Serbia: Ordinary man, normal life

Serbia has had its bloodless revolution and is eagerly waiting for Republic elections this month. But what drives the extraordinary figure who has provided leadership and moral authority after an era of crime and hate?

The World Today Published 1 December 2000 Updated 28 October 2020 4 minute READ

Gillian Sandford

Guardian and Observer correspondent in Belgrade

Dr Vojislav Kostunica had a reputation in Serbia for saying very intelligent things if you could only stay awake through his speeches. Now one of the most boring men ever to be Yugoslav President is proving himself a political star.

The popularity of this self–effacing academic is not entirely surprising. It is as if the whole of Serbia is breathing a huge sigh of relief that, after toppling Slobodan Milosevic, the country has finally managed to find a politician it can trust.

Ask any Serbian pundit and they will tell you that that being ordinary is one of Kostunica’s greatest assets. Outside his country, his somber suits and long, serious face are increasingly familiar. Foreign emissaries too are apparently captivated by his understated style, as he urges that Yugoslavia be rapidly reintegrated into the world community.

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