Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs

Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia January 13, 2021

The members of Montenegro’s new ruling coalition have agreed to share out the top jobs in the state administration and major state-controlled companies after months of tense talks. 

The new ruling coalition comprises around 20 small parties that were formerly in opposition, and agreed to work together despite their political differences to oust President Milo Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS). 

Although all parties in the coalition — led by three smaller coalitions, For the Future of Montenegro, Peace is Our Nation and Black in White — backed the government of Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic, some of them were not happy with his decision not to make political appointments in the cabinet but to appoint a government of experts. 

Krivokapic’s government has pledged to fight corruption and reform public administration among its top goals. 

However, the arrival of a fragmented coalition of small parties to take over governing Montenegro from the DPS, which was deeply entrenched in the state administration after three decades in power, inevitably eased questions as to how effective the new government could be. It was expected to struggle to make headway working with a civil service long controlled by the DPS. 

Shortly after Krivokapic’s government was confirmed by the parliament, in early January it issued a decree dismissing high-ranking officials including the heads of the tax administration, customs administration, property administration, real estate administration, and the gambling administration and their assistants, according to local media reports.

For the Future of Montenegro will have a two-thirds quota in the state administration and the reminder will be equally distributed between the two other coalitions, reported public broadcaster RTCG. 

For the Future of Montenegro’s leading member the Democratic Front will appoint the heads of several big companies, which are majority owned by the state. This distribution should satisfy the Democratic Front, which was keen to get ministerial seats and announced that it would back Krivokapic’s government only in order to oust the DPS from power.

Former presidential candidate and vocal Donald Trump supporter Nebojsa Medojevic’s Movement for Changes will get to make important appointments, including the heads of Montenegro’s heath service, airports operator Aerodromi Crne Gore, the real estate authority, the pension and disability fund, the electricity distribution operator CGES, the power trade market operator and the environment agency.

His party will also decide who will head the investment agency, the directorate for protection of classified information and the agency for electronic communications.

The Peace is Our Nation coalition will appoint the heads of power company EPCG, electricity distribution company CEDIS, port operator Luka Bar, the employment agency and several companies.