“Never pull a gun if you have no intention to shoot“, as a political preference, is a phrase I heard for the first time in the first half of the nineties, when Dr Drnovšek was describing me the point of his favourite film. It was an American western in which a lone rider confronts alone all those who oppress the city and fatally seduces the prettiest girl, brings peace and prosperity. However, it was not just about the film or the parable of the announcements.
A lone rider who will use guns only when it is absolutely necessary and also foresee all the consequences of such action, has become a part of the political philosophy which has been coming back, although changed and in quite new circumstances, and becoming some kind of red thread that connects the political practices of individual countries of the Western Balkans.
This is the only way to explain ourselves easier why Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia are connected by the announcement of possible or already certain early parliamentary elections. In times of crisis, new Balkan routes of the refugees and receptive fact that all what may have seemed, as Saša Vidmajer has written, somehow safely away in the camps of Lebanon, Yemen and Turkey, is coming to us, ideological preferences become almost irrelevant.
The importance is once again on a leader who is capable of making decisions. And even more, a political leader who can predict the consequences. A lone rider.
All these states of the non-Schengen Europe are connected by either demands or announcements of early parliamentary elections. A desire to take over the power again.
In Croatia, the representatives of the political association, who have enabled the majority and the formation of a new government with their and parliamentary votes, have also threatened, after the consultations with the winner of the parliamentary elections, to again incite a parliamentary crisis and new elections if they do not get the department of the interior ministry and the supervision of the secret services in the division of sectors in the government. Somehow on the edge of it, and for the better clarity of their requirements, they explain that their leader was under surveillance, wiretapping and monitoring all the time, by the competent public secret services. However, it can be stated with a relatively high certainty that Miroslav Karamarko’s party would win again possible new elections.
In Montenegro, things are a little more complicated. Part of the opposition, probably well sponsored by Russian “big uncles”, wanted to prevent an invitation for membership in NATO at first. They had wrongly read and understood US vice-president’s diction on one type of the conditional invitation to the authorities in Podgorica, which had not announced indecision and hesitance, but implied, with its content, an announcement of invitation in the membership of the NATO alliance. Such wrong evaluation of diplomatic meanings had caused the organization of various public protests, with only one single request, that the government resign. The organizers overlooked several key facts though. First, that the world, and also the Balkans, at least to this extent, is again part of measuring of power of a new, apparently a kind of a cold war, and still more of the deciding which part of the divided world we want to belong to. Furthermore, that the two major opposition parties, the only parties that would be able to change the evaluation of pro-Russian character of the demonstration, did not join them. The third overlooked fact was the most obvious. They wanted to convince the president of the ruling party and the government, Milo Đukanović, with these protests, to resign. Not really forethought and too easy for the leader who has had the power in the country for already at least twenty years and who was able, in the key political moments, to shift from Milošević’s ally into his severe and political opponent, as well as a favourite and desired interlocutor of European and American politicians. And he has been able to maintain such attention for decades. And that is why, toward the end of last year, Montenegro received an invitation from NATO alliance. Đukanović has further strengthened his internal political power. He took over the demands of the opposition. As the prime minister, he began offering early elections. And just before the New Year, right after the Catholic Christmas, he proposed to the government to accept the proposal of the vote of its confidence in the assembly. This time, he also explained that the government had been formed three years ago as a coalition government, but he added that, primarily after voting complications on presidential elections in 2013, the same government no longer had a clear political support and parliamentary majority. By that he meant, as it was explained the day before yesterday by Montenegrin President Filip Vujanović, also of the type of foreign investments, especially on the coastal area, which had received the approval of the government and on the basis of which the contracts were signed, but they were rejected by the parliament after that. This way, we are giving a message, Vujanović said, of unstable state that cannot execute the government’s decision in the parliament, and where the parliament has been changing into the part of the power that does not recognize the government.
This was followed by the evaluation of the government’s coalition partner that the current government was merely technical, with the task of preparing new parliamentary elections. Yesterday, the government has submitted to the parliament a request for a no-confidence vote to the government. As I have read in the explanation, the evaluation is that, after NATO invitation, all the conditions have been met for constitutional check of the political legitimacy of the government, and at the same time for the opportunity for everyone to vote against and delegitimize the executive power. Of course, there is no doubt that Đukanović’s government will get a parliamentary confidence.
Macedonian leader, head of the government, Nikola Gruevski, has agreed to opposition demands and managed to finish the negotiations started in mid-July last year, in Skopje, with the mediation of the European Commissioner for Enlargement, Hahn. That day, all four leaders of the parliamentary parties, Gruevski, Zoran Zaev, Ali Ahmeti and Menduh Thaci, signed an agreement on early parliamentary elections. Gruevski has announced yesterday that he will resign even before the 15th of January this year, in accordance with the agreement, and allow the establishment of an interim caretaker government, which should allow the organization of new, early elections, in April. The outcome in Macedonia is predictable too. Gruevski’s party will win again. He still has, in fact, the entire state apparatus within his power, and the number of public officials has almost doubled in the last period. All foreign investments are dependent on the ruling party. The state electoral commission has not yet started with its work. And primarily current government leader is on the head of a big and effective party apparatus, and he is able to make decisions. Even during the European refugee crisis.
In Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić had a meeting yesterday with his main coalition partner, foreign minister Dačić, whom he had publicly invited to a dialogue. He wants an answer from Serbian leader about the political reality of his occasional announcements on the organization of early parliamentary elections, that is, on their simultaneous organization together with the announced local and provincial elections. Vučić has already convened a congress of his party, where he should be voted with a new leadership and define the relationship between the reform and pro-Russian part of the party. Dačić, primarily a clever politician, certainly knows that the congress is also a place of statement of possible requests for new parliamentary elections. There is no doubt in Serbia either that the possible early parliamentary elections would be won by the current leader. Maybe even with a sufficient majority to rule alone.
The forecasts or decisions on an early check of confidence to the ruling parties are those that have united political decisions of the countries of the region at the beginning of a new year. And they are even more united by an entirely predictable election result, which would, contrary to the possible expectations of political opponents, only strengthen the power of present ones and their national policies.
The lone rider of Drnovšek’s political thoughts are not early elections. The lone rider who brings a real change and a better life in the city is Angela Merkel. Actually her Berlin process of large infrastructure investments, which triggers a new development cycle in the countries of the Western Balkans. Balkan new deal. Which is not possible without such leaders in individual countries, who are able to carry out such demanding project.
Karamarko, as well as Vučić, Gruevski and Đukanović know this very well.