|Friday, June 27, 1997
San Francisco Chronicle
Kings Try for Comeback
They say restive Balkans need royalty
By Kitty McKinsey
Chronicle Foreign Service - Briefing Eastern Europe
What is the attraction of the ex-king's and aspirants?
"The people have suffered for decades under communism," said Williamson of DeBrett's Peerage. "They see (a monarchy) as a return to stability and stable government."
This is certainly the feeling of Milanilo Jevtic, a Yugoslav businessman who took part in last winter's demonstrations in Belgrade against Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Displaying unassailable logic, he declared: " I am in favor of a monarch. Look at the countries that have monarchies -England, Sweden, Holland, Denmark, Spain, Japan. They're all rich countries."
Michael Shafir, an analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, says the psychological appeal of restoring the monarchy reflects frustration that there is no other obvious way out of the economic crisis the Eastern European countries find themselves in.
Rather than seek the solutions in institutions, Shafir says, citizens " see them in people. They want saviors, somebody to take them out of their plight."
Of the four would-be kings, analysts say only King Michael and Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia have even a remote chance of returning to the throne. Working in Crown Prince Alexander's favor is the fact that his dynasty is a long and native Serbian one, deeply embedded in the Serbian psyche - unlike the monarchs of Bulgaria, who descend from German royal houses, or Leka, whose so called dynasty is only one generation old. And, Milosevic, who for nearly a decade has played every available political card to maintain his strongman status, could one day decide that a restored monarchy is an ideal expedient for pulling the strings of power.