Aleksandar Vučić

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Aleksandar Vučić
Aleksandar Vučić crop.jpg
11th Prime Minister of Serbia
Assumed office
27 April 2014
President Tomislav Nikolić
Deputy Ivica Dačić
Preceded by Ivica Dačić
First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia
In office
27 July 2012 – 27 April 2014
Prime Minister Ivica Dačić
Preceded by Ivica Dačić
Succeeded by Ivica Dačić
Minister of Defence
In office
27 July 2012 – 2 September 2013
Prime Minister Ivica Dačić
Preceded by Dragan Šutanovac
Succeeded by Nebojša Rodić
Minister of Information
In office
24 March 1998 – 24 October 2000
Prime Minister Mirko Marjanović
Preceded by Radmila Milentijević
Succeeded by Ivica Dačić
Bogoljub Pejčić
Biserka Matić Spasojević
Personal details
Born (1970-03-05) 5 March 1970 (age 45)
Belgrade, Yugoslavia
(now Serbia)
Political party Radical Party (1993–2008)
Progressive Party (2008–present)
Spouse(s) Ksenija Janković (1997–2011)
Tamara Đukanović (2013–present)
Children 2
Alma mater University of Belgrade
Religion Serbian Orthodox Christianity
Signature
Website Official Website

Aleksandar Vučić (Serbian Cyrillic: Александар Вучић, pronounced [aleksǎːndar ʋǔt͡ʃit͡ɕ], born 5 March 1970[1]) is a Serbian politician who is the Prime Minister of Serbia since 27 April 2014. He is also the leader and president of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS). Vučić served as Minister of Information from 1998 to 2000 and later as Minister of Defence from 2012 to 2013, as well as First Deputy Prime Minister from 2012 to 2014. He is a graduate of the Belgrade Law School.

Early life[edit]

Aleksandar Vučić was born in the family of Anđelko and Angelina (née Milanov) in Belgrade. His paternal family hails from Čipuljići near Bugojno in central Bosnia, from where they were expelled by the fascist Ustaše, settling near Belgrade where his father Anđelko was born. Vučić's paternal grandfather Anđelko, great-grandfather Rade, uncles and almost the entire family were killed by the Ustaše. Vučić's mother was born in Bečej in Vojvodina.[2][3] Both of his parents were economics graduates; his father worked as an economist, while mother was a journalist.[2]

Vučić was brought up in New Belgrade,[2] and finished the Branko Radičević Elementary School, and later a gymnasium in Zemun. He was an excellent student and a junior champion in chess. He graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade, where he was remembered as an outstanding student who received highest grades.[according to whom?] However, his career in politics prevented him from gaining the masters degree.[according to whom?] He learned English in Brighton, and worked as a merchant in London for some time. After returning to Yugoslavia, he worked as a journalist in Pale. There, he interviewed Radovan Karadžić and once played chess with Ratko Mladić.[4]

As a youngster, Vučić was a fan of the Red Star football club, often attending Red Star's matches,[4] including the one played between Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star on 13 May 1990, which turned out to be a huge riot.[5]

Political career[edit]

Aleksandar Vučić joined the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) in 1993 and was elected to the National Assembly following the 1993 parliamentary election. Two years later, at age 24, Vučić became secretary-general of the SRS. After his party won the local elections in Zemun in 1996, he became the director of Pinki Hall.[6] During his time in the SRS Vučić made many public appearances. One of them was his statement made in the Serbian National Assembly on 20 July 1995, in which he stated: "If you kill one Serb, we will kill 100 Muslims."[7][8] This happened just few days after the Srebrenica Genocide in which more than 8000 Muslims were systematically murdered by the Serbian forces.[9][better source needed] In 1995, Vučić visited Knin, Croatia (then under control of the rebel Republic of Serb Krajina) with Vojislav Šešelj to protest against the Z-4 plan.[10] Vučić ran in the Belgrade mayoral election twice, in 2004 and again in 2008, losing both times to candidates from the Democratic Party (DS).

Minister of Information (1998–2000)[edit]

In March 1998, Vučić was appointed Minister of Information in the government of Mirko Marjanović.[11] Following rising resentment against Milošević, Vučić introduced fines for journalists who criticized the government and banned foreign TV networks.[12] He recalled in 2014 that he was wrong and had changed, stating "I was not ashamed to confess all my political mistakes".

It was during Vučić's term as the Minister of Information that Slavko Ćuruvija, a prominent journalist, was murdered in a state-sponsored assassination, for his apparent defiance in his reporting.[13][14] In 1999, before the assassination took place, Vučić gave a front page interview to the tabloid Argument in which he stated "I will have my revenge on Slavko Ćuruvija for all the lies published in Dnevni telegraf [Ćuruvija's paper]"[15] In 2014, Vučić apologized to the Ćuruvija family for waiting so long to bring the perpetrators to justice, and thanked everyone who was involved in solving the case for their work.[16]

Radical Party to Progressive Party[edit]

On 6 September 2008 Deputy Leader of the Radical Party and de facto leader due to absence of Vojislav Šešelj, Tomislav Nikolić resigned, because of disagreement with Šešelj over SRS support for Serbia's EU membership, and with some other well known Radical Party members formed new parliamentary club called "Napred Srbijo!" (Forward Serbia!). On 12 September 2008 Nikolić and his group were officially ejected from the Radical Party on the session of SRS leadership. Vučić, as secretary-general was called to attend this session, but he did not appear. Tomislav Nikolić announced he would form his own party and called Vučić to join. Vučić, one of the most popular figures among SRS supporters, resigned from Radical Party on 14 September 2008.[17] The next day, Vučić announced his temporary withdrawal from politics.[18]

Aleksandar Vučić and U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in Washington D.C.

On 6 October 2008 Vučić confirmed in a TV interview that he was to join the newly formed Nikolić's Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and that he would be the Deputy President of the party.[19]

He then seemed to change his tune. In 2010 he made statements such as a "horrible crime was committed in Srebrenica", saying he felt "ashamed" of the Serbs who did it. "I do not hide that I have changed... I am proud of that," he told AFP in an interview in 2012. "I was wrong, I thought I was doing the best for my country, but I saw the results and we failed, We need to admit that."[20]

Nikolić stepped down as party leader on 24 May 2012 following his election as President of Serbia. Vučić assumed leadership until the next party congress is held to elect a new leader.[21] On 29 September 2012 Vučić was elected as party leader, with Jorgovanka Tabaković as his deputy.[22]

Minister of Defence and First Deputy Prime Minister (2012–2014)[edit]

Vučić briefly served as Minister of Defence and First Deputy Prime Minister from July 2012 to August 2013, when he stepped down from his position of Defence Minister in a cabinet reshuffle. Although the Prime Minister, Ivica Dačić, held formal power as head-of-government, many analysts thought that Vučić had the most influence in government as head of the largest party in the governing coalition and parliament.[12]

Prime Minister (2014–present)[edit]

After the 2014 Serbian parliamentary election Vučić's Serbian Progressive Party won 158 out of 250 seats in Parliament and formed a ruling coalition with the Socialist Party of Serbia. Vučić was elected Prime Minister of Serbia.

Invited by the Bosnian government to attend the annual Srebrenica Genocide Memorial, Vučić accepted, travelling to Srebrenica on 11 July 2015 to pay his respect. He was attacked by a mob in the crowd with stones, bottles and other objects and had to flee the premise. Members of the crows shouted "Allāhu Akbar" and "Die, Chetnik".[23] Social media has called him a "genocide denier".[24]

Policies[edit]

Anti-corruption and organized crime[edit]

Vučić has pledged to tackle corruption and organized crime in Serbia.[25][not in citation given] He also vowed to investigate controversial privatizations and ties between tycoons and former government members.[12][26] Vučić’s anti-corruption drive has recorded a 71 per cent personal approval rating in a March 2013 opinion poll,[25] though in more than two years it produced no convictions and only a handful of arrests.

EU membership and Kosovo[edit]

Vučić has been central to negotiations on Serbia’s bid for EU accession, traveling to Brussels for talks with the EU’s Foreign Affairs Commissioner, Baroness Ashton, as well as to North Kosovska Mitrovica to discuss the details of a political settlement between Belgrade and Pristina.[27][28] During his visit to northern Kosovo, to garner support for the Brussels-brokered deal, he urged Kosovo Serbs to “leave the past and think about the future”.[26]

Relations with Croatia[edit]

In 2007 Vučić made inflammatory[citation needed] remarks about the Democratic League of Croats in Vojvodina, calling it a branch of the Croatian Democratic Union.[29] In 2008, with the establishment of the Serbian Progressive Party, Vučić said that the goal of a Greater Serbia taking Croatian territory up to the proposed Virovitica-Karlovac-Karlobag line "is unrealistic and silly".[30] In December 2008 Vučić announced that he would make a visit to Croatian Serbs, causing a controversy.[31] The Croatian Serb group SKD Prosvjeta commented negatively on the visit.[32]

Ratko Mladić[edit]

Before splitting away from the Radical Party of Vojislav Šešelj, Aleksandar Vučić was openly and publicly celebrating and calling for the protection of Ratko Mladić, a military leader accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. In 2007, while Mladić was still at large in Serbia, Vučić was distributing posters stating "Safe house for general Mladić". During a parliament session he stated that the Serbian Parliament will always protect and be a safe house for the general and that any house in Serbia that bears the last name of Vučić will protect and shelter Mladić.[33]

In the same year Vučić organized a street protest where the signs naming the street after the assassinated pro-west Serbian PM were replaced with the signs effectively renaming the street to Ratko Mladić Boulevard.[33] This has become an annual event in which Serbian ultra-right factions place the same signs on top of the regular signs to celebrate the anniversary of the Zoran Đinđić assassination.[citation needed]

Accusations of media manipulation and censorship[edit]

In July 2014, journalists associations were concerned about the freedom of the media in Serbia, in which Vučić came under criticism.[34][35] The German newspaper Die Tageszeitung reported that the media in Serbia are censored and Vučić is responsible for that.[35] The Serbian journalist Jovana Gligorijević also expressed her concerns and said that „the freedom of speech was indeed threatened because internet pages were blocked, blogs removed and bloggers arrested" for which Gligorijević indirectly blamed Vučić.[34][35]

The situation was exacerbated when the commissioner for media freedom of the OSCE, Dunja Mijatović, wrote Vučić and made attention with the suppression of the media. Vučić said that the international community, foreign ambassadors and the OSCE would lead a campaign against him, because Serbia does not want to impose sanctions against Russia because of Ukraine crisis, and that the suppression of the media are nonsense. He also claimed that he had never heard of these portals, which were blocked and demanded an apology from the OSCE. Paula Tide, the Vice President of the OSCE in Serbia, rejected the apology. The Head of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Serbia in Belgrade, Ambassador Michael Davenport, and the US Ambassador Michael Kirby shared the same opinion as the OSCE.[34][35]

Personal life[edit]

On 27 July 1997 Vučić married Ksenija Janković, a journalist at Radio Index and Srpska reč. Together they have a son, Danilo (born 1998) and daughter, Milica (born 2002).

On 14 December 2013, Vučić married Tamara Đukanović, a diplomat at the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[36]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Detalji o narodnom poslaniku: Vučić, Aleksandar" (in Serbian). National Assembly of Serbia. 
  2. ^ a b c Poreklo.
  3. ^ Index.hr 18 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b Isailović 6 September 2010.
  5. ^ Index.hr 13 May 2015.
  6. ^ Aleksandar Vučić Istinomer.rs
  7. ^ "VIDEO / Ovako je Vučić govorio 1995. godine: Ubijte jednog Srbina, mi ćemo stotinu muslimana!" 24sata.info.
  8. ^ forgetting-resistance-in-the-balkans balkanist.net
  9. ^ ["Netherlands Institute for War Documentation". http://193.173.80.81/srebrenica/]
  10. ^ Anto Đapić (HSP): Vučiću, dobro došao u Hrvatsku![dead link]
  11. ^ "Narod koji ima najkraće pamćenje na svetu" (in Serbian). Preko ramena. 10 May 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c Guy De Launey (20 January 2014). "Serbia transforming from pariah to EU partner". BBC News. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  13. ^ Slavko Ćuruvija
  14. ^ https://www.cpj.org/killed/1999/slavko-curuvija.php
  15. ^ Ексклузивно На Монитору: „Убица“ Славка Ћурувије Је „Проговорио“… |
  16. ^ Milorad Ulemek provided info about murder of Slavko Curuvija | InSerbia News
  17. ^ "Nikolić: I Vučić napustio radikale" (in Serbian). Mondo. 14 September 2008. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Vučić napušta politiku (za sada)" (in Serbian). Mondo. 15 September 2008. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Vučić: S Tomom protiv Tadića!" (in Serbian). Mondo. October 2008. [dead link]
  20. ^ Aleksandar Vucic: from nationalist hawk to devout Europeanist Global Post, 13 March 2014.
  21. ^ "Serbia's new president quits as party leader". B92. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Progressives elect new leader, deputy leader". B92. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012. [dead link]
  23. ^ "Vucic attacked, hit with stones in Srebrenica (video)". B92. 11 July 2015. 
  24. ^ "Serbia’s president condemns ‘savage’ attack on PM at Srebrenica". The Guardian. 11 July 2015. 
  25. ^ a b Vasovic, Aleksandar (29 March 2013). "Ruling Serb Progressive Party stays popular: opinion poll". Reuters. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  26. ^ a b Pekusic, Biljana (20 May 2013). "Vucic urges Kosovo Serbs to accept 'the future'". Southeast European Times. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  27. ^ Sengupta, Kim (4 August 2013). "Aleksandar Vucic: The man who’s bringing Belgrade in from the cold". The Independent. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  28. ^ "Aleksandar Vucic: Kosovo Serbs 'should accept deal'". BBC News. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  29. ^ Šešeljevac vodi Skupštinu, a Vuk Drašković Vijeće Europe, Jutarnji List
  30. ^ Vučić sad nije za veliku Srbiju
  31. ^ A. Vučić: Mogu me i ubiti, ali doći ću u Knin[dead link]
  32. ^ Srbi u Hrvatskoj različito oko Vučićevog posjeta
  33. ^ a b Press Online :: Politika :: Vučić lepio plakate sa natpisom Bulevar Ratka Mladića
  34. ^ a b c Die Tageszeitung:Die Pampigkeit des Herrn Vučić - In Serbien werden Internetseiten attackiert, Blogs gesperrt und Blogger festgenommen. Die Betroffenen berichteten wohl zu kritisch über die Regierung (German) - The stroppiness of Mr. Vučić - In Serbia being attacked websites, blocked blogs and arrested bloggers. The victims reported probably too critical about the government
  35. ^ a b c d Die Tageszeitung:Serbische Regierung zensiert Medien - Ein Virus namens Zensur (German) - Serbian government censored media - A virus called censorship
  36. ^ Bojović, B. (12 August 2014). "Šta je Dačić savetovao Vučićevoj supruzi". Blic. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 

News reports[edit]

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Radmila Milentijević
Minister of Information
1998–2000
Succeeded by
Ivica Dačić
Bogoljub Pejčić
Biserka Matić Spasojević
Preceded by
Dragan Šutanovac
Minister of Defence
2012–2013
Succeeded by
Nebojša Rodić
Preceded by
Ivica Dačić
First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia
2012–2014
Succeeded by
Ivica Dačić
Prime Minister of Serbia
2014–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Tomislav Nikolić
Leader of the Serbian Progressive Party
2012–present
Incumbent