Politics of Vojvodina: Wikis

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Vojvodina

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Vojvodina



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This is article about politics of Vojvodina. Vojvodina is an autonomous province in Serbia whose population is composed of 67.05% Serbs, 13.28% Hungarians, 2.79% Slovaks, 1.78% Croats and 15.1% others. Currently there are more than 25 ethnic groups living in Vojvodina and six official languages. The current political status of Vojvodina is regulated by the Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina from 2009.

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Autonomy

The Autonomous Province of Vojvodina was established on September 1, 1945, as an autonomous entity within Serbia, although it had several political predecessors such as Serbian Vojvodina (1848-1849), Serbian Voivodship and Tamiš Banat (1849-1860) and Danube Banovina (1929-1941).

In 1945, the amount of its autonomy was limited. Vojvodina's name was changed on April 7, 1963 to the Socialist Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. Under the 1974 constitution Vojvodina obtained extensive autonomy, and became one of the subjects of the Yugoslav federation.

On July 5, 1989 this extensive autonomy was largely revoked by Milošević's regime and the amount of autonomy of Vojvodina had became nominal and greatly limited. On March 28, 1990 the name of the province was reverted back to Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.

After the Bulldozer Revolution on October 5, 2000, and change of the regime in the country, the amount of autonomy of Vojvodina was increased and is regulated by the Omnibus law from 2002. The new constitution of Serbia from 2006 did not change the status of Vojvodina regulated in 2002, although it further defined the provincial budget.

On December 14, 2009 the Assembly of Vojvodina proclaimed the new Statute of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. The Executive Council was renamed Government of Vojvodina consisting of the president, four vise-presidents and members.

History of the autonomist movement

Svetozar Miletić (1826-1901), political leader of Serbs in Vojvodina

The movement for autonomy of Vojvodina was always led by local Serbs, who were largest ethnic group in the region. The roots of the autonomist movement are dated in 1691, when Habsburg Emperor recognized the right of the Serbs to have one separate autonomous voivodship within the Habsburg Monarchy. The autonomy, however, was not realised in that time, and in 1790 (almost 100 years after the promise of the emperor), the Serbs organized their national assembly in Timişoara (today in Romania), where they asked for autonomy. These demands were, however, rejected by the Austrians.

In 1848, as a response to the policy of the revolutionary Hungarian government, the Serbs, in accordance with right given in 1691, proclaimed the creation of an autonomous region named the Serbian Vojvodina. This time, the autonomy was recognized by the Habsburg emperor, and in November 1849, a separate Habsburg province named the Serbian Voivodship and Tamiš Banat was created as a political successor of the Serbian Voivodship.

However, since the policy of the Habsburgs towards Hungarians has changed, the Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat was abolished in 1860, and most of its territory was incorporated into Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary. As a response to the abolishment of the voivodship, the Serbs in 1861 organized national assembly known as the "Blagoveštenski Sabor", where they asked for reestablishment of the voivodship. The constitution of the voivodship was also adopted on the assembly. The rulers of the Monarchy, however, did not accepted these demands of the Serbs. Instead of it, the autonomy was in 1867 given to the Hungarians, and the Serbs found themselves in the Hungarian part of the Monarchy. The political struggle for autonomy of Vojvodina, however, was continued by the Serb deputies in the Hungarian parliament, until the end of the Monarchy in 1918.

A new opportunity for the autonomy of Vojvodina arisen in 1918, after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. On November 25, 1918, the Great people's assembly of Serbs, Bunjevci and other Slavs from Vojvodina decided to join this region to the Kingdom of Serbia, as well as to form new autonomous government of Vojvodina known as the People's administration for Banat, Bačka and Baranja. Although, the government in Belgrade accepted the decision that Vojvodina join to Serbia, it did not recognized the People's administration. The People's administration was active until March 11, 1919, when it held its last session.

Since the autonomy was not realised, and the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was centralised country, the new autonomist movement emanated, again led by local Serbs. The Danube Banovina, a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia formed in 1929, did not had a large amount of autonomy, thus the autonomist movement was also active after the creation of this province. The idea of autonomous Vojvodina was also accepted by the communist party, and after occupation of Vojvodina by the Axis Powers in 1941, the communist party and its partisan resistance movement started a struggle against the occupation. The aim of this struggle, as it was presented by the communist party, was a future autonomous Vojvodina in which all ethnic groups that live there would be equal. The Serbs, who were main victims of the Axis regimes, as well as other peoples of Vojvodina, participated in this struggle, and after the end of the war, the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina was established.

After much of the autonomy of Vojvodina was revoked by Milošević's regime in 1989, the new movement for autonomy of the province emanated, supported by both, the local Serbs, and the ethnic minorities. The view of the autonomist movement is that the revoking of the autonomy in 1989 had destroyed the economy of Vojvodina, thus for the improvement of the economy, Vojvodina need more autonomy. Unlike the political movement of Kosovar Albanians, the autonomist movement in Vojvodina never aimed to separation from Serbia, but only to large level of autonomy of Vojvodina within Serbia.

Opinions about status of Vojvodina

In 2003 there was an Opinion Poll implemented by the "Skan" agency from Novi Sad, in which the citizens of Vojvodina answered the question: "What status of Vojvodina is most acceptable for you?". The answers were:

  • Autonomy as it was in 1974 (14.0%)
  • Same level of autonomy as it is now (21.3%)
  • More autonomy in Serbia, but less than in 1974 (44.2%)
  • Vojvodina as a republic within Yugoslavia (4.5%)
  • Every autonomy should be abolished (5.8%)
  • Independent Vojvodina (3.0%)
  • Something else (1.9%)
  • I do not know (5.3%)

According to this poll 75.5% of the citizens supported autonomy of Vojvodina within Serbia, while 14.2% supported idea to gain more autonomy than Vojvodina had in that time. 5.5% of the citizens saw Vojvodina as a republic within Serbia and Montenegro (Yugoslavia), 5.8% thought that every autonomy should be abolished, and 3.0% saw Vojvodina as an independent state.

Source: Dragomir Jankov, Vojvodina - propadanje jednog regiona, Novi Sad, 2004.

Regionalist political parties

There are several regionalist political parties in Vojvodina. Some of those are:

All these political parties advocating more autonomy for Vojvodina within Serbia. The most popular of them is League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina. This party see Serbia as a federal state and Vojvodina as a republic within federal Serbia. It is important to note that there are no political parties in Vojvodina which advocate independence for the province; all parties advocate more or less autonomy within Serbia.

Major political parties

Major important political parties popular throughout Serbia, which have a significant number of voters in Vojvodina are:

Regarding the autonomy of Vojvodina, all these political parties advocating that Vojvodina should retain autonomous status within Serbia either with current level of autonomy either with a slight increase of this level. Even the Serbian Radical Party, which previously was for the abolishment of Vojvodina recently accepted the level of autonomy which Vojvodina currently have. Two most popular political parties in Vojvodina are Democratic Party and Serbian Radical Party.

Minority political parties

There are also minority ethnic political parties. Some of those are:

The most popular of those is Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians. This party advocating more autonomy for Vojvodina, but also advocating the creation of Hungarian Regional Autonomy (Mađarska regionalna samouprava), a separate autonomous region in northern part of Vojvodina. This autonomous region would include the nine municipalities of northern Vojvodina: Subotica, Bačka Topola, Mali Iđoš, Kanjiža, Senta, Ada, Bečej, Čoka, and Novi Kneževac. The administrative centre of the region would be Subotica, while the region itself would be part of Vojvodina and Serbia.

Local regionalist movements

  • Banat Forum (Banatski forum) is a local political movement in Banat, which advocating the special political status of Banat within Vojvodina.

Legislative power

Parties with largest number of seats in municipal parliaments after 2004 local elections in Vojvodina
Parties with largest number of seats in municipal parliaments after 2008 local elections in Vojvodina

The Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina has 120 seats.

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2004 elections

Seats in the Vojvodina Assembly after provincial elections in October 2004:

2008 elections

Seats in the Vojvodina Assembly after provincial elections in May 2008: [1]

Coalition "For a European Vojvodina" led by Democratic Party won the 2008 election and gained absolute majority of seats in the assembly (64 of 120). Generally speaking, the results of 2008 elections showed that citizens of Vojvodina gave wider support to moderate multi-ethnic Democratic Party instead to nationalistic mono-ethnic parties such are Serbian Radical Party or Hungarian Coalition, since these ethnic parties recorded notable decrease of support among the citizens compared to 2004 elections.

Executive power

The ruling coalition in the Vojvodina government after 2004 elections was composed of the following political parties: Democratic Party, Together for Vojvodina (the coalition of several regionalist political parties led by League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina), Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, and Serbian Strength Movement. During this time, the president of Vojvodinian government was Bojan Pajtić (Democratic Party), while president of Vojvodinian parliament was Bojan Kostreš (League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina).

Following the 2008 elections, government of Vojvodina is composed of these parties: Democratic Party, G17 Plus, Hungarian Coalition, League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina, and Socialist Party of Serbia. Bojan Pajtić from Democratic Party was re-elected as president of Vojvodinian government, while president of Vojvodinian parliament became Sándor Egeresi from Hungarian Coalition. [2]

See also

References


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