“Narodne novine”, Nis, 6-7 January 2004
INTERVIEW OF CROWN PRINCE ALEXANDER TO “NARODNE NOVINE”
MONARCH PROTECTS THE PEOPLE, NOT THE PARTIES
- The King is not a member of any political party, while the president owes loyalty to a political party
- The King is a meeting point , a symbol of unity and continuity
- Monarchy is a warrant of stability
- European Union consists of monarchies and republics that work together closely
- Serbia can’t be a loser forever, left behind Europe’s back
- I believe in democracy and respect of all
- Friendship and good cooperation with European countries and America
- Members of the Dynasty must work for the benefit of the people
Near the end of last year and on the eve of the parliamentary elections in Serbia, a letter was sent to Crown Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle, containing a proposal to raise the issue of reestablishment of monarchy in Serbia. The letter to the Crown Prince, who has lived with his family in The White Palace in Dedinje since the arrival of the new Serbian democratic government in 2000, came after two failed presidential elections, and caused different reactions of the public. Is it necessary to organize a referendum, or continue where monarchy was abolished, is it good at all to turn a republic into monarchy, were only some of the questions that could be heard. The fact is that Serbia had always been either a kingdom or an empire, from the times she was established till the WW2, i.e. liberation from the German occupation, and monarchy was abolished by a FNRJ (Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia) decree in 1945. The fact is, also, that Alexander II Karadjordjevic is the heir to the throne. That is why we asked him to answer a few questions regarding monarchy and our country’s future, for “Narodne novine”.
After the letter from His Holiness Patriarch Pavle to you, proposing to reestablish parliamentary monarchy in Serbia, many reactions followed. How do you comment them?
It was very moving to receive His Holiness Patriarch Pavle’s letter. The Church and Crown have a long tradition.
A lot of people in Serbia do not see, or understand the advantages of Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy, and the role of the King in it?
The advantages in favour of a parliamentary Monarchy are strong in that the King is not a member of any political Party, respects all citizens and owes no favours to any political entity. The king is the meeting point, the symbol of unity and continuity and the defender of democracy. In a Parliamentary Monarchy the parliament is elected in free and fair elections and the Prime Minister rules with his cabinet. Serbia needs unity and that is what a Parliamentary Monarchy will provide like in Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Japan etc. The government must get on with the task of ruling the country.
There’s a lot of manipulation considering the obligations of the people towards the King, and vice versa. How do you see those relations?
The favours are more pronounced in a republic in that the president owes allegiance to his or her political party which is not the case in a Parliamentary Monarchy. Just note how stable Parliamentary Monarchies are such as the United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, New Zealand etc.. It is very clear that the monarch in Parliamentary Monarchy is not subject to corruption and manipulations that we have experienced so much in the past in our political system. Of course there are good republics and we can learn a lot from them, but the solution for Serbia is definitely a Parliamentary Monarchy in that it will provide the desperately needed stability for progress and jobs.
Do you find yourself prepared enough to accept the task of the King, and do you have support from other countries?
We are a sovereign country and must take charge of our destiny like all sovereign countries. What the international community is looking for is stability and reforms in our country. Maybe you would like to know that within the European Union there are Republics and Parliamentary Monarchies that work together on a daily basis and rotate the presidency of the European Union every six months so we might as well get used to it. In addition the United Sates closest ally is a kingdom – the United Kingdom. So the quicker we stop working against each the better. The government and parliament must work for the good of all citizens.
A lot of people think that it is too early to talk of restoring the Monarchy because of the numerous problems in our country, like the problem of Kosovo. Do you think that it is the right time for such action or that we should wait some more time?
That is not quite correct as it is the right time for the desperately needed stability. We must have stability and a proper civil atmosphere now because we cannot be always the losers or left behind in Europe. The obvious solution for stability and good government is Parliamentary Monarchy. To solve problems we need a strong united government that is able to communicate in a serious manner with the international community and have a strategy for the economic and political development of our country. The weaker we are and more disunited then foreign governments will take advantage of our country. We need a focused government and as I have said Parliamentary Monarchy will provide stability and a positive working environment for the government and parliament.
It is a fact that the Monarchy was illegally abolished, so it would be enough to restore it by parliamentary decision, but, how do you feel about referendum on the Monarchy?
Yes it was illegally abolished and a totalitarian undemocratic system was imposed on the people of Yugoslavia against their will whilst Western Europe gradually progressed with democracy after the Second World War and Yugoslavia had a single party system. We must fully respect all citizens regardless of their religion, political affiliation and ethnic origin. It is up to our parliament to discuss fairly and maturely what constitution we should have and the method of transition. My position is one for all citizens so a presidential style campaign with balloons would be undemocratic for Parliamentary Monarchy and even a Parliamentary Republic. Naturally our people must know much more about how a Parliamentary Monarchy and a Parliamentary Republic function. In addition the experience of such constitutions as the Spanish one would be of great interest to our parliamentary experts, the government, our parliament and our people. Spain’s transition from a dictatorship to democracy to member of the Europe Union is a good experience and example to study.
If there is a Monarchy in Serbia, would it affect the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro?
No it would not affect the relationship because we should use the example of the European Union in that there are Republics and Monarchies working together on a daily basis for the good of all citizens in the European Union. We might as well get used to that civil attitude.
You appear quite happy living in your own country, and you do a lot to make the people of this country happy as well. Could you tell us something more about that?
I love our people and our people are very bright, but they need a future. They need jobs, good social services, good health care and security. Our people long for our country to be respected and to be strong. My wife and I have traveled all over our country with humanitarian assistance and have met with so many people who have different views and are free to tell us what they think and are concerned about such as jobs. I believe in democracy and respect for all. I hope that our politicians will always respect everyone and even after a debate or argument and shake hands even over a drink.
What kind of relationship do you have with other monarchies in Europe, and how much help do you expect from them?
My relationship is excellent with all the monarchies and republics. If we are capable to have stability and I advocate Parliamentary Monarchy then we will always have good relations with Republics and Monarchies. My wife and I have had the pleasure to be the guests of many monarchies and high ranking politicians from republics. We have always enjoyed the friendship and stress the importance of good public relations and image making for our country.
What role would other members of The Royal family have in the Monarchy, and what do your sons think of the Crown?
My wife is working hard with humanitarian projects and her foundation. The boys have to finished their universities and get job experience, but they come home for holidays and events. I expect other members of the royal family to work for the common good of all citizens and not against each other.
What is your opinion on political and economic situation in Serbia today, and how it should look like in future?
We need stability and a strategy. Our citizens need good information and explanations about what to expect and what is needed to make things happen for prosperity. Our citizens don’t need politicians who work against each other and get caught endless in bickering. Our citizens need ethnics and honesty. We are a new democracy and actually the newest one in Europe. We have incredible potential to a great country and the leader in our region if we do not shoot each other in the foot. The future will be bright if we put our differences aside.
Could you describe your relationship with the political parties in Serbia, and ethnic and religious groups in Serbia?
I respect all political parties that abide by the democratic process and I am proud to have good relations with them. I am not a member of any political party. I have excellent relations with all religions and ethnics groups. We are one nation and the way forward is to respect everyone.
How do you intend to spend this Christmas?
We will be together as a family. The boys will be coming for Christmas. We will have Badnje Vece and a service in our church.
SERBIAN CROWN IN THE NATIONAL BANK
We would also like you to tell us something more of the crown itself: where is it at the moment, when and how it was made, where do you think the coronation should take place, and where would be the King’s residence
The crown of King Peter I was found a few years ago in a safe of the National Bank. In fact it was on an exhibition in Belgrade. The crown was made from the bronze of King Peter I cannons. The king’s residence is exactly where I am living with my family now and that is Kraljevski Dvor in Dedinje.
Copyright © 1998 NJ.K.V. Prestolonaslednik Aleksandar II
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