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news 28 Nov 16

Montenegro MPs to Vote on New Govt Amid Boycott

Parliament will vote on Montenegro’s new government despite a boycott by MPs from the opposition, which is also threatening protest rallies against alleged election fraud.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
The Montenegrin parliament. Photo: skupstina.me

Montenegro's parliament convenes on Monday to approve a new cabinet of ministers although opposition MPs are boycotting the legislature and refusing to recognise the results of last month’s general election, alleging vote-rigging.

The new government, the fourth since the country gained independence, is expected to be approved by the 42 MPs from the ruling coalition in the 81-seat parliament, led by the Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS.

The formation of the new government under the DPS’s nominee for prime minister, Dusko Markovic, will see veteran leader Milo Djukanovic stepping down from the PM post, at least temporarily.

However, there is speculation he will run for another term as president when incumbent Filip Vujanovic’s term expires in early 2018. 

The new government under Djukanovic's successor Markovic, the vice-president of the ruling DPS, has secured a majority in parliament with the help of ethnic minority Bosniak, Albanian and Croat parties and the small leftist Social Democratic party, SD, which in return will have seven seats in the new cabinet.

Late on Sunday, the leader of the DPS and outgoing PM Djukanovic signed a coalition deal with the SD and the minority Bosniak, Albanian and Croatian parties, making it is certain that some longtime ministers will not have seats I the new cabinet.

Former Tourism Minister Branimir Gvozdenovic, Defence Minister Milica Pejanovic Djurisic and Economy Minister Vladimir Kavaric will all lose their portfolios.

New PM Markovic wants to refresh the cabinet and appoint staff untainted with suspicions of abuse of office and corruption, independent newspapers Dan and Vijesti reported.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties announced they will meet this week to discuss further action after they decided to boycott parliament and not recognise the election results, alleging that the polls were marked by serious irregularities.

They also said that it was unacceptable to hold the elections when there had allegedly been plans to stage a coup on polling day – an attempt that the authorities said they thwarted.

Zarko Rakcevic, the leader of Civic Movement URA, which won ten seats in parliament, said the boycott will last until the alleged coup is cleared up and the details of what the prosecution claims was an attempt to overthrow Djukanovic on election day are properly established.

The opposition parties have called for the formation of a 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 October 16 elections. 

"In the atmosphere of a state of emergency and a coup, the election was not free and fair and the judiciary has its hands full investigating the electoral frauds claims,” Rakcevic told a press conference on Sunday.

Hundreds of complaints have been filed about alleged irregularities at the polls.

The main opposition group, the pro-Russian Democratic Front, has said it plans a new round of demonstrations from December aimed at forcing Djukanovic’s party out of office. 

The Front said the entry of ethnic minority parties into a new government under the DPS would escalate the crisis, bankrupt the state and result in a parliamentary boycott and protests.

In the October 16 general election, the DPS gained 41.41 per cent of the vote, securing 36 seats in the 81-seat parliament. 

The DPS has been in power since 1991, when it was created as a successor to the Communist Party of Montenegro, which had ruled the republic within the Yugoslav federation since World War II. 

 

Party leader Djukanovic has been either prime minister or president of the country for more than 25 years.

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