“Glas Javnosti”, Sunday, 7 December 2003
HRH Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic in the interview for “Glas”, about the reestablishment of monarchy in Serbia
IT IS TIME FOR UNITY
The pretender to the Serbian throne is convinced that the Crown will bring stability, unity and democracy to the country and that “it is no good without the King”
After the third failed elections and on the eve of the parliamentary elections, the political scene of Serbia is boiling with promises and party duels, on who is the best for the citizens of Serbia. Somewhere in between, for the second time in the last 12 years, the idea of the return of monarchy and the King was revived again, as the way out from a certain cul-de-sac in which we are. To the surprise of many, Serbian Orthodox Church supported the idea. “The heart and soul” monarchists welcomed with joy the publishing of the document that suggests replacing of the republic with the constitutional parliamentary monarchy, while the hard core republicans wondered why the idea has not been given up, since it became outdated a long time ago.
After the statement of the Church, and of HRH Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic and the members of the Crown Council, there was a huge interest in additional explanations, with almost not a day without something about monarchy in the media, either “pro” or “contra”. In the interview for “Glas”, HRH Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic comments why the constitutional parliamentary monarchy is the best solution for Serbia at this moment. We talked in the Blue Salon of the Royal Palace in Dedinje, built by King Alexander I, the grandfather of HRH.
The injustice was done to Karadjordjevic Dynasty in 1945, but why do you believe this is the right moment for the return of the monarchy and that the Crown will bring the so much wanted stability in a poor country, torn in political disputes?
- The right time is every day for stability, unity and continuity. The aim is to do everything to make the democratic process work. The King reigns, the government rules the country. Regrettably, we have had the failed presidential elections. That is a terrible price that our people had to pay. A bad image is being created in the country and abroad. My recommendation is to do everything to bring things to normal in our country, to respect all political parties and the democratic process.
From the statements of the members of the Crown Council and the fervent monarchists, it appears that it is no good without the King?
- There are good and bad republics, good and bad monarchs. But if you look at the European Union, and outside it, there are some very good constitutional parliamentary monarchies. The system is fully democratic, respecting all religions, all political beliefs, human rights and different ethnic groups. Perhaps the saying should go “it is no good without the King and stability”. Of course, the King must respect everybody. No exceptions. To respect all religions, all ethnic groups and let the Government run its everyday job and rule the country. That is why there must be a parliament in both systems, republics and constitutional parliamentary monarchies. And the elections must be a success.
The opponents are interested what the idea to reestablish monarchy after 68 years is based on at all? At the time when even the Crown of the greatest and most famous monarchy is going through a crisis?
- As I have already said, the right moment is every day, and because of stability and democracy, we must not waste any more time. As for the allegations about the greatest and most famous monarchy, that is sheer rubbish. The monarchy in question is certainly Great Britain. That monarchy stands solid, and it was due to just one individual and the media that followed the story, that a negative publicity was created, but as we speak, the monarchy stands firm. There were many lies said lately, and I guarantee 100% those were the lies.
Was the recently presented idea of the reestablishment of monarchy your wish, or an estimate made with your associates?
- Let’s be open, I am what I am. My ancestor is Karadjordje and I am very proud of it, to have his blood in my veins. Obviously, after 200 years we should try to achieve what I believe is good for our people. To bring back stability and self respect to all citizens. The next year we are going to celebrate the bicentennial of the modern Serbian state and I am the one who keeps the whole thing going. What I want is to move forward and bring back our country to the world. So that the Government elected by the people can finally go back to its job and run the country.
Why do you refuse a referendum on monarchy and at the same time expect support from the international community?
- There are many ways to establish a state system or a constitution. The task ahead of us is to make our citizens feel good about the constitutional parliamentary monarchy. It is very important to have a new parliament and the elections on 28 December succeed. After that, the newly elected body must consider most seriously what our country needs. And what methods must be used to introduce it to our public. This is still a beginning for us, we have been here for two and a half years only. I would have come back much earlier, if it hadn’t been for the regime that worked against its own people. So the discussion on what constitution will we have and how will we adopt it, is quite open. Some are for the referendum, some are for the Constitutional Assembly.
How do you expect support from in particular, from your European Royal relatives or the international organizations? Or both?
- We are a sovereign country. And only we can decide on our destiny, as best as our Government and our people can. Certainly, there will be comments and disagreements from abroad with some events that are going to happen, but it is not up to foreign powers to interfere into what form of the state system we will have. The foreign governments have already stated their wish for us, and that is to have stability. If you look at the EU, there are constitutional parliamentary monarchies and republics who work day in day out together. Who is the closest ally of the USA? Great Britain, which is a kingdom. That is why I warn everybody, we must take responsibility for our country and then we will have respect from the whole Europe. That is called a government for the people, and respect will come by itself.
How do you comment the support that you got from Serbian Orthodox Church?
- It is wonderful what happened. I have the deepest respect for His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, for the Holy Synod and the entire Church. There is a tradition that the Church and the Crown work together for the benefit of the people. But, more than that, I have respect for all the religions. Which is precisely what the Patriarch said, if one has read his letter carefully. It is always the greatest pleasure to meet with the Patriarch, as I did two days ago, just as it is a pleasure to meet other religious leaders. They all respect everybody. In addition, in a democracy, everybody has the right to be whatever one wants. There is no doubt that in our country lives the majority of Orthodox Serbs, but we all get along well with the others and that is a good thing, that is democracy.
Will monarchy fill the wallets and the stomachs of our impoverished citizens, and how do you intend to achieve that, if the answer is affirmative?
- That is the whole point, to try to fight poverty. To improve our social services, health care system, which can only be achieved through stability and hard work of the Government elected by the people. What I recommend functions very well in all constitutional parliamentary monarchies, and that is that the head of state does not belong to any political party, but respects all parties. My wife and I have shown concern for our people through humanitarian activities, we support the process of helping everyone, and of course there are many problems on that road. Not only to face poverty, we also have a responsibility toward our refugees. If we have a stable state, we will be able to cope with the problems in a much more efficient way.
Does the reestablishment of monarchy inevitably causes the downfall of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro?
- I want to point out that there are republics and constitutional parliamentary monarchies in the EU, working together on daily basis for the benefit of all citizens of the EU. In addition, the presidency over the EU rotates every six months. Sometimes it’s a republic presiding of the EU, sometimes it’s a constitutional parliamentary monarchy. They all take their turns. So we might all get used to that here. And I simply can’t stress enough, a republic or a constitutional parliamentary monarchy, we have no choice but to cooperate with each other – if we want to be a part of the EU. Simply, we must not fight. We must work together for the benefit of everybody. We might as well start now.
What are your relationships with Montenegrin Prince Nikola Petrovic?
- I am very proud to have Montenegrin blood in my veins. Prince Nikola is a friend of mine, as well as his family and we have met on many occasions.
How do you spend your time in Belgrade, how do you live, what do you do? Your wife and you are very much engaged in humanitarian work...?
- We are very happy to be back home, that has always been my dream. I was born in 1945, on a small piece of Yugoslav territory, and that was the apartment of the hotel I was born in. The then British Government was kind enough to proclaim the apartment Yugoslav territory. I was very happy when in 2001 the then Federal Minister of Internal Affairs Mr. Zoran Zivkovic came to London and returned citizenship to me and my family. The whole circle closed then. And then, in July 2001, we came back here, to the house where my father and my grandfather used to live. We must feel the problems that exist in our country and we must help. My wife has continued her humanitarian activities through the new Foundation of HRH Crown Princess Katherine, and also through her organization “Lifeline” that works abroad. Of course, I very much respect the humanitarian work of Princess Elizabeth. I have also dedicated myself to help in making contacts and to try to bring investors and partners for our companies. We were the hosts to a number of conferences and meetings here, and I have traveled with our Ministers abroad, trying to promote the possibilities for investing into our country. And I expect I will be cooperating with the new Government in creating the policy of investments into our country, for we have great possibilities and great potential. Our country urgently needs to revive production, to create new jobs and to have money so that we all live better.
Have your sons adopted our culture and language, and is any of them going to continue education in Belgrade?
- My sons love our country very much, but when we came back here we made a decision that they should finish their education, and not to take them away from their Universities just like that. They come here every few months, they were here for my wife’s birthday last month. But they can’t leave their Universities for longer periods. Soon they will have a holiday and we are going to spend it as a family, just after Christmas. And since they are young, and love sport, we are going to Kopaonik, where they will enjoy snowboarding.
Copyright © 1998 NJ.K.V. Prestolonaslednik Aleksandar II
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