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News 03 Jun 13

Montenegro Probes Alleged Ruling Party Corruption

Montenegrin lawmakers voted to launch a parliamentary inquiry into the alleged misuse of public resources by the ruling party – claims that emerged after a scandal involving leaked tapes.

Milena Milosevic

The majority of MPs voted on Friday to launch a parliamentary inquiry “for the collection of information and facts about the events related to the work of the state bodies, regarding the publishing of the audio recordings and transcripts from the sessions of bodies and organs of the [ruling] Democratic Party of Socialists”.

The two opposition groups, the Democratic Front and Positive Montenegro, filed the proposal to hold an inquiry on May 24.

The so-called audio-recording affair broke out after the opposition daily newspaper Dan in February published transcripts of leaked tapes of Democratic Party of Socialists sessions.

In the leaks, party officials appeared to promise jobs and loans to supporters and donors.

The demand for the parliamentary probe into the affair was one of the demands voiced at a protest staged by the opposition in the capital Podgorica on April 20.

But the opposition's main focus at the rally was its claim that the April 7 presidential vote, which gave a third consequtive term to Filip Vujanovic of the Democratic Party of Socialists, was rigged.

The opposition argues that Miodrag Lekic, the leader of the Democratic Front who ran as an independent candidate, was the real winner.

The request for the election results to be annulled was also on parliament's agenda on Friday but didn’t get majority support.

Instead, MPs concluded that there was a need to build public trust in election processes – a recommendation which was frequently voiced by international organisations and the EU following the April vote – through a series of proposals to change the most important legislation governing polls in the country.

In an interview given to Podgorica-based daily Vijesti on May 30, Pius Fischer, the German ambassador to Podgorica, said that the EU and Germany would be closely watching the way that the country's institutions address the audio-recordings affair.

“The audio recordings demonstrated a way of thinking that is inconceivable for a country striving to achieve the rule of law,” Fischer noted.

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