Borko Stefanović

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Borko Stefanović

Borko Stefanovic Crop.jpg
Personal details
Born (1974-02-05) 5 February 1974 (age 44)
Novi Sad, SFR Yugoslavia
NationalitySerbian
Political partyCivic Alliance of Serbia (1999–2001)
Democratic Party (2003–2015)
Levica Srbije (2015–present)
Alma materUniversity of Novi Sad
OccupationLawyer
Websitewww.levicasrbije.rs

Borko Stefanović (born 5 February 1974, born as Borislav Stefanović[1]) is the founder of political party Levica Srbije. Prior to founding Levica Srbije, he was active in the Democratic Party in Serbia, with whom he engaged in a high-profile split in the summer of 2015. He was one of Serbia's representatives during the Belgrade-Pristina negotiations.[2] He was the Political Director of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Chief of Staff for Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić.[3]

Early life[edit]

Stefanović was born in Novi Sad, Vojvodina, SFR Yugoslavia in 1974. He graduated from high school in Sremski Karlovci before enrolling in the University of Novi Sad Faculty of Law, where he graduated in 1999.[4] Stefanović played bass guitar in a punk rock band called 'Generacija bez budućnosti' (Generation without a Future), which last performed in 2011.[5]

Political career[edit]

Stefanović first became politically involved in 1999, when he joined the Citizens' Alliance (known in Serbian as GSS, the acronym for Građanski savez Srbije), an anti-nationalist party.[6] He left the party in 2001, after which he had no party affiliation for two years.[6]

Democratic Party (2003-2015)[edit]

After the assassination of Zoran Đinđić, Stefanović joined the Democratic Party in Serbia. In an interview with Novi Plamen, Stefanović referred to Đinđić's assassination when discussing on his entry into the Democratic Party, describing it as "my personal response to an uncivilized act."[6]

In 2008, Stefanović was the chief negotiator of the sale of Naftna Industrija Srbije to Gazprom Neft.[7] The sale did not involve a public tender, since other enterprises were not offered a chance to bid.[7][8] The conditions to which Stefanović negotiated were criticized in the local media, as the price at which NIS was sold at approximately one fifth of its market value at the time.[7] One of the most influential conditions of the sale was that the South Stream would run through Serbia, even though for Gazprom there was greater logistical convenience to bypass Serbia.[7] The South Stream project was cancelled after the annexation of Crimea by Russia, which resulted in sanctions on Russian politicians and enterprises. In 2014, the Serbian government began an investigation on the privatization of NIS.[9]

In December 2010, Stefanović was appointed by president Boris Tadić as Serbia's representative for the Belgrade-Pristina negotiations.[4] In July 2011, Blic reported that Serbia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremić attempted to replace Stefanović in his position in the Belgrade-Pristina talks.[10] Jeremić sought to completely remove the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of having any participation in the talks, allegedly saying that his Ministry and the negotiations "have contradicting goals".[10] However, according to Blic's sources, Boris Tadić did not approve Jeremić's removal of Stefanović from Serbia's negotiation team on Kosovo.[10] On top of the allegations of Jeremić's attempt to remove Stefanović from the Kosovo talks, Stefanović was Jeremić's best man at his wedding.[11] In September 2011, Jeremić replaced Stefanović as chief of staff of the MSP with Serbia's former ambassador to Slovakia, Danko Prokić.[12]

Split from the Democratic Party[edit]

From 2015, Stefanović became engaged in a political rift with the Democratic Party. In a manifesto outlining several long-term goals, Stefanović argued for the creation of a "Confederation of the West Balkans", which would unite Serbia with other states in the Balkans, after which foreign debts of the united countries would be frozen for five years.[13] He added, "I am not for any nationalization and I am for integration into the European Union, but I sympathetically see some parts of the program of the Greek Syriza."[13] Stefanović argued against austerity, and was especially critical of pension and salary reductions for middle class citizens.[13] He said that "the Democratic Party must make a drastic departure from our people who led wrongful policies, which like the current government were crazy about neoliberalism, but essentially were only moved to their personal gains."[13] On December 10, 2015, Stefanović resigned from the Democratic Party.[14] He said that the "last straw" was when the Democratic Party nominated Bojan Dimitrijević, who sought the rehabilitation of Milan Nedić, as a candidate in a local election in Čukarica.[14]

Levica Srbije (Serbian Left)[edit]

Later in December 2015, Stefanović founded his own party, Levica Srbije (Serbian Left). While founding the new party, he initially collaborated with Jovo Bakić, who wrote most of the party's original ideological profile.[15] However, Bakić quickly left the project after disagreements with Stefanović on the party's strategy and politics.[15] Vladimir Unkovski-Korica, a political science professor at the University of Glasgow, commented on the Bakić-Stefanović split, claiming that "Borko Stefanović wants a party more like the Democratic Party in the United States, rather than like one of the leftist parties in Europe."[16] In the 2016 Serbian parliamentary election, Levica Srbije recorded their debut election with 0.95% of the vote.[17]

In November 2018, Stefanović was severely beaten in Krusevac. He blamed the assault on incumbent president Aleksandar Vucic, who Stefanović accused of creating a "gruesome atmosphere" for opposition politicians.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nedeljnik: Najluđa predizborna priča: Borislav Stefanović promenio ime u Borko" (in Serbian). April 6, 2016. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  2. ^ "Belgrade, Pristina launch new talks" setimes.com 9 March 2011 Link retrieved 10 March 2011
  3. ^ "Borko Stefanovic: Historic occasion for good relations". emportal. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  4. ^ a b Biljana Mitrinović (December 4, 2010). "Politika: Pregovarač od poverenja" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  5. ^ "A Dialogue Without A Future". Radio Free Europe. 26 December 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Ivica Mladenović (February 21, 2017). "Borko Stefanović: Želimo jedinstveni levi front" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d Snežana Čongradin (May 23, 2015). "Najgori srpski posao veka" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  8. ^ B. Krivokapić (March 9, 2008). "Blic: NIS je prodat po dogovoru kumova" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  9. ^ Ljudmila Cvetković (August 12, 2014). "Radio Slobodna Evropa: Istraga o privatizaciji NIS-a: Razlozi opravdani, momenat politički" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Tamara Spaić (July 21, 2011). "Blic: Vuk Jeremić probao da smeni Stefanovića" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  11. ^ Ivan Kuzminović (November 24, 2011). "Peščanik: Vuk, Borko, i Boris" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  12. ^ "Novosti: Borko Stefanović više nije šef Jeremićevog kabineta" (in Serbian). September 3, 2011. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d Bojana Jelovac (January 26, 2015). "Blic: KOMANDANTE BORKO - Potpredsednik DS iznenadio levičarskim idejama" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  14. ^ a b L. Gedošević (December 10, 2015). "Blic: Borko Stefanović napustio DS: "Sve najbolje im želim"" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Lidija Valtner (January 12, 2016). "Danas: Stefanović za masovnu, Bakić za elitističku stranku" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  16. ^ Vladimir Unkovski-Korica (January 21, 2016). "Danas: Stefanoviću, Bakić je u pravu!" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  17. ^ Vladimir Milutinović (May 5, 2016). "Dvogled: U odbranu izgubljenih stvari" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  18. ^ Dragojlovic, Mladen (November 26, 2018). "Vucic "responsible" for an assault against opposition leader". Independent Balkan News Agency. Retrieved November 27, 2018.