Montenegro’s parliament approves government reshuffle

By bne IntelliNews May 19, 2016

Montenegro’s parliament voted in the early hours of May 19 on special legislation enabling the opposition to join the government, and approved five new ministers after long and tense debates.

On April 26, representatives of several opposition parties signed a long-expected agreement with Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS). Under the deal, the opposition will get five ministerial seats. The agreement is expected to bring political stability in Montenegro ahead of the general election this autumn, after months of protests and declining trust in the transparency of election process. Moreover, all parties that signed the pact pledged to accept the results of the election.

A total of 49 MPs supported the legislation, while 20 voted against it and six decided not to vote. On May 19, three opposition parties - the DPS’s former coalition partner the Social Democratic Party (SDP), United Reform Action (URA) and Demos - will enter the government.

Independent Milorad Vujovic - who was originally proposed for the agriculture minister post - will become deputy prime minister, Demos leader Goran Danilovic will head the internal affairs ministry, SDP member Rasko Konjevic will become finance minister and Boris Maric, who was proposed by URA, will be in charge of the social affairs ministry. Another independent candidate, economist Milenko Popovic was the compromise choice for agriculture minister.

Djukanovic did not participate in the debates and did not attend the voting as he decided to boycott the parliament since a May 13 incident. On that day, all MPs of the opposition Democratic Front (DF) stood up yelling “Milo, thief!” as the prime minister began his speech to present the nominations for ministers. Djukanovic replied “Well done, morons!”, and DF MPs tried to start a fight with him. Following the incident, MPs from the DPS and the opposition parties that will join the government said they would return to the parliament only to participate in the voting and the DF debated the reshuffle alone.

Following the vote on the special legislation and the government reshuffle, MPs also approved the replacement of parliament speaker Ranko Krivokapic, as requested by the DPS.

The dismissal of Krivokapic was required by the DPS as he is the leader of the SDP, which broke its long-term partnership with Djukanovic’s party and did not support the governmnent in a confidence vote in January. The appointment of a parliament speaker from the SDP was part of the latest coalition agreement between the DPS and the SDP, signed in 2012.

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