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news 18 Nov 16

Montenegro Opposition Plans New Wave of Protests

Montenegro's strongest opposition alliance, the Democratic Front, has announced new street protests aimed at forcing out the ruling party, if it tries to form a new government.

Dusica Tomovic
Opposition Democratic Front leaders Andrija Mandic, right, and Nebojsa Medojevic attend a press conference in their headquarter on October 17. Photo Beta, AP, Darko Vojinovic 660.jpg

The opposition Democratic Front is planning a new round of demonstrations from December aimed at forcing out the party of outgoing Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, which has held power since 1991.

The pro-Russian alliance said the protests would be organized if one or more ethnic minority party accepted the offer of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, and Prime Minister-Designate Dusko Markovic, to form a new government.

According to final results of the election held on October 16, the DPS won 36 of the 81 seats in parliament. The party still needs the support of ethnic Bosniak, Croat and Albanian parties to secure a majority and form a government.

The DPS has so far failed to form a new coalition government, however, as some of the smaller parties are demanding top ministerial posts in exchange of their participation.

Defeated opposition parties have meanwhile rejected the result of the general election, once again claiming it was rigged.

The Front’s leaders, Andrija Mandic and Nebojsa Medojevic,  said the entry of minority parties into a new government under the DPS would escalate the crisis, bankrupt the state and result in a parliamentary boycott and protests.

"Let's take the streets again but this time altogether," Mandic told a meeting of the party leadership in the town of Niksic.

The Democratic Front, along with the civic coalition Key, the Democrats and the Social Democratic Party all refuse to recognize the results of the election, claiming the polls were organised in the context of a murky coup attempt and marked by numerous irregularities.

They have called for the formation of the special commission, which should include representatives of the international community, to probe the circumstances and background to the arrests of 20 Serbian coup suspects ahead of Sunday’s elections.

Former Serbian Gendarmerie commander Bratislav Dikic was among 20 paramilitaries detained by police on election day because of an alleged plan to disrupt the election and seize power in Montenegro by force.

The group was allegedly caught trying to enter Montenegro from Serbia with arms and ammunition and was arrested on charges of terrorism. Pro-government media outlets insist the men were involved in an “attempted coup”.

The Prosecutor's Office said there was “reasonable suspicion” that a criminal organisation had been formed in Serbia and Montenegro at the start of October with a plan to attack citizens and police in front of parliament once the results of Sunday’s election were announced, before taking over the assembly and declaring that the party of their choice had won the polls.

The prosecution also said it suspected the criminal organization planned to kill Montenegro’s veteran Prime Minister, Djukanovic.

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