News 25 Jan 13

Vujanovic Runs Again as Montenegro President

In a move whose legality is disputed, Montenegro's ruling party has declared Filip Vujanovic, the current head of state, as its presidential candidate in the April election.

Milena Milosevic
BIRN
Podgorica

The main board of the governing Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, unanimously voted for Vujanovic's candidacy on Thursday.

The party decribed his previous incumbency as president as highly successful.

“Those are the best guarantees that the candidacy of Filip Vujanovic will have the widest support of the DPS's political partners, and of other social and political subjects as well,” it stated.

Vujanovic is now serving his second term as President, after being re-elected in the 2008 election.

But some question his eligibility to run for the post again, since the 2007 Constitution stipulates that the same head of state can be elected only twice.

Others say that since the country only restored its independence in 2006, Vujanovic, who was first elected as a head of state in 2003, is only now completing his first full term as President of an independent country.

The DPS's junior coalition partner in government, the Social Democratic Party, SDP, last week said it would appeal to the Constitutional Court against Vujanovic’s candidacy.

"Just as the DPS is convicted that it [his candidacy] is constitutional, we are convinced that it is unconstitutional," Ranko Krivokapic, the SDP leader, said.

In the meantime, Milan Markovic, president of the Constitutional Court, is expected on Friday to meet Gianni Buquicchio, president of the Venice Commission, the advisory body to the Council of Europe on legal affairs, to discuss the constitutional aspects of Vujanovic’s candidacy.

The Democratic Front, the largest opposition formation, has named its leader, Miodrag Lekic, as its presidential candidate.

The rest of the opposition parties still have not decided whether to field their own separate candidates or support to Lekic.

The presidential election is due on April 7.

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