forced into a situation not to be able to learn the language, like someone who was the head of republican government could, which was the case with Josip Broz. All in all, I take it is something that all of us could benefit from, but you know, the history of our political circumstances shows it is never certain if our decision makers will decide to everybody’s disadvantage except their own.
Journalist: You have made an interesting notion to whose disadvantage the establishing of monarchy would be, perhaps only to the disadvantage of the President of the Republic, but we haven’t got one?
Mr. Acovic: That is one of the questions that has intrigued me for a long time, and I have talked a lot to the people who are not monarchy supporters. I must say there are many of them whom I appreciate very much, and I value their common sense and decency. One of the questions I have never got the answer to is precisely that : “So, who would lose?” Basically, you get indirect answers like: “But that is not a position to be elected to”, in other words he did not come there by his own merits, and this is where the conversation gets rather difficult, for it is very difficult to explain how many people became the political establishment by their own merits? Usually they came there as a result of certain combinations.
Also, there is an argument that reestablishing monarchy would drive the Montenegrins away. The Montenegrins are, accordingly, all fierce republicans and if they heard that we think of reinstituting the King, they would say: “We don’t want to play with you anymore, we are taking our marbles and we are going to find another company for us”. And as a result of this worry not to lose the Montenegrins because of reestablishing monarchy, we came to a situation that the Prime Minister of Montenegro, who until yesterday was the President of Montenegro, says: “One way or another we count on three years, and then we’re going to leave”.
Then there is a notion that national minorities would leave, for they could not stand it, and immediately the question arises what the speculation was based on, and what minorities are we talking about. If it is the Albanians, their attitude is so well known that one should waste no words on it, they did not leave because of the King. As for the Hungarians, I have never heard that Serbia was unacceptable for them if it is a monarchy. I have always heard something different from the Hungarians, they always say: “Excuse me, but it is something that you Serbs should agree on first. If it is going to be a democratic country in which we will all have full citizens’ rights, why would we be against it?”. So those are the most common stories.
And then there is a story which is difficult to put in any context, a story of modernism. Usually, when there is nothing left, you say: “You know, it isn’t modern. We should talk about something that is the future”. And unfortunately as soon as we come to that point, we come back to the story of communism as our future, and those speak about the future, usually see themselves as the owners of that future, because they know for sure what the future will be.
I don’t believe in owning the future and in owning the knowledge of the future. I believe in the people who, knowing well the past and the present, can fairly well foresee the tomorrow. I think the argument that reestablishing monarchy might be to somebody’s disadvantage is not only unfounded, but impossible to define. There is no disadvantage, but we can ask ourselves what the disadvantage will be if we continue like this. I’m not talking about the present Government or the present Parliament, or this or that candidate for the Head of the State. I think we are lucky to have a number of people, who are in the Government today, who I believe are very capable, and they should find their place in any government, because they do their job well. I’m not talking about that. I’m simply saying that a situation like this obviously doesn’t suit them either.
Journalist: Professor Milosevic, how do you see our near future?
Prof. Milosevic: People generally don’t like bearers of bad news, but I usually say the reality that we live in is not a Hollywood film. We are facing a choice between something that we can all benefit from , to the disadvantage of nobody, and what quite positively brings damage to us, and doesn’t guarantee so called brighter and happier future anyway.
Just a word on elections and monarchy, what Mr. Acovic has mentioned. It is again the matter of advantage and disadvantage, there is no disadvantage because the Monarch is not elected, for he has no political prerogatives, no monopoly, but there is many disadvantages, and we have experienced them for sure, when someone who has formally been elected gains absolute power. We have said goodbye to a political monopoly, the problem is not in the man who personified that monopoly and who is in the Hague today, it is in the institution. I’m coming back to the discontent of the voters. We are again facing reestablishing of political monopoly, which could be harmful, and parliamentary monarchy might be a moral barrier, if not legal, to such ambitions without borders.
Journalist: In short, how do you see this year, will the Federal State be defined, the new constitution, will Serbia get a new President?
Prof. Milosevic: As for the Federal State, it is composed by the principle “holds the water until the repairmen are gone”. The repairman’s name is Havier Solana, and when he goes away, and he already has, everybody knows for how long that state is going to last. As for the President of Serbia, if it is possible that Mrs. Micic who belongs to the party which would certainly go over the election census, is at the same time the Speaker of the Parliament and the acting President of the Republic, with an explanation that she now stands for the President that we don’t have, in such a state one can’t expect any good in that respect. If the election census is not changed, than it can easily happen that we don’t get the President in the third attempt, and then the crisis is deepened and we can only suffer from it, and those who are in power might have something out of that, although in the long run it is harmful for them, too.
Journalist: Our guests were academician Nikola Milosevic, honorary President of Serbian Liberal Party, and architect Dragomir Acovic, member of the Crown Council. We talked on the subject of “Is it no good without the King”, and constitutional monarchy in Serbia at this moment.