Čedomir Jovanović

Čedomir "Čeda" Jovanović (Serbian Cyrillic: Чедомир "Чеда" Јовановић) Audio|Sr Cedomir Ceda Jovanovic.ogg|listen (born April 13, 1971 in Belgrade) is a Serbian politician and president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). He was one of the key figures in the extradition of Slobodan Milošević to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Early life

Born and raised in a middle-class family (his father Jovica was an architect and economist, while his mother Milena Mršić [ [http://www.vreme.com/arhiva_html/523/03.html Vreme.com] ] was also an economist) young Čedomir grew up in New Belgrade.

He completed Ivan Gundulić Primary School with average grades. Afterwards, he started attending the 9th Belgrade Gymnasium, but quickly transferred to the 3rd 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 University Arts 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.

Early years in politics

Jovanović got involved in politics as a leader of student protests in Belgrade during the winter of 1996/97. His charisma, ambition and high energy made him stand out among the mass of thousands of student protesters at the time. He soon took the reins of the entire street revolt and became one of its most recognizable protagonists. Female protesters could be seen sporting badges proclaiming "Marry me, Čedo!". This newfound popularity did not go unnoticed by police officers, as he was arrested, questioned and roughed up several times.

Throughout the 3-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 other Belgrade University students (Čedomir Antić, Igor Žeželj, Vladimir Dobrosavljević, and Aleksandar Ćirić) formed a student 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". [http://arhiva.glas-javnosti.co.yu/arhiva/2000/03/13/srpski/p00031207.shtm] 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.

Years in power : 2000-2003

DOS parliamentary caucus chief

He was elected to the Serbian Parliament in the December 2000 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 hard 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 because I was cleaning up Serbia"Fact|date=April 2008.

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.

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 [ [http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:IX2dZRQdsJkJ:cedajovanovic.com/code/navigate.php%3FId%3D63+Jovanovic+pismo+Tadicu&hl=en&gl=ca&ct=clnk&cd=1 cedajovanovic.com] ] 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". [http://www.b92.net/info/emisije/utisak_nedelje.php?nav_id=153168&yyyy=2004&mm=10]

Leaving DS

After his unsecsesfull attempt to take over lidership in DS, Jovanović's next move was to form 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. He is eing finansed from wester countries.

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 beacuse 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 a subject of a lengthy, very affirmative piece penned by Zoran Ćirjaković in the influential American weekly magazine "Newsweek" [ [http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10218347/site/newsweek/ 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 fetured 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.

2008 Presidential candidacy

, of being one of the most responsible persons for the underdevelopment of Serbia in the recent years. [ [http://www.ldp.org.yu/info/news.jsp?id=592 Official website of LDP] ]

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.

Personal

In late May 2003, Jovanović married his longtime girlfriend Jelena Savić. The couple has a son Mihajlo- Life ( Lajf ) and a daughter Jana-Hart

References

External links

* [http://www.cedajovanovic.com/ Čedomir Jovanović] official site
* [http://www.vreme.com/arhiva_html/523/03.html Lik i delo - Čedomir Jovanović] , "Vreme", (issue# 523), January 11, 2001
* [http://www.ldp.org.yu/ LDP official site]


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