Andrija Mandić

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Andrija Mandić
Андрија Мандић
Member of Parliament
Assumed office
22 April 2001
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
13 March 2015
Preceded by Miodrag Lekić
Personal details
Born (1965-01-19) 19 January 1965 (age 52)
Šavnik, SFR Yugoslavia
Political party New Serb Democracy
Other political
People's Party (1990–1997)
Serb People's Party (1997-2008)
Spouse(s) Sanja
Children Ilija
Religion Serbian Orthodox Christian

Andrija Mandić (Serbian Cyrillic: Андрија Мандић) (born January 19, 1965 in Šavnik, Montenegro, Yugoslavia) is a Montenegrin politician. He is the President of the major ethnic Serb political party in Montenegro, the New Serb Democracy (NSD / NOVA). He is the Head of the Democratic Front parliamentary club in the Parliament of Montenegro.[1]

Private life[edit]

Andrija Mandic was born in 1965 in Šavnik, Socialist Republic of Montenegro, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He graduated at the Metallurgic-Technical Faculty at the Veljko Vlahović University in Titograd, the little socialist republic's capital city.

He was the owner of a night bar in Podgorica by the name of "The Scene" (Сцена), which he opened after he retired from the short-lived political life with the Reformist Communists. A frequent visitor of the bar was Milo Djukanovic, which aroused suspicion on their personal relationship and Mandic's attitude towards the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (to which the Communist party changed its name) and the positions in private life he was achieving ever since Djukanovic was appointed the first Prime Minister, culminating with the allegation of Belgrade's "The Tabloid"[2] in 2003 that Mandic is actually a godfather of Djukanovic. The tabloid also accused Mandic that he was, during the troublesome 1990s with all the sanctions and isolation, in the beginning one of the many people who were pushed into petty smuggling and murky deals for survival.

As director and co-owner of the action society for the manufacturing of colored metals, he initiated the first private production of Aluminium alloys in Montenegro after his night bar was closed. It was opened near Podgorica in Bioče, mostly in collaboration with "Vectra". Rumors about questionable financial transactions exist, due to various private deals between the Montenegrin government and Vectra, one of many during Djukanovic's mandate, which eventually led to the failure of that which was back then the most successful Montenegrin company. Mandic acknowledged his role in the foundation of Montenegro's biggest firm, but puts the blame on its failure and later happenings to Djukanovic as President of the Montenegrin Government.

In collaboration with the Metallurgic-Technical Faculty in Podgorica, Andrija Mandic worked over the years on projecting, manufacturing and installing equipment for production of aluminium alloys, as well as on commercial metallurgic engineering.

Political life[edit]

Union of Reform Forces[edit]

Andrija Mandić decided to enter political life during his mid-twenties with the introduction of multi-party system in 1990 by joining the Union of Reform Forces of Yugoslavia (SRSJ). The party led by Croatian politician Ante Marković was the predecessor of most the social-democratic and liberal political parties across the former Yugoslavia. Mandić became one of its strongest activists in SR Montenegro, the main purpose presenting an alternative to the nationalist and aggressive political forces that were amassing across SFRY, standing ready to plunge it into war, e.g. including the emergence of Slobodan Milošević in Serbia or Franjo Tuđman in Croatia. The opposition in Montenegro precisely was aimed against the ruling Communist League local branch and their fiery leaders trio of Momir Bulatović, Milo Đukanović and Svetozar Marović.

The reformists did manage to present themselves as the main opposition force, however they were still far behind the Communist League which achieved complete victory, and after 1991 the Union fell apart due to the outbreak of civil wars across the country. Mandić abandoned political life in disappointment and retired to private business.

People's Party[edit]

In the mid-1990s Andrija Mandic decided to return to political life and joined the People's Party, which claimed restoration of the old political party, the very first Montenegrin one, in the old Montenegrin monarchy, cherishing among other values the Serb roots and identity of the Montenegrins. However, rather than strictly loyal to party president Novak Kilibarda, he was much closer to the leader of its right wing Božidar Bojović, a conservative branch which desired a more hard-line approach in national identification and criticism of the current government.

Serb People's Party[edit]

In 1997 he became one of the founders of the Serb People's Party of Montenegro, when numerous members of the People's Party of Montenegro defected from the political party, disagreeing with the party's Novak Kilibarda leadership's decision to form a coalition with the ruling Milo Đukanović's Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro. SNS CG considered that NS CG abandoned the national original aims of the party.

He served numerous functions in the party, originally as a vice-president of the municipal board for Podgorica and a member of the Supreme Board of the Party, as well as a member of the Executive Board of SrNS CG. He served also one term as Director of the Party and in two terms he was the President of the Executive Board. In second before the last the Cabinet of the Federal Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Andrija was the Deputy Minister for Industry.

A relatively unknown and not prominent partial figure, in 2002 he ran for President of SNS CG and to much public amazement defeated then's President Dr Božidar Bojović. He went into conflict and was harshly criticized by Bojovic and the municipal boards that supported him, eventually the old league political leadership being ousted from the party. Mandic asserted a new directive that strictly supported the European Union and maintained the Together for Change political alliance of the Socialist People's Party of Montenegro aimed at defeating the authoritarian regime of Milo Djukanovic, and managed to take lead in front of NS CG within the alliance at the elections. The first problem he had to deal with is several SNS members defecting and forming the Democratic Serb Party under Ranko Kadić, with a more moderate line.

He led SNS into the Movement for European Serbia and Montenegro of Zoran Žižić from 2003 to 2006, that finished with the Montenegrin independence referendum during which Mandic was one of the leaders of the Bloc for Common State Serbia and Montenegro, ending in defeat. Around that time Mandic was the proponent of breaking the traditional partnership with the Democratic Party of Serbia, in favor of G17 Plus.

Breaking off from the SNP-led coalition, in 2006 he headed a formation of a major alliance with political parties and movements, aimed to protect the interests of Serbs in Montenegro, the Serb List, that achieved good results in the elections, which became the strongest opposition force in the parliament.

In 2007 when the National Assembly of Serbia adopted the resolution to allow Serbs abroad to obtain Serbian citizenship, he took it, which was a controversial act due to the ruling coalition's opposition to dual citizenship for Serbs. Andrija opposed the draft of the new Constitution of Montenegro that controversially renamed the official language from Serbian to Montenegrin and called the Serbian people in Montenegro not to recognize the Constitution.

Ever since he took over the party is progressing. Andrija Mandic has in 2007 led his party towards close partnership with New Serbia and controversial Serb politician Velimir Ilic.

New Serb Democracy[edit]

In 2008 Andrija Mandic elected first president of Serb List transformed into party - New Serb Democracy.[3] Mandić sought to transform the Serb List coalition into a more civic-oriented party, in order to boost the party's coalition potential, and even the dropping the "Serb" prefix from the newly formed party's name was considered. This idea was met with strong resistance during the merger talks.

In 2009 parliamentary election NOVA ran independently and won 9,2% of the votes, and 8 seats.[4] In the next parliamentary election held in 2012, the party ran within the Democratic Front coalition[5] which was second ranked electoral list with 22,8% of the votes and 20 seats, out of which NOVA won 8.