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Crisis 1999
News Archive 1999

General Perisic's political organisation

by Zoran B. Nikolic

Who are the members of the Movement for a Democratic Serbia and what do they have to say

"It's high time to take our destiny into our own hands and not to be blind, but only using democratic methods and through democratic institutions," stated Lieutenant General Momcilo Perisic, former Chief of the Supreme Headquarters of the Yugoslav Army while speaking at a round table organized after the showing of "Conversations Between Machiavelli and Montesqieu" on Tuesday evening in Kragujevac. The founding council of the new political organization called the Movement for a Democratic Serbia was held in Belgrade on Sunday, August 8. It was attended by around 50 people, with an Initiative Council made up of ten people having been elected. On Thursday, August 12, the Movement will submit its request for registration. In Kragujevac General Perisic confirmed that he had met with Patriarch Pavle on Monday. Perisic was observed by journalists on Monday as he was leaving the Patriarchy, some ten minutes before other opposition leaders would enter the same building. "The Patriarch asked me what my plans were, along with several other questions which he asked me not to make public," stated Perisic. The organizers of the meeting scheduled for August 19, a Serbian Church holiday, extended the invitation to General Perisic to participate. In Kragujevac Perisic stated that the decision on whether to participate in this meeting will be reached by the party following its promotion scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Ljubivoje Tadic and Branko Vidakovic act in the play "Conversations in Hell." Tadic, among others, is being mentioned by the press in the capital as one of the members of the Movement for a Democratic Serbia. The round table in Kragujevac included director Predrag Bajcetic and composer Zoran Hristic who were presented by Perisic as members of the Movement. "The Movement for a Democratic Serbia will by a dynamic organization with a strong nucleus made up of uncompromised patriots," stated Perisic in Kragujevac. The press also mentioned actor Sergei Trifunovic, the former editor of the weekly "Argument" Ratko Dmitrovi, Professor of the Electrical Engineering Faculty Borivoje Lazic and Lawyer Miodrag Vidojkovic as members of the Movement for a Democratic Serbia. Mr. Vidojkovic, who confirmed for VREME that he is a member of the Movement, stated that perhaps too many names are being quoted because not everyone has committed yet. When interviewed by VREME, Actor Ljubivoje Tadic denied that the Movement includes former socialists. Budimir Kosutic was one of the names mentioned, while the New York times wrote several weeks ago that Zoran Lilic is a co-founder of "General Perisic's party." "We only have with us people who expressed their opposition to the regime in different ways. The group of theatre actors did so by playing dramas, while others did so in their own way," stated Tadic. All members of this new political organization are very concerned about it being known that this is not a political organization in typical sense. In Kragujevac General Perisic stated: "I have no desire to fight for power, but to ensure improvement in Serbia together with young people." "We are something different when compared with organizations which share our objectives," states Miodrag Vidojkovic. "We also support the coming of democracy and the coming back of institutions, but the opposition can realize this with difficulty now and it lost confidence to a certain degree," state Vidojkovic. "I expect that various social and political organizations and reputable individuals will join us. They need not join us formally," he explains. On Tuesday, as members of the Movement, Predrag Bajcetic and the well known student activist, Boris Karajicic, spoke with student members of the student movement "Otpor" ("Resistance"). Karajcic presented to students the statute and the program of the Movement, and he announced the meeting between the student movement "Otpor" and General Perisic for Wednesday, August 11. Slobodan Homen, an activist with "Otpor", stated that they are ready to cooperate, but not to become one with General Perisic's organization. Homen added that he was told that General Perisic is ready to sign "Otpor's" declaration. When asked whether representatives of the Movement spoke with anyone other than the student movement "Otpor", Mr. Vidojkovic merely answered that "there is considerable interest." The people we interviewed did not want to discuss details too much. Professor Borivoje Lazic explained that it is still too early for that. "For now with certainty we only have a party president, but other officials have yet to be appointed," he said.

Possibilities for the Movement

"The seriousness of the situation demands that every patriot and every soldier do his part in turning it around," stated General Perisic for the Reuters agency in Kragujevac. "If anyone tries to use weapons against the people, those weapons will probably be turned against him." A little earlier, while speaking at the round table, Perisic told all those who gathered: "I am an officer and a General of my people and I did everything to prevent the people from facing yet another Golgotha. Unfortunately I did not succeed in this."

Source: Vreme news

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