Cross-section view of the current Serbian political scene

Part 2 – Hypothetical solution

, by Miloš Stanić

Cross-section view of the current Serbian political scene

As presented in the previous part of the article, current political scene in Serbia is deeply corrupted and driven mainly by day-to-day interests of the few undisputed political parties. The main scope of the hypothetical solution that I am hereby presenting is thorough change in the very core of Serbian democratic model, which would result in decentralization and lowering the political party influence on the society.

Primary problem is that the owner of the mandate in Serbian parliament is the political party itself and not the MP. This may be appropriate if you are talking about highly developed democratic societies, where it is tolerated that an MP has a different opinion (votes differently on certain issues) than the majority of his party. In Serbia, such cases are strictly (unofficially, though) forbidden. An MP who would demonstrate disobedience would immediately suffer consequences and sanctions from his party, even though the justification of his action could be rooted in simple, ethically correct and rational stance. I find this phenomenon of “thought-narrowing” insulting for fundamental principles of democracy.

Second large problem is that people on the elections vote for the parties, without knowing who will end up in the parliament (although such information is officially available). In other words, political parties choose the MPs, not the people. Furthermore, party’s choice of MPs is far from geographically equal, which puts certain areas of Serbia in bad position. In conclusion, the common people are very far away from the parliament and vice versa, of course, which causes tremendous social gaps. This, again, results in politicians being completely unaware of needs of the nation, which ultimately leads to horrible internal politics and general social dissatisfaction.

Party’s choice of MPs is far from geographically equal, which puts certain areas of Serbia in bad position.

Solution could be found in reorganizing the parliament and the voting process so that each of the municipalities in Serbia (close to two hundred, which is close to the number of MPs), in respect to the number of inhabitants, get at least one MP. To make it clearer, on the parliament elections, people would not vote for any of the parties, but rather for a local MP candidate (who might be a member of a certain party, but not necessarily so) and who would personally represent his municipality in the parliament. In addition to this reform, a mechanism for equal financing of candidate campaigns should be developed. This would be beneficial in many ways and I will count only some of them:

- More direct contact between a common man and the political “elite”.
- Less space for manipulation/corruption and more responsibility burdened on every particular MP, since now he is “one of the locals” and the results are obvious to the local public.
- An MP would have to think and act rationally in order to help and develop his local community and indirectly, the country. This is crucial in order to solve the problem from the third paragraph.
- Decentralization (current level of decentralization in Serbia is on embarrassingly low level).
- Equal chances for independent MP candidates, which would help reduce the large impact of the political parties and reduce the level of corruption.

Also, a mechanism that would allow a possibility of changing the MP during his mandate would be a sort of stimulus for an MP to work as hard as possible. Many details have been left out of this short essay, but I deeply believe that such a system would give much better results and if nothing else, live up better to the notion of democracy than the current “political party dictatorship” in Serbia.

Image provided by the author.

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