Politics of Vojvodina

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The politics of Vojvodina function within the framework of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. The province has a legislative assembly composed of 120 proportionally elected members, and a government composed of a president and cabinet ministers. The current political status of Vojvodina is regulated by the Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina from 2008.

Autonomy[edit]

The Autonomous Province of Vojvodina was established in October 1944 and its political status was regulated on September 1, 1945, as an autonomous entity within Serbia, although it had several political predecessors such as Serbian Vojvodina (1848–1849), Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar (1849–1860), Banat, Bačka and Baranja (1918-1919), 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 became nominal and greatly limited. On March 28, 1990 the name of the province was reverted 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 was regulated by the Omnibus law from 2002. The new constitution of Serbia from 2006 did not changed the status of Vojvodina regulated in 2002, although it further defined the provincial budget.

On October 18, 2008 the Assembly of Vojvodina adopted the Statute of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.[1] The Executive Council was renamed Government of Vojvodina consisting of the president, four vise-presidents and members.

History of the autonomist movement[edit]

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 date to 1691, when the Habsburg Emperor recognized the right of the Serbs to have one separate autonomous voivodship within the Habsburg Monarchy. The autonomy, however, was not realised at 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.

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

In 1848, as a response to the policy of the revolutionary Hungarian government, the Serbs, in accordance with the 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 Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar was created as a political successor of the Serbian Vojvodina.

However, since the policy of the Habsburgs towards the Hungarians had changed, the Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar was abolished in 1860, and most of its territory was incorporated into the Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary. As a response to the abolition 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, 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 the autonomy of Vojvodina, however, was continued by the Serb deputies in the parliament of the Kingdom of Hungary, until the end of the Monarchy in 1918.

Blagoveštenski assembly in Sremski Karlovci, 1861

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 a 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 recognize the People's administration. The People's administration was active until March 11, 1919, when it held its last session.

Since autonomy was not realised, and the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was a 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 have a large degree of autonomy, thus the autonomist movement was also active after the creation of this province. The idea of an 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 would be equal. The Serbs, who were the 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 for separation from Serbia, but only a significant level of autonomy for Vojvodina within Serbia.

On January 28, 2013 as an answer to the proposal of the Third Serbia political organization from Novi Sad to abolish the autonomy of Vojvodina[2][3] the Vojvodina's Party presented a message "the Republic of Vojvodina" in Novi Sad.[4] However, both political organizations are lacking any wider support among population of Vojvodina.

Institutions[edit]

Assembly[edit]

The Assembly of Vojvodina is the provincial legislature composed of 120 proportionally elected members. The current members were elected in the 2012 provincial election.

Government[edit]

The Government of Vojvodina (formerly Executive Council) is the executive administrative body composed of a president and cabinet ministers. The incumbent president and cabinet were elected in the 2012 provincial election. Bojan Pajtić (DS) was re-elected president.

Political parties[edit]

Results of the 2012 local elections in Vojvodina

National political parties[edit]

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

According to last provincial elections from 2012, two most popular political parties in Vojvodina are Democratic Party and Serbian Progressive Party. In 2004 elections, the most popular was Serbian Radical Party, but support for this party was significantly diminished over the years.

Regionalist political parties[edit]

Regionalist political parties in Vojvodina, which advocate greater autonomy for Vojvodina (some of the listed parties are no longer active):

These political parties advocating or advocated more autonomy for Vojvodina within Serbia. Banat Forum is a local regionalist political movement in Banat, which advocating the special political status of Banat within Vojvodina.

National minorities' political parties[edit]

Hungarian regional autonomy, proposed by the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians

National minority political parties in Vojvodina:

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.

Elections[edit]

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

Provincial elections are held in Vojvodina every 4 years.

2004 elections[edit]

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

Although Serbian Radical Party won the elections, it was unable to form the provincial government, which was formed by the Democratic Party and several other parties: 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).

2008 elections[edit]

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). Following the 2008 elections, government of Vojvodina was 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]

2012 elections[edit]

In 2012 elections, party coalition Choice for a Better Vojvodina led by the Democratic Party won the elections and formed new Vojvodina government. Other parties that participating in the government are League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina and Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians. Bojan Pajtić from Democratic Party was again re-elected as president of Vojvodinian government, while president of Vojvodinian parliament became István Pásztor from Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians.

Support for autonomy[edit]

2003 opinion poll about status of Vojvodina[edit]

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:[5]

  • Autonomy as it was in 1974 (34.0%)
  • Same level of autonomy as it is now (21.3%)
  • More autonomy in Serbia, but less than in 1974 (20.2%)
  • Vojvodina as a republic within Yugoslavia (6.5%)
  • Every autonomy should be abolished (5.8%)
  • Independent Vojvodina (5.0%)
  • 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 54.2% supported idea to gain more autonomy than Vojvodina had in that time. 6.5% of the citizens saw Vojvodina as a republic within Serbia and Montenegro (Yugoslavia), 5.8% thought that every autonomy should be abolished, and 5.0% saw Vojvodina as an independent state.

See also[edit]

References[edit]