Montenegro and European Union

The idea of boycotting undemocratic political system in Montenegro started spreading widely among citizens and political parties. For those unfamiliar with political situation, it may seem quite amazing to hear this, since most of news about the tiny Balkan state refers to it as a “prosperous country which is fastly progressing towards EU”. (Read here the article “Credibility of Montenegrin regime questioned by many”)

Three major opposition political parties agreed that boycotting elections could be the only way to attract the attention of European and other international factors to put pressure on Montenegrin regime. They already decided to boycott the upcoming local elections (November 2009) in several Montenegrin towns.

Originally, the idea of boycott was promoted by the prominent opposition politician Slavko Perovic, on his blog. Mr Perovic is leader of Liberal Alliance of Montenegro (first opposition party in the country), which has „frozen“ its political activities in March 2005, explaining that Montenegro lacks basic democratic principles which would ensure normal and independent functioning of an opposition party. Last election of March 2009, proved that opposition indeed doesn’t have even smallest opportunity to make any progress as ruling party won more than absolute majority again (in some towns more than 65%). Independent analysts believe that changes are impossible since ruling party holds the monopoly in all mechanisms of the State, which are remained habits from communist times. (read here the article “Why victory is impossible for the opposition“)

Blog of Slavko Perovic, (former vice president of Liberal International), had more than 330.000 visits over the last 2 years. He appealed to citizens and opposition leaders that the only way out of political agony is to completely end any form of collaboration with the current regime, and to start with hard process of reconciliation and necessary internal changes. Firstly the idea was widely spread among citizens, and soon political leaderships of all major opposition parties accepted it.

Those are statements from three major opposition parties in Montenegro:

„Movement for Changes (Pokret za promjene) is united in belief that we urgently need to show that ruling autocratic regime is illegitimate, and that present moment brought us to the only appropriate move – active boycotting of all election processes. In this matter, we expect support from other opposition parties and whole democratic public sphere, in order to send clear and strong message to domestic and international community about autocratic character of Montenegrin regime, “imprisoned” institutions, and absence of minimal democratic conditions for free and fair elections”.

“Ruling regime cannot be beaten on the elections because they use all institutions of the state, complete public finances and all Government programs, in order to make their victory smooth”.

Leader of Movement for Changes, Nebojsa Medojevic also expressed his concern about reports from European Commission and other international organizations, which continuously warn that Montenegro fails in showing any visible results in fighting organized crime and corruption.

He stated that “the key political problem in Montenegro is legally and constitutionally unsustainable position of Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, who is officially accused for criminal charges at Italian courts, for distribution of cigarettes and money laundering. (read here his controversial political biography).

Consequence of this is reduce of Government capacities, corruption on highest levels, insufficient police capacities, politically controlled/dependent judicial branch, attacks on media and journalists, etc”.

Mr. Djukanovic has been a political leader in Montenegro for nearly 20 years, and passed a long raod since then (already served four terms as Prime Minister and one term as President of Montenegro. Now – 2009, he again became Prime Minister for the fifth time). He started as one of the leaders of the Communist Party, then a coalition partner of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, and later switched from pro-Yugoslav option into leading independence movement of Montenegro. (see a video with english subtitles about his role in Balkan wars). Recently, a series of articles appeared in many international and regional newspapers, about „possibly one of Europe’s largest smuggling operations in recent years – a multi-billion dollar operation involving the Italian Mafia and the tiny country of Montenegro.“ (read more…)

Mr. Medojevic anticipated that future step of the opposition should be complete boycott of all institutions and system, since all of that was created by support from organized crime. He made it clear that this step required stronger support from European Community and other international factors.

Srdjan Milic, leader of Socialist Peoples Party (Socijalisticka Nardona Partija) said that “his party will not take part in illegitimate process, since the law which enforces the election process is not consistent with Constitution”. He also initiated talks with Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic. Leaders of three strongest opposition parties (Socialist Peoples Party, Nova, and Movement for Changes), Sradjan Milic, Andrija Mandic and Nebojsa Medojevic, also invited President of Montenegro to join them in opposing organized crime that affects elections process in Montenegro.

Andrija Mandic, leader of Nova Srpska Demokratija, (New Serbian Democracy) described the current political situation in Montenegro with the similar tone – “Organized crime and misuse of state resources that are available to the ruling regime, prevents holding any kind of free and fair elections. Opposition parties will not legitimate undemocratic election process, and we will do everything to change the current position and enable the free will of Montenegrin citizens to be expressed.

Goran Danilovic, one of the leaders of Nova, stated that he supports the decision “to stop competing with criminal groups on the elections, if that’s the only way to democratize the society”. He also emphasized the importance of international community, that should play active role in the process.

Majority of non-parliamentarian opposition parties and politicians, such as Emil Krijestolac (Narodna Stranka), Dobrilo Dedeic, Dragica Perovic, Ranko Kadic (Demokratska Srpska Stranka) and many other intellectuals, university professors, independent analysts and prominent public leaders, joined the initiative to end the last undemocratic regime in Europe. Even the students in Montenegro, for the first time in country’s history, held massive protests on the streets of Podgorica (capital) and Cetinje (old royal capital) to end the political influence of ruling regime on the education system (read full story…), as well as in all other spheres of life (having only 650.000 citizens, the ruling party strives to control all aspects of society in Montenegro).

Will the Brussels listen and react?

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