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Čedomir Jovanović in 2016
|Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia|
18 March 2003 – 3 March 2004
|Prime Minister||Zoran Živković|
April 13, 1971 |
Belgrade, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia
|Political party||Democratic Party
Liberal Democratic Party (2005– )
Čedomir "Čeda" Jovanović (Serbian Cyrillic: Чедомир Чеда Јовановић; Serbian pronunciation: [tʃědomir tʃěːda joʋǎːnoʋitɕ] listen (help·info)) (born 13 April 1971) is a Serbian politician and businessman. He is the president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Born and raised in a middle-class family (his father Jovica was an architect and economist, while his mother Milena Mršić was also an economist) young Čedomir grew up in New Belgrade. His family hails from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He completed Ivan Gundulić Primary School with average grades. Afterwards, he started attending the Ninth Belgrade Gymnasium, but quickly transferred to the Third Economics High School, from which he eventually graduated. He then enrolled at the University of Belgrade's Faculty of Economics, but after only a week of classes, decided to quit. Jovanović eventually started attending Belgrade's Arts University's Faculty of Dramatic Arts (FDU), enrolling in its dramaturgy program, from which he graduated in 1998 at the age of 27. He never actually worked in his chosen profession, writing only a couple of plays that were never staged or published. During his student days he also worked as a journalist.
Jovanović was a leader of student protests in Belgrade during the winter of 1996-97. He soon became one of its most recognizable protagonists.
Throughout the three-month demonstration he also grew close to the Democratic Party (DS) and its then leader Zoran Đinđić. After the protest was over, Jovanović and several fellow university students (Čedomir Antić, Igor Žeželj, Vladimir Dobrosavljević, and Aleksandar Ćirić(Lelki)) formed an organization called Student Political Club (Studentski politički klub, SPK). At the time Jovanović described SPK as "a political organization whose goal it is to go a step further than the student protests did". SPK led a boycott campaign ahead of the 1997 parliamentary elections. However, SPK didn't last long and its almost entire membership joined the DS party in 1998 (Dobrosavljević was the only one who joined the DSS party).
Now an official DS member, Jovanović quickly rose up the party ladder, eventually becoming its vice-president in 2001.
2000–03: Years in power
- DOS parliamentary caucus chief
He was elected to the Serbian Parliament in the December 23, 2000, parliamentary elections, on the list of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS), and also held the post of DOS' parliamentary caucus leader until 2003. At only 29, he was the youngest person ever in Serbian politics to hold such a position.
During his days as a parliamentary chief, he led an extremely eventful life. On March 31, 2001, after a masked government unit stormed the fortified Villa Mir attempting to arrest its resident Slobodan Milošević, Jovanović was at the scene, negotiating with the former Yugoslav president and urging him to surrender. He was reportedly shot at from a pistol by Milošević's daughter Marija.
Other more colourful episodes around the same time included Jovanović's 4x4 vehicle being blown up with an explosive device and the order to have a pedestrian crosswalk painted across Belgrade's Kralja Milana thoroughfare in front of the parliamentary building after TV cameras caught him crossing the street illegally. The crosswalk later became known derisively as "Čeda's zebra".
- Deputy Prime Minister
In March 2003, following the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić, Jovanović advanced to the position of Deputy Prime Minister in the government of the new PM Zoran Živković. It has been alleged that during his mandate as Member of Parliament, in addition to his regular duties, Jovanović assumed the role of Prime Minister Đinđić's government liaison - dealing with, and meeting individuals connected to Serbian organized crime circles.
When the press got a hold of this information, a storm of controversy was created by raising many questions about Jovanovic's role in Government's dealing with the mafia. Political opponents directly accused him of criminal involvement and of providing favours for shady individuals such as Dušan Spasojević (late leader of the Zemun mafia clan) and Milorad Ulemek (now convicted as the person who organized the assassination of Zoran Đinđić). Various rumours, mostly carried and exploited by daily tabloids, included even those that he is using heavy drugs.
After continuous pressure from the media, Jovanović admitted to attending some meetings, but denied any wrongdoing, claiming that these contacts were made on behalf of the government in order to curb mafia activities and to secure political stability from the individuals left over from the Milošević's era. During one of his speeches, he stated: "my hands are dirty, but my conscience is clear (because I was cleaning up Serbia)".
The electorate did not exactly see it that way and Jovanović's popularity dropped drastically as a result of this episode.
Realizing this, the Democratic Party brass marginalized his role within its ranks before the parliamentary elections in December 2003 by not even entering his name on the party's electoral ballot. He did not complain, at least not publicly, opting to instead focus on the coming party congress in February 2004 that was to determine its new post-Đinđić leadership. Jovanović was hoping to get a seat on the main board, but did not receive enough delegate support.
2004–present: In opposition
Dissatisfied with the party's new direction under the leadership of Boris Tadić, Jovanović criticized him publicly, most notably for his policy of political cohabitation with Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica's government. Being a fierce Koštunica opponent, Jovanović felt that the Democratic Party should actively seek ways to bring down his government, especially when Boris Tadić was elected President of the Republic in June 2004. A couple of months after Tadić's inauguration, Jovanović wrote his party colleague an open public letter  on a per tu basis criticizing his political choices. Tadić never even acknowledged the letter publicly until he was directly asked about it during an interview on a weekly political TV talk show Utisak nedelje. He admitted that he had not really bothered to read it and added: "When someone writes a letter, supposedly to me, by first making sure it gets published in the papers, then that's really not a letter but a political bid".
- Leaving DS
After his unsuccessful attempt to take over the DS leadership, Jovanović formed the "Liberal Democratic faction" within DS - knowingly breaching the party statute. The act was obviously not welcomed by the leadership and he was eventually expelled on December 3, 2004.
In the following period, Jovanović's political activity became distinctly more direct. He gave bombastic interviews and in his strongly worded press releases frequently went after PM Koštunica's government officials, Koštunica himself, and the Serbian security apparatus. He repeatedly criticized the Serbian Orthodox Church, calling it dishonest, backward and dogmatic, protesting what he sees to be the its interference in the country's politics.
Parallel to all of this Jovanović also founded a non-governmental organization called Center for Modern Politics (Centar za modernu politiku, CMP), but its activities were sporadic at best and it eventually folded.
In July 2005, Jovanović published a book, Moj sukob sa prošlošću (My Confrontation with the Past). In this period he also came out in favour of Kosovo's independence, thus becoming the only notable Serbian political party leader to do so and because of that he gained sympathies from many Albanians.
- Founding LDP
Finally, on November 5, 2005, Jovanović and his supporters founded the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to much fanfare, and Jovanović was elected as its first president at the age of 34.
Soon after, in December, he was the subject of a lengthy, very affirmative piece penned by Zoran Ćirjaković in the influential American weekly magazine Newsweek, which, among other things, Jovanović used to further reiterate his stance on Kosovo and to declare his opinion that Bosnian Serb ties with Belgrade should effectively be severed.
The first parliamentary elections Jovanović led his party in were held in January 2007. LDP's electoral list also featured several minority parties and Nenad Čanak's League of Vojvodina's Socialdemocrats (LSV). With an aggressive "Od nas zavisi" campaign, he was hoping to ensure enough votes for LDP to become a significant factor when it comes to forming the ruling coalition. However, LDP received about 5-6% of the total vote, barely clearing the 5% threshold required to enter the parliament.
- November 2007 public row with Miroslav Mišković
In November 2007, in anticipation of presidential election, Jovanović opened a public row with powerful and politically connected Serbian tycoon Miroslav Mišković. On Sunday, 18 November 2007, while guest on Utisak nedelje, a weekly television political talk-show, Jovanović claimed Mišković tried to get himself off the US entry visa blacklist, in exchange offering the American embassy in Belgrade to arrange prime minister Koštunica's cooperative and soft stance when it comes to the final status of the Serbian province of Kosovo whose independence America firmly supported.
Amid the controversy that was immediately raised, the next day, Monday, Jovanović went on B92 radio's morning talk-show Kažiprst, claiming that Mišković's liaison in this particular endeavour with the Americans was a well-known Belgrade journalist, stopping short of revealing his name. However, later that day, talking in the Serbian parliament, Jovanović revealed the journalist to be Bratislav "Braca" Grubačić. Mišković responded late in the day with a strongly worded press release, directly addressing Jovanović on a per tu basis, accusing him of being involved in Mišković's eighteen-hour kidnapping in 2001 and of pocketing DM5 million from the ransom payment. Jovanović responded by filing an official complaint against Mišković in the Serbian police and publicly releasing a 4-page supposed internal Belgrade's American embassy document dated May 2007 in support of his earlier statements. The document was posted on Blic and B92 web sites. The US embassy in Belgrade, at the time headed by ambassador Cameron Munter, denied Jovanović's claims as well as the authenticity of the document Jovanović forwarded to the Serbian media.
Years later in 2011, amid the Wikileaks affair, and the revelation of US diplomatic cables, a particular cable written by Munter from the Belgrade embassy claimed that Jovanović used a forged document in his accusations against Mišković.
- 2008 Presidential candidacy
Čedomir Jovanović was a candidate at the 2008 Serbian Presidential elections held in January. He was running under the slogan "Život je zakon!" (eng. "Life Rules") while emphasizing his determination to bring down every person inside or outside the Serbian government who "oppose the idea of providing a better life for the people of Serbia". Once again, Jovanović has directly accused Miroslav Mišković, a Serbian tycoon, of being one of the most responsible persons for the underdevelopment of Serbia in the recent years.
He finished fifth with 5.34% of the total votes, well behind Boris Tadić and Tomislav Nikolić who went into the second round runoff. Ahead of the second round vote, despite expectations from some circles, Jovanović decided not to throw his support behind Tadić, opting instead to stay neutral. Tadić ended up winning the election regardless.
His wife Jelena is owner of "Agroposlovi" - a Belgrade based business that operates a larger company - Fidelinka of Subotica, Serbia. Fidelinka offers flour products, pasta, breads, pastries, confectioneries, and starch. Jovanovic is cited as manager in Fidelinka.
In March 2011, during a parliamentary session about the 2011 Libyan civil war, Jovanović commented Serbian Foreign minister Vuk Jeremić visits of Africa that "instead of going to the cannibals in Africa, should react to the plight of the civilians in Libya". The remark provoked strong protests from diplomats from the African continent.
In late May 2003, Jovanović married his longtime girlfriend Jelena Savić, daughter of medical doctor Mijat Savić.
- Čedomir Jovanović, Glas javnosti, March 12, 2000
- "Studenti neće na izbore", Blic, 29. 07. 1997, p. 2.
- Stanković, Brankica (19 April 2005). "Prljave su mi ruke, ali mi je savest cista". pcnen.com (in Serbian). b92.net. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
- Svi predsednikovi utisci, Utisak nedelje, B92, October 10, 2004
- Now What? Dayton 10 Years Later.;Newsweek, 5 December 2005
- Now What? Dayton 10 Years Later.Newsweek, 5 December 2005
- Utisak nedelje;B92, 18 November 2007
- Američke veze: Nepristojna ponuda;Vreme, 29 November 2007
- Američke veze: Nepristojna ponuda;Vreme, 29 November 2007
- Mišković optužio Jovanovića;B92, 19 November 2007
- Američke veze: Nepristojna ponuda;Vreme, 29 November 2007
- Tužilaštvo mora da pokrene istragu;Blic, 22 November 2007
- Ambasada SAD: Čeda laže!;Vecernje novosti, 20 November 2007
- Optužbe Jovanović-Mišković-Grubačić;B92, 20 November 2007
- ČEDA NAPAO MIŠKOVIĆA FALSIFIKOVANIM DOKUMENTOM!;Kurir, 29 August 2011
- Kako nas je Manter pročitao;Vreme, 15 September 2011
- B92 News
- Official website of LDP
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