The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), that is, the unusual coalition of Chetniks and liberals better known as Preokret (Upheaval), had a rather miserable result at the parliamentary elections, which were held just a week ago. The coalition won only 20 seats in the parliament, almost 10 less than what LDP counted on prior to the elections. However, this is not all – on the Belgrade level, LDP did not even pass the 5% electoral threshold. In the city where this party should be one of the strongest, it failed to win the support of voters to enter the city assembly. How did this political upheaval happen? Why did LDP suffer such a fiasco at the level of Belgrade (and Vojvodina), as well as a serious blowback on the parliamentary level?
At this time, there are two schools of though. The first explains such a bad result of the Preokret coalition with the phenomenon of white votes. Indeed, the number of white votes was unusually high at this election, especially considering the fact that there was no active campaign promoting white votes – 0 (I repeat – zero) dinars was spent on promoting this political option. Thus, if there were around 4.5% of white votes, we come to the simple conclusion that LDP lost at least 150.000 votes on the parliamentary level only because of this phenomenon. This conclusion can be explained by the following political assumption: white votes come from LDP voters. And evidence supporting this statement is abundant. First of all, elementary logic. SRS, for example, did not pass the electoral treshold because its votes were distributed between SNS, Kostunica (Democratic Party of Serbia) and the right-wing movement Dveri. Thus, SRS votes went somewhere else. LDP votes did not “move” to a safer place, because the only logical explanation could be that LDP voters chose to support the Democratic Party, but, having in mind the poor result of Tadic’s party, this evidently did not happen. Furthermore, LDP voters probably did not stay at home on May 6, because the most fundamental difference between LDP supporters and others was the fact that they had a disciplined voter base. Thus, the only logical explanation for this can be the white votes.
I assume that the blame for the defeat of LDP will be laid on Pescanik, and a small group of people gathered around this unusual media. They will be blamed for supporting the white vote, introducing it to the public scene, and, finally, encouraging tens of thousands of citizens to show their protest in this form. Those who are angry at the white votes today, are forgetting that the critics of LDP’s and Jovanovic’s behavior have been calling for a dialogue between the party and its voters for a long time. This never happened, due primarily to the arrogance of Cedomir Jovanovic himself, which was evident when Vesna Pesic left the party. Many people warned Jovanovic that cutting ties with Pesic will not go as smoothly as the case was with Biljana Srbljanovic or Nikola Samardzic. Warnings fell on deaf ears – for he knows best.
However, the second school of though about the causes of LDP failure if far more interesting. There is a theory that the biggest burden on the shoulders of this party is exactly its leader. Green, yet experienced. Professionally unfulfilled, but very rich.. Cedomir Jovanovic became the biggest burden on the shoulders of his own party. Inadequate, narcissistic billboards depicting the young Jovanovic were one of the worst advertising solutions of this election. The campaign was expensive, and focused solely on the image and achievements of its leader. In the endearing promo video for the campaign “Spread it further” (Siri dalje) from 2008, many party officials showed their faces, shoulder to shoulder with the party leader. Needless to say that the majority of these people left the party on time, but even those who stayed, like, for example Nenad Prokic, did not appear in the campaign. They were replaced by people from the civil sector – and their direct and full support to one man and one party is something to be discussed.
Is it time for Cedomir Jovanovic to stand in front of a mirror, and begin a process of deep self-analysis? The first question he should ask himself is: why have so many voters decided to abandon me on such a short notice and participate in the campaign “Zero for zeroes”?
Amongst the most important issues is the following – exactly when did LDP stop being an alternative, successfully channeling the problems and needs of the best (the best educated, civil) part of Serbia. Another question for Cedomir should be – when did Beko and the Pharmacies of Belgrade became a more important resource than the LDP voters?
Maybe the key question for Jovanovic should be: How did you start resembling all the other corrupt bastards in the Serbian political life?
And we, the picky white votes, must start thinking where to next? This election showed that we “on the other side of Serbia” no longer have a political option to vote for. It became a zero, hand in hand with the messiah-size vanity of its leader.
Translated by Bojana Obradović