January 26, 2010
Many countries in Europe have dark and bright moments in history. Dark periods are marked by either tyranny, totalitarism or wars, while bright periods usually refer to revolutions, ideas of progress and prosperity, anti-war movements and prominent people who organized it. In recent European history, almost all Eastern countries experienced shifts of political systems and ruling regimes. In many cases, solidarity of the free citizens and different freedom movements took part in those events.
In the times when the whole Balkans region became a war zone, Montenegro was lucky enough to have its own freedom movement – alliance of people of all ethnic backgrounds and religions, which was unique at that time in the war-affected ex-Yugoslavia ! Liberal Alliance of Montenegro was founded on January 26th 1990, and was the first opposition party in Montenegro. It promoted anti-war politics, progressive and independent Montenegro, and joining United Europe. Because of those European values, the ruling regime of Montenegro (the same ruling party who runs the country now) have called members of Liberal Alliance as “traitors” and “servants of the west”. During those years, hundreds of people were threatened, scared off and put under pressure, if being noticed as supporters of this movement. Despite everything, the movement was constantly growing, and spreaded hope, peace and love among so many people who were surrounded by the atmosphere of hate, fear and constant pressure of the government. Nowadays, after 20 years, the government of Montenegro does exactly the same things that Liberal Alliance was promoting in 1990’s. Tens of thousands of Montenegrin citizens feel that they literraly lost twenty years, while the EU and the rest of international community still tends to support the undemocratic system in Montenegro.
Unfortunately, Montenegro is still perhaps the only European country that never experienced the real essence of “democratic system” – the shift of power between the ruling regime and the opposition. Being such a small state (only 650.000 citizens) makes the State system very special, and easy for the ruling party to control and influence the citizens, making sure that all elections are smoothly won by the ruling regime. In order to draw international attention towards small Montenegro, Liberal Alliance of Montenegro 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“)
However, members of the movement stayed active on the internet and continued to promote liberal and progressive ideas, in order to urge citizens that changes are neccessary for Montenegro. In that matter, several blogs and online initiatives were created, which soon became an “oasis” for the people who want independent news and analyses. The movement has shown its real strength when 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 and former vice president of Liberal International. His blog had more than 350.000 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. For those unfamiliar with political situation in Montenegro, 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”)
Maybe the best way to remember how brave and progressive were the ideas of Liberal Alliance, is to watch a short YouTube clip about the 1990’s, with statements from Slavko Perovic (Liberal Alliance) and current Prime Minister of Montenegro – Milo Djukanovic (he was PM in the 1990’s too, read here more about his controversial biography)
The video clip is available here:
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