News 12 Nov 12

Montenegro Opposition Reaches Deal in Niksic

Montenegro's opposition party managed to convince its partners to respect the state symbols, but its success in making them condemn the war crimes committed in former Yugoslavia was partial.

Milena Milosevic

Almost a month after the October 14 elections Montenegro’s second largest town, Niksic, has the new local government.

The opposition parties, Positive Montenegro, the Socialist People's Party and the Democratic Front, have reached an agreement on coalition and on Friday they presented their join political platform.

These included respect for the Montenegrin state symbols and country's independence, which was restored in 2006.

Last week, the coalition negotiations were threatened when several Democratic Front MPs were absent from the chamber when the national anthem was sung at the parliament's inaugural session.

The MPs object to two verses, written by the controversial historical figure Sekula Drljevic, who was declared a war criminal by the communist authorities after the Second World War, and want them removed from the anthem.

However, it was Positive Montenegro that during the negotiations insisted on the their political principles relating to the state symbols and war time past.

It wanted the other parties to openly condemn war crimes committed on the territory of former Yugoslavia, and the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in particular.

The final deal, however, contains only implicit reference to this issue.

According to the joint political platform the parties condemn “all genocides and crimes in former Yugoslavia”, and, in that regard, “respect the corresponding decision of the International Court of Justice“.

The massacre of more than 7,000 Bosniaks in Srebrenica by the Bosnian Serb army in July 1995 was classified as genocide in 2007 by the International Court for Justice.

Positive Montenegro also wanted the other parties to cooperate with the local authorities in Kosovo, however there is no mention of that issue in the final deal.

Montenegro's ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, which previously ran the town of Niksic, criticised Positive Montenegro for abandoning its principles and pre-electoral promises in order to sign the deal with the Democratic Front.

The distribution of posts within the future local government is yet to be agreed.



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