Sunday, 29 October 2006
Chairman Markovic thanks citizens who voted
After polling stations for the referendum to confirm Serbia’s new Constitution closed, the Chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Predrag Markovic, addressed the public and thanked all those who chose to exercise their right to vote, regardless of whether they voted in favour or against the new Constitution, and thereby ‘showed their trust in the vote of the citizen’.
After polling stations for the referendum to confirm Serbia’s new Constitution closed, the Chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Predrag Markovic, addressed the public and thanked all those who chose to exercise their right to vote, regardless of whether they voted in favour or against the new Constitution, and thereby ‘showed their trust in the vote of the citizen’. He extended special thanks to those who turned out to vote for the first time.
Mr Markovic delivered the following speech:
‘Respected ladies and gentlemen,
Polling stations in
I would like to thank all those who today chose to exercise their right to vote, regardless of whether they voted in favour of the Constitution or against it, as they have shown their trust in the vote of the citizen.
I would like to extend special thanks to those who had never voted before, although they could have, and today voted for the first time – knowing that that the Constitution is not just a law, and the referendum is not just a vote. Both you and me know at least one such person. As well as to those who were able to vote for the first time today, and did so, because I know that we, the elderly, will live in a country created by them.
I am sad for all those who did not turn out to vote, as this was the first chance this century – and probably the last – for them to cast their vote and thereby influence the entire ordering of the state. I am saddened by the fact that politicians and the media have confused the citizens so much that many of them have forgotten that failure of this referendum would have meant inviting either a protectorate or a dictatorship. I am sorry that so many people have forgotten what this means.
At this time I do not have official data about how many people turned out to vote and how many of them voted in favour of the new Constitution. The Republic Electoral Commission will tell us that; I believe that estimates will start coming in soon.
It is my job, however, to tell you what the next step is:
If the citizens have not confirmed the new Constitution, immediately upon receiving official information of that I will perform all of my duties arising therefrom, but I would not be here, and would not smile as I do, if I did not believe in
In case of the confirmation of the new Constitution by the citizens, it is important for political parties to agree on the wording of a Constitutional Act for the implementation of the Constitution, so that I could convene a special sitting – the first sitting to be held at Assembly House – where the Constitution will formally be proclaimed.
I hereby warn all parties – and this is something of which I have also informed His Holiness the Patriarch – that I want to ensure that the past is respected before celebrating the future. On Saturday 4 November believers and other members of the public will be paying their respects to the dead, and no-one must disturb citizens’ privacy. The very next day is a Sunday, 5 November, and I will do everything in my power to have the Constitution proclaimed then, so that our children, whose Autumn school holidays end then, will continue their academic year on Monday 6 November in a country that is fully legitimate and founded on law.
Ladies and gentlemen, over the two-and-a-half years of trying to convince politicians to agree on the Constitution, I have never risen to the challenge of saying who was blocking its adoption. It was only today that I, like all other members of the public, was able to say either YES or NO. This is why I did not sign the proposed Constitution I voted for at the National Assembly, because I thought that nobody had the right to sign the Constitution twice. I have saved my signature to sign the Constitution after it is proclaimed by the National Assembly of the
And I ask all of you, when, as I firmly believe, Serbia learns that it has achieved its greatest collective victory, as it seems it will, in the last quarter – as seems to be the custom with us – people will take to the streets, as they do for much smaller victories, and unfurl flags in Belgrade. And, after all these years, the columns will pass the former Federal Assembly, now the Serbian Assembly House, whose domes have tonight been illuminated for the first time, and upon whose flagpoles the flags of the State of Serbia have been run up high. I ask you to again be dignified in these celebrations.