During 1995, the Citizens Assembly of the Federal Assembly of Yugoslavia, which according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia should be in session for 8 months during the year, was in session only 14 days. This year, the figure is even lower, and both assemblies worked less than a week each. The Yugoslav Parliament is now more of a cultural and historical point of interest and an unavoidable stopping point for tourists, than the supreme legislative body of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Desimir Tosic, a representative of the Democratic Party in the Citizens Assembly, thinks that the main problem of the Federal Assembly is the fact that it is never in session.
- The Parliament, according to our Constitution, should have legislative power and besides this should have its function extended to control of authority, but it cannot perform either of these functions since it is never in session. For example, last year the German Parliament had 58 days of regular sessions, and a fairly inactive parliament like that of France, held sessions during 48 days.
- We are a politically undeveloped nation, and the regime only exploits this fact. If the society were more conscious and real, they would have probably been forced to change their politics. Our populace is politically lagging beind the world and in that respect we are not in the 19th century, but in the 18th, says Mr. Tosic.
Commenting on the position of the Federal Assembly, the Federal Government, and the President of F.R. Yugoslavia, Mr. Tosic states that "its perfectly clear that they are all supposed to listen to the President of Serbia like soldiers, which is so evident from their relations with foreign governments and factors."
- The Federal Assembly and the Federal Government, it is clear enough, have to work together regardless of the fact that the Assembly is a legislative, and the Government an executive body. The Government is responsible to the Federal Assembly, and we both have to discuss important issues for the country, but we did not have a chance to discuss such historical events as was the loss of Krajina and the Dayton accord. This is not a Parliament and this is not a Federal Assembly, this is one chaotic state in which no rules or system exist. - The regime uses the Parliament as a lever, as a device to carry out the will of the ruling party. The ruling people of the regime have a psycological problem to adapt to political pluralism, they cannot understand that political pluralism involves a kind of consensus - asserts Mr. Tosic.
Although the ruling political parties, with some help from known or unknown coalition partners consist the majority in the parlament, which allows them to make decisions independently and to absolutly ignore the opposition, Mr. Tosic beleives that there is no dictatorship imposed on the parliamentary minority by the majority, in the Federal Assembly.
- I would not call it a dictatorship because the majority, naturally, always makes decisions, while the minority always presents its standpoint and tries to correct things. I am not angry at the majority, I recognize the majority, but I also expect it to recognize me. Since the Federal Assembly is never in session, this relationship between the parliamentary majority and minority is nonexistent. We do not exist, we are in session only to discuss the budget, or the election law, things that are necessary. The problem is that we do not talk at all, that we are not a serious political body of this country.
- The majority does not complain about this, and there are practical reasons for their such behavior. Two thirds of the representatives in the Citizens Assembly are chairmen of companies. All of them are employed and earn a much higher income from their companies then as representatives in the Parliament. Why would they be interested in the work of the Parliament if they do not possess a high level of political consciousness anyway, and they are more interested in making money elsewhere - explains Mr. Tosic.
According to his beleif, the relations within the Federation, especially the relations between the two ruling parties in Serbia and Montenegro which are very often on the verge of open conflict, do not have a large influence on the work of the Federal Assembly.
- The present leadership consciously acts against the law, because the law means nothing to them, all in accordance with the old Communist philosophy. They are guiding themselves according to Josip Broz Tito's saying "Do not follow the law like a drunk person walks against a picket fence". This is so deeply rooted in them, like a kind of disease, says Mr. Tosic.
He is also pesimistic about future activities of the Federal Assembly.
- Even if socialists win total power in the upcoming federal elections, do you think the parliament will be more active? Not at all - Mr. Tosic is categoric.