Milan Stamatović

Milan Stamatović (Serbian Cyrillic: Милан Стаматовић, pronounced [mǐlan stǎmatoʋit͜ɕ], born 24 May 1960) is a Serbian politician who became president of the municipality of Čajetina in 2004. He was an independent candidate in the 2017 Serbian presidential election.

Milan Stamatović
Милан Стаматовић
Milan Stamatovic Crop.jpg
President of the municipality of Čajetina
Assumed office
2004
Preceded byRadovan Jojić
Personal details
Born (1960-05-24) 24 May 1960 (age 59)
Zlatibor, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia
NationalitySerbian
Political partyDEPOS (1996–2000)
DSS (2000–2014)
SNP (2014–2016)
Independent (2016–2017)
ZS (2017–present)

Political careerEdit

Early career and campaignsEdit

From 1996 to 2000, Stamatović was a member of the Democratic Movement of Serbia in opposition to Slobodan Milošević. In 2000, he joined the Democratic Party of Serbia, which he represented until 2014. In 2014, Stamatović, Nenad Popović, and others left DSS to form the Serbian People's Party.[1] In Čajetina's municipal election in April 2016, Stamatović campaigned with the support of a DSS-PUPS-SNP coalition and was elected to his fourth mandate with 56.33% of the vote, resulting in a rare loss of the state-ruling SNS.[2]

Municipal presidency of ČajetinaEdit

In the summer of 2007, the local police chief in Čajetina resigned amidst a crisis in which the police could not regulate illegal construction in the municipality.[3] When Stamatović planned to have dozens of illegal buildings knocked down, he received several threats.[3] In an investigative report, Stamtović told Danas:

Stamatović's predecessor for municipal president, Radovan Jojić from the opposing Democratic Party, gave a similar testament to Danas that during his mandate (2000-2004), people were given permission to build apartments of a certain capacity, but that those capacities were overwhelmingly ignored.[3] In May 2009, Večernje novosti published another investigative article about Zlatibor featuring Stamatović, who told Novosti that "no matter how much the government denies the existence of the [illegal] construction mafia, I'm confirming that it exists."[4] The same report asserted that Serbian criminal Sreten Jocić bought several properties in Zlatibor, and that Bosko Radonjich was the owner of a local bar called "Boss".[4]

Despite his municipality's history of underground activity, Stamatović oversaw Čajetina recording an unprecedented unemployment rate of only 7% in 2014, which was significantly below the national average at the time.[5] That same year, the municipality of Čajetina reported a budget surplus of 150 million Serbian dinars.[5] On May 29, 2015, the first Office for Cooperation with the Russian Federation was opened in Čajetina as a resource for Russian seasonal tourists in Zlatibor.[6] In July 2015, the Ministry of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure accused Stamatović of obstructing a state-sponsored cadastral survey in Čajetina.[7] Later that summer, Stamatović formed a Local Advisory for Migrations in response to the European migrant crisis, but concluded that Čajetina "could not host migrants."[8] In a discussion with Blic, Stamatović claimed that he "totally understands the problems of migrants",[8] but he added his concerns in the following statements:

In November 2016, Stamatović sent a publicized letter to the embassies of Russia, the United States, China, Germany, France, Switzerland, and the United Nations Development Programme, stating that Čajetina is "discriminated against and targeted by state organs".[9][10] Although the letter covered a wide range of issues in southwestern Serbia, the issue which prompted Stamatović to write the letter was Serbia's anti-corruption agency SBPOK (Acronym for "Služba za borbu protiv organizovanog kriminala") controlling business in Čajetina and looking into the local government's records, which were allegedly subject to various inspections beforehand.[10] Other grievances discussed in the letter included the government obstruction of the gondola lift planned in Zlatibor, and a warning that "the lake and 200 acres of land may fall into private hands without compensation [to the local government]."[9]

Zlatibor lake affairEdit

In 2016, a legal conflict developed when Stamatović sued the family of Slobodan Jeremić, whose wife had built a local bar near the waterfront of Kraljeva Voda.[11] The family subsequently sued Stamatović for slander, and an appeals court ruled in the family's favor, concluding with a penalty of 300,000 dinars to Stamatović.[11] However, Stamatović took the case up to the acting National Ombudsman, Saša Janković, to help protect Zlatibor's public property from the Jeremić family.[12] Janković stated that the Serbian constitution prevented him from interfering in the ruling of the appeals court, but added that he was "impressed by the resilience with which the municipal president of Čajetina insists on the general interests of Zlatibor" and that he "fully supports Stamatović in this endeavor".[12]

Zlatibor gondola crisisEdit

From December 2016, Stamatović got into a conflict with Minister Zorana Mihajlović after she delayed state permits for the construction of a gondola lift in Zlatibor.[13][14] In defiance of the government's delay of approval, Stamatović called for a public work action to construct the foundations of the gondola lift.[14] The local board of the SNS accused the work action as anarchist, stating that attending the work action is "a criminal act" and punishable by up to three years in prison.[15] In a radical change of legal terms, Stamtović replied to the SNS statement when he referred the gondola "the people's property".[15] In spite of legal threats, approximately 2,000 volunteers came to Stamatović's work action in Zlatibor on February 11, 2017.[14]

2017 presidential campaignEdit

On 6 December 2016, Blic announced that Stamatović filed for candidacy in the 2017 Serbian presidential election.[16] Although Stamatović was a member of the Serbian People's Party at the time of the announcement, the party did not officially endorse his bid for presidency, and so Stamatović started campaigning as an independent candidate.[16] In January 2017, Stamatović confirmed that the Serbian People's Party would not endorse his candidacy for president.[17] On March 16, 2017, Stamatović gave up his membership with the Serbian People's Party.[18]

In a December 2016 survey by agency "Faktor Plus", Stamatović was polling at approximately 3% on the national level.[19] However, the survey assumed that Tomislav Nikolić would run for president,[19] which he decided not to do. On February 26, 2017, former vice-president of the PUPS Bratislav Jugović pulled out of the presidential race to endorse Stamatović.[20]

In the presidential election, Stamatović won 1.16% of the national vote.[21] However, he had a strong regional showing, winning 61.23% of the votes in his hometown Čajetina.[22] In Užice, he won 17.22% of the vote.[23]

Zlatibor military camp 2018Edit

Stamatović and Čajetina county supported and helped organized para-military camp "Omladinsko-patriotki kamp Zlatibor 2018" for children. The camp was closed after journalists wrote about it in 2018.[24]

Political positionsEdit

DecentralizationEdit

In an interview with Danas in September 2014, Stamatović said that one of his fundamental disagreements with DSS was on decentralization, and argued that fiscal decentralization is key to Serbia's economic recovery.[1] Stamatović lobbied intensely for the re-opening of Ponikve Airport in Užice to commercial flights.[25] In an essay called "Together for the Airport", he argued that Western Serbia is isolated with the lack of a functioning airport, and that the region is too cut off from Belgrade and Pan-European Corridor X to attract more tourists from foreign countries.[25] While president of the municipality of Čajetina, Stamatović proposed that his municipality could contribute up to €100,000 per year for the operation of Ponikve Airport, even though the airport is located in a neighboring city.[26] He proposed the contribution in coordination with the City of Užice and eight other municipalities who offered to contribute an annual sum to Ponikve Airport.[26]

Foreign policyEdit

European UnionEdit

In December 2016, Stamatović proposed that on the day of the 2017 Serbian presidential election, that a referendum be held on whether voters want Serbia to enter the European Union or not.[27] The proposal was generally well received among Serbian pundits, although the chief editor of The New Serbian Political Thought Đorđe Vukadinović commented that it was unlikely for Aleksandar Vučić to allow such a referendum given his appeal to pro-EU voters.[27]

KosovoEdit

Stamatović criticized the Brussels Agreement during his first presidential campaign, calling it "anti-Serbian".[28] On the eighteenth anniversary of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Stamatović told an audience in Smederevska Palanka that Kosovo should "be freed from occupation".[29]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Nenad Kovačević (September 26, 2014). "Danas: Milan Stamatović: Za neutralnost i saradnju sa Rusijom" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  2. ^ Vladimir Lojanica (April 25, 2016). "Blic: OPŠTINA ČAJETINA: Ovde naprednjaci nisu pobedili". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Nenad Kovačević (September 5, 2007). "Danas: Omiljena turistička destinacija mafija" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Z. USKOKOVIĆ and N. JANKOVIĆ (May 24, 2009). "Novosti: Zlatibor u kandžama mafije" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Tanjug (July 2, 2014). "U Čajetini rekordno niska nezaposlenost, traže radnike iz drugih opština" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  6. ^ Vladimir Lojanica (May 15, 2015). "Blic: Kancelarija za saradnju sa Rusijom otvorena u Čajetini" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  7. ^ Tanjug (July 27, 2015). "Ministarstvo: Predsednik opštine Čajetina ometao nadzor katastra". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Vladimir Lojanica (September 15, 2015). "Blic: Čajetina ne želi migrante: Žao nam je, mi zbrinjavamo prognane Srbe". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Vladimir Lojanica (November 21, 2016). "Blic: ČAJETINA POSLALA PISMA STRANIM AMBASADAMA "Sprečite linč nad opštinom u kojoj ne vlada SNS"" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Vladimir Lojanica (November 22, 2016). "Blic: Čajetinski SNS brani državu: "Stamatoviću, neće te spasiti ni strane ambasade"" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Vladimir Lojanica (May 12, 2016). "Blic: PREDSEDNIK MORA DA PLATI 300.000 DINARA Stamatović: Osuđen sam jer nisam hteo da oćutim pljačku" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Kurir (November 3, 2016). "SAŠA JANKOVIĆ U ČAJETINI: Milan Stamatović prvi funkcioner koji traži zaštitu od države" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  13. ^ Novka Ilić (February 14, 2017). "Radio Slobodna Evropa: Bez dozvole za gondolu na Zlatiboru" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  14. ^ a b c Nenad Kovačević (February 16, 2017). "Danas: Stamatović: Vratite prvo ono što ste porušili u Savamali". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Vladimir Lojanica (December 27, 2016). "Blic: SNS Čajetina o gradnji gondole "na divlje": Stamatovićevim akcijašima preti zatvor" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Vladimir Lojanica (December 6, 2016). "Blic: ČAJETINA: Stamatović najavio kandidaturu za predsedničke izbore iako ga stranka ne podrži" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  17. ^ Vladimir Lojanica (January 21, 2017). "Blic: Stamatović na izbore bez podrške SNP: Popoviću, vidimo se kad se prebroje glasovi" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  18. ^ [1] B.P. Politika: Razlaz Milana Stamatovića i Nenada Popovića (in Serbian). March 16, 2017. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  19. ^ a b Radio Televizija Srbije (RTS) (December 9, 2016). "Faktor plus: Vučić bi dobio 52, Nikolić 32 odsto glasova" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  20. ^ [2] Danas: Jugović odustaje od izbora, podržava Stamatovića. February 26, 2017.
  21. ^ "B92: "Obrađeno 99,9 biračkih mesta, konačni posle ponovljenih"" (in Serbian). April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  22. ^ Danas (April 3, 2017). "Stamatović: Nastavljamo putem ozdravljenja Srbije" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  23. ^ [3] Danas: Užice: Pobeda Vučića, odličan rezultat Stamatovića. April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  24. ^ https://www.slobodnaevropa.org/a/paravojni-kamp-zlatibor/29437754.html
  25. ^ a b Dina Đorđević (September 29, 2016). "TangoSix: Predsednik Opštine Čajetina: Nije realno da Ponikve odmah budu profitabilne". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  26. ^ a b Dina Đorđević (October 21, 2016). "Aerodrom Ponikve – strаteški cilj Zаpаdne Srbije ili ponovo tema političke kampanje?". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  27. ^ a b KomentarPress.com (December 14, 2016). "Stamatovićev referendum o ulasku Srbije u EU" (in Serbian). Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  28. ^ KM Novine (December 10, 2016). "Милан Стаматовић: Закуните се пред Богом и народом да нећете лагати, издати Косово и кршити Устав као Томислав Николић!" (in Serbian). Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  29. ^ "Sputnik: Stamatović: Sprečiti strane pritiske, osloboditi Kosovo" (in Serbian). March 24, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017.