This time, public interest for the Democratic party is not caused by cheering this or that person who would manage it. Even without dismissing the well-known fact that the role of personality in politics is very important. Much mentioned Max Weber knew this very well: out of three sources of legitimacy in politics he singled out the power based on charismatic personality. Even though he himself didn’t thoroughly describe this type of power, his successors claimed that the meaning of the charismatic leader is in his ability to connect individual and opposing trends in society in a new way; this new gestalt is the new interpretation which was not perceived up to then.
This excursion into the meaning of charismatic personality was needed as the contrast to what is happening in the Democratic party. The problem of the DP is not finding a charismatic leader or talented politician, although this is always welcome – but the fact that, after the elections, a simple political ratio which would determine what was wrong, i.e. why Tadic lost the election, didn’t prevail. Not understanding what they did wrong is what has led the party into crisis. The very possibility that Boris Tadic could once again be a candidate for party leader points to the fact that there was no clash with the old politics. Even he himself didn’t try to understand why thousands of people boycotted him by not voting in the election, neither did his successor – Dragan Djilas – understand what was wrong with Tadic’s eight-year long reign. So the successor himself made Tadic’s return possible.
Lack of political break-up was clear when democratic elections within the Party were canceled. They were replaced by rotten compromise, i.e. a deal between the former and current president of the party about what Tadic would get, how many of his people will be in the presidency and how many of Djilas’s. The shift at the top was done under “gentlemen’s principles”. And those principles are by their nature apolitical. So, the roles were divided among friends: Djilas became the new president and Tadic the honorary president of the party. That very anachronism, that a modern party has an honorary president, shows that greater efforts were put into finding a nice home for everyone than into initiating a serious discussion on why elections were lost.
Since no watershed was established between Tadic and Djilas, and between the old and new politics, Tadic could be a president of the party as much as Djilas. However, the DP was not only affected by its own problems, which were its own fault. It was also under great pressure from the government, mainly the Serbian Progressive Party. Tabloids persecuted party members and officials, primarily Djilas, and printed packs of lies about him. The strategy of the SPP is to destroy the Democratic Party. This would be best achieved by dragging the DP into a coalition after early elections, i.e. by supporting Tadic’s ambition to return to the head of the party. The only decision that can save the party from external destruction – is the decision that the DP won’t, under any circumstances, accept a coalition with the SPP. And this will be decided at the next meeting of the DP main board.
Why is consolidation of the DP important for the public? It is important because the defense of the DP addresses the question who will replace the current government. Democratic public should and must defend the principles of replaceability of the government and fair elections (which is already an issue) – as the only legacy of October 5th. If the DP doesn’t survive as a big party and potential winner of future elections, this government’s only competition would be the anti-European parties of extreme right. That would, in fact, mean that Aleksandar Vucic’s government might survive “forever and ever”. Compared to extremists, he would easily and by default be “a lesser evil”.
The coming meeting of the Steering Committee of the DP could compensate what was lost. They just need to ascertain that the DP under Tadic betrayed itself by not pulling Serbia towards the EU more energetically and by not addressing the national issue and Kosovo with more clairvoyance, by not terminating the rotten partocratic state as the main source of corruption and lawlessness and by not structurally separating the state from economy, as a way to get rid of tycoons. The DP should position itself equally clearly as an opposition party. From that position it would build its political strategy and new politics, which would mean that the old is gone and left behind.
Translated by Marijana Simic
Vesna Pešić, političarka, borkinja za ljudska prava i antiratna aktivistkinja, sociološkinja. Diplomirala na Filozofskom fakultetu u Beogradu, doktorirala na Pravnom, radila u Institutu za društvene nauke i Institutu za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju, bila profesorka sociologije. Od 70-ih pripada peticionaškom pokretu, 1982. bila zatvarana sa grupom disidenata. 1985. osnivačica Jugoslovenskog helsinškog komiteta. 1989. članica Udruženja za jugoslovensku demokratsku inicijativu. 1991. članica Evropskog pokreta u Jugoslaviji. 1991. osniva Centar za antiratnu akciju, prvu mirovnu organizaciju u Srbiji. 1992-1999. osnivačica i predsednica Građanskog saveza Srbije (GSS), nastalog ujedinjenjem Republikanskog kluba i Reformske stranke, sukcesora Saveza reformskih snaga Jugoslavije Ante Markovića. 1993-1997. jedna od vođa Koalicije Zajedno (sa Zoranom Đinđićem i Vukom Draškovićem). 2001-2005. ambasadorka SR Jugoslavije, pa SCG u Meksiku. Posle gašenja GSS 2007, njegovim prelaskom u Liberalno-demokratsku partiju (LDP), do 2011. predsednica Političkog saveta LDP-a, kada napušta ovu partiju. Narodna poslanica (1993-1997, 2007-2012).