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The Earley Edition has officially moved to My dot com, that is. Thanks for joining me.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Tomislav Nikolic, deputy leader of the Serbian Radical Party, is running for the post of Serbian president. Elections to be held June 13. He gave a TV interview to B92's Sanda Savic a little over a week ago. The full transcript is here:
B92 Interviews >> Tomislav Nikolic

Savic and Nikolic are politely at each other's throats throughout. Not surprising given the history of the Radical party and B92's championing of free press. Nikolic and the Radicals do enjoy a lot of support at the moment, so hopefully Savic's aggressive interviewing hasn't attracted more support for them just before the election. There will be more to worry about than just economic reform if the Radical party returns to dominance in Serbia.

Perhaps the most telling for media was Nikolic reaffirming his assertion that he doesn't regret the death of publisher Slavko Curuvija in 1999, still agreeing with Vojislav Seselj's statement:
Seselj: "Keep that in mind. You from B92 and the other traitor outlets. You want to kill off statesmen like rabbits and keep yourselves safe at the same time. Well, you're mistaken. You're very, very mistaken. No more kid gloves. Anyone who works for the Americans will have to suffer the consequences."

Given that, I not only doubt the sincerity of Nikolic's closing statement below, but find it slightly chilling.

Other highlights include:
  • Opening statement
    Nikolic: Good evening. I'm happy to be here.
    Closing statement
    Nikolic: You haven't devoted this show to presenting me as a presidential candidate, but I won't hold that against you.

  • Serbia's economic future
    B92: And, in your opinion, who is our main partner in the West at the moment?
    Nikolic: The European Union, I think.
    B92: You've heard what Javier Solana (EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) - ed.) said: "If Tomislav Nikolic wins, the EU won't support him and this will be a very bad signal to foreign investors."
    Nikolic: He didn't say that.
    B92: That is exactly what he said.
    Nikolic: He said this very gently and mildly, choosing his words very carefully. He said that he believes foreign investors will not be too happy if I win.
    B92: "It's going to be a bad signal," that's what he said.
    Nikolic: What, am I going to steal from foreign investors?
    B92: They won't invest in this country: you know that. That's our second topic tonight, the economy. Let's see how you can...
    Nikolic: Let's clear this up, because you're convinced Solana said something which he didn't say...

  • Lies and getting stuck in
    Nikolic: Do you have anything else?
    B92: I have loads of things, but I still haven't had a single answer from you.
    Nikolic: You don't have anything.
    B92: I haven't had a single answer. I have a heap of material. An enormous number of facts.
    Nikolic: I knew this program would be like this.
    B92: An enormous number of facts. I can read them out to you.
    Nikolic: Don't read someone else's facts to me.
    B92: These are not someone else's facts.
    Nikolic: Why didn't you approach me with these before this program?
    B92: The Serbian Public Revenue Bureau. A report. Listen to this.
    Nikolic: I can't respond to lies.
    B92: These aren't lies. This is an audit report.
    Nikolic: Lies.

  • Good Journalism?!
    Nikolic: Let me ask you one thing.
    B92: Please do.
    Nikolic: If you're a good journalist, why didn't you ask me to prepare my answers in advance?
I'll just forgot what I was told in first-year journalism then, shall I? "Do not provide questions beforehand unless it is the absolute last resort for getting the interview."

Now I'm not advocating what seems to be B92's push that Nikolic shouldn't be allowed to be in the elections because he will hurt Serbia's economy. Democracy has to continue, and the people have to be allowed to elect who they want, no matter how wrong the rest of us may think it is.

I'm just hoping and praying Nikolic is not who they want, that the majority of Serbians see how his election will hurt the economy, and respond by getting motivated to vote - against him. Much more importantly however, I'm hoping the majority of Serbians don't agree with the nationalistic crap he lays on, and that's why they'll turn out in numbers to vote against him. For the time being I'll take any reason.

the earley edition - Posted by Dave @ 6/08/2004 11:05:00 am || || Return to Top