On 30 September, the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) organised an online event ‘Montenegro after the parliamentary elections: where to next?’ in light of the surprising election outcome, which saw Montenegro’s first transition of power through elections. Leading civil society experts shared their perspectives on this shift, as well as giving recommendations for the way forward. Our Executive Director Jovana Marović was one of the panelists with Jerzy Pomianowski, EED Executive Director, Tonino Picula, MEP and EP Rapporteur for Montenegro, Vladimir Bilčík, MEP and Chair of the EU-Montenegro Delegation to the Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, Boris Marić, Executive Director of the Center for Civic Liberties, Milka Tadić Mijović, journalist and civic activist from the Center for Investigative Reporting, Miloš Vuković, economic analyst and Rados Musovic, civil society expert.
Jovana commented that despite initial doubts about the new coalition’s foreign policy course, they have signed an agreement re-committing to NATO and EU membership, and rejecting the possibility of de-recognition of Kosovo. Commenting on the coalition’s civic oriented party, URA, Marović said it remains to be seen to what extent they can balance the other parties with only four seats in parliament. She further noted that progress needs to be made on negotiation chapters 23 and 24 on the rule of law, but that she expects there to be a better fight against corruption and organised crime. Marović also expressed hope that the coalition will take concerted action to avoid clientelism.
Reacting to the DPS statement denouncing the international community’s acceptance of the election result, Marović stated that everyone who does not support DPS is now being painted as pro-Serbian or pro-Russian. Asked about the future of the relationship with Serbia, Marović stated that there are two Serbia’s – moderates and the regime-backed nationalists – and it is still unclear to what extent these forces will seek to influence the power transition in Montenegro. However, it is known that the Serbian government gave €1.5 million to the Church during the summer, which was partially used in the Montenegrin election campaign.
Text and photo: European Endowment for Democracy (EED)