UN Srebrenica resolution tears Montenegro's ruling coalition apart

UN Srebrenica resolution tears Montenegro's ruling coalition apart
PM Milojko Spajic’s government has a slim majority in Montenegro's parliament, but requires the support of ZBCG. / skupstina.me
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia May 27, 2024

Montenegro is facing a new snap general election after the pro-Serbian For the Future of Montenegro (ZBCG) coalition decided to withdraw its support for the government of Prime Minister Milojko Spajic due to its approval of the UN resolution on the Srebrenica genocide.

ZBCG has 13 MPs in parliament and if it withdraws from the ruling coalition with Spajic’s Europe Now (PES) party, the government will no longer have a majority in the 81-seat parliament.

The coalition wrote on Facebook it would only consider resuming its support for the government if certain conditions are fulfilled by Spajic’s government.

“The illegitimate decision of the government without consultations with its coalition partners is completely against the national, state and political interests of Montenegro,” one of the members of ZBCG, the Democratic People’s Party (DNP), said.

It added that by supporting the resolution, Montenegro’s government has declared that more than 30% of its citizens are genocidal.

In July 1995, more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed in Srebrenica by Serb troops and Serbian paramilitary groups. The resolution declares July 11 the International Day of Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide.

The initiators of the text were Germany and Rwanda, while Montenegro submitted amendments clarifying that the responsibility for the genocide is personal and not of all Serbs.

DNS also said that the government violated the coalition agreement by supporting the resolution without discussing it with coalition partners first.

ZBCG has set several conditions to PES and Spajic’s government to consider a return to coalition, including the adoption by the end of June of a resolution declaring that Serbs were also victims of genocide at the Jasenovac concentration and extermination camp. The camp was created by the Croats during World War II in occupied Yugoslavia.

The majority of victims in the Jasenovac camp were Serbs and, according to data from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, between 45,000 and 52,000 Serbs were murdered there.

ZBCG demands the launch of a constitutional initiative that would include the Serbian language as an official language in Montenegro. They also want the proposal of a legal solution and interstate agreement with Serbia on dual citizenship, as well as the adoption of the Serbian flag as the national flag.

These demands are seen as unrealistic and experts suspect they are preparation for the next early general election.

“They find themselves in the midst of wanting to stay in the structures of the executive power, but not to stay away from the aggressive policy of their political patron [Serbian President] Aleksandar Vucic. So they try in this way, by blackmailing Spajic, to affirm those value principles of politics,” political analyst Danilo Kalezic told daily Pobjeda.

He added that increasing political tensions in the country is an effort aiming to raise support for ZBCG in a snap vote, highly likely to be held in the autumn.