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news 03 May 16

Djukanovic to Reshuffle Cabinet in Montenegro

The veteran Prime Minister is about to resuffle his cabinet and gave five ministries to his opponents, as he is obliged to by an election deal agreed with five opposition parties.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
 
 PM Djukanovic | Photo: gov.me

Montenegrin lawmakers on Wednesday  will meet to approve a new cabinet after the ruling and opposition parties agreed on forming a transitional government to organize parliamentary elections by the end of this year.

It is expected that MPs at the same session will adopt a special law to legally define the implementation of the agreement and how state resources can be used.

After five month of negotiations, Montenegro's ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, and opposition parties signed an agreement last Wednesday intended to ensure free elections and end a prolonged political crisis.

The agreement was inked by the leaders of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, which was the DPS’s former long-term ally but refused to support the government in a no-confidence vote in January, and by the opposition Demos, URA and the ethnic Bosniak party. The Positive party is also expected to sign the agreement.

Another opposition party, the Socialist People's Party, SNP, will not sign the agreement, but will support it  the parliament and will also participate in government.

Under the terms of the agreement, the opposition will be given five ministerial posts before the elections and seats on the management boards of 16 state institutions and six state-owned enterprises, as well as representation on financial institutions such as tax administrations at municipal level.

The opposition said that it had also agreed with the Djukanovic's party that the Special Prosecution for Organised Crime will probe alleged violations of the electoral law and election fraud.

The agreement is expected to restore political stability to Montenegro ahead of the general election following months of protests and declining trust in the transparency of
election process.

Moreover, all parties that signed the pact have now pledged to accept the results of the next election.

"This agreement is open to all [opposition parties]. I do not exclude the option of the SNP signing it at some point," URA leader Zarko Rakcevic said.

However, the parties have disagreed over whether the Positive party, which is supposed to get one ministerial seat, should enter the government from the quota allocated to the opposition.

“As far as we are concerned, Positive is not in opposition and will not share in the opposition’s quota [of ministries],” Rakcevic said.

On the other hand, Positive claims that, despite supporting the government in a vote of confidence in January, it is still part of the opposition.

“The desire and intention of part of the opposition and the ruling SDP to seize for themselves as many functions as possible is obvious and they are already trading in them publicly,” a senior party official, Goran Tuponja, said.

In January, Djukanovic invited the opposition parties to join the government in his concluding speech to a three-day debate on a confidence vote.

Djukanovic said he was ready to provide opportunities for opposition parties to take ministerial and deputy-ministerial posts in key ministries, with the aim of ensuring transparency during the general election in autumn 2016.

Following the confidence vote, won by Djukanovic, the DPS and representatives of almost all opposition parties in parliament initiated meetings to discuss the proposal.

The only party that refused to participate was the pro-Russian Democratic Front, which has boycotted the parliament since September 2015 and also refused to take part in the no-confidence vote.

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