News 30 Nov 12

Montenegro: Still No Deal on Niksic Mayor

Montenegro's opposition parties have still not managed to appoint a new mayor for Niksic, despite long negotiations, driven by demands for respect for state symbols, and the condemnation of war crimes by the coalition partners.

Milena Milosevic
BIRN
Podgorica

Positive Montenegro, the Democratic Front and the Socialist People's Party had appeared to be on the brink of agreeing the appointment of Janko Vucinic, a former trade union leader, as the new mayor of Niksic.

However, in a surprising twist, Drago Djurovic, a deputy from Positive Montenegro, has now sided with the ruling coalition, led by Montenegro's Democratic Party of Socialists.

On Thursday, Djurovic left the local assembly along with 20 deputies from the Coalition for a European Niksic.

The assembly was thus left with less than a half of overall number of deputies, 20 out of 41, and the necessary quorum was not reached.

Djurovic and the others left the chamber following the opposition parties' demand for a repeat of the secret ballot on the new mayor.

The previous vote showed a majority in favour of the candidate from the Coalition for a European Niksic, despite the agreement that the post should go to Vucinic.

As a result, the constitutive session of the local parliament has been postponed until next week.

The three opposition parties had already established agreement on the so-called universal principles of political cooperation as a basis for forming the local government in Niksic.

The principles included condemnation of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and respect for Montenegro's independence and its state symbols.

However, at the very beginning of the constitutive session of the local parliament, the majority of deputies from the Democratic Front boycotted the singing of the national anthem.

The move angered Positive Montenegro, which insisted on previously agreed principles and demanded that the Democratic Front put forward a non-party member as their candidate for the town's mayor.

The inability of the opposition parties to reach a deal in Niksic has been heavily exploited by Montenegro's ruling Democratic Party of Socialists.

The party stated that, if it had won a majority in Niksic, the town would have had a local government in place by this point.

The local election in Niksic were held on October 14, parallel to the general election.

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