October 15, 2020 - All political parties from the new majority have submitted proposals to Prime Minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic for some of the 18 ministries that they believe have they adequate staff to lead in the new Government, Dan writes.
According to the newspaper, there is a significant amount of overlap regarding preferences for departments between the parties, which means that Prime Minister-designate Krivokapic will have to make a final decision.
It is stated that the highest number of applications is for Deputy Prime Minister and for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of the Interior (MIA), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). There is no interest in several departments, namely the Ministry of Sports, the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, and the Ministry of Finance.
Earlier, there was an agreement with the Prime Minister-designate to personally take care of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Finance, i.e., to appoint experts to those positions.
As Dan reveals, the Democratic Front (DF) stated in a letter to Krivokapić that they are looking for the position of Deputy Prime Minister. They announced they have staff for leading roles in the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism. Also, they have expressed interest in the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Public Administration, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
However, one of the ten ministers from the ranks of the DF would also perform the function of vice president.
The proposal of Democratic Montenegro states that they have staff for leading positions in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and are looking for a Deputy Prime Minister position.
The Socialist People's Party (SNP) also suggested departments that their members could lead. And that one position of Deputy Prime Minister and four ministries, namely Agriculture and Rural Development, Labor and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry of Education.
The Movement for Change (PzP) is negotiating with the Prime Minister separately. They have asked for a function in the security sector, namely the Ministry of Defense, which would be accompanied by the position of Deputy Prime Minister, as well as for the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science, and Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism.
They also emphasized that these are their requirements only as far as the Government is concerned, and that they will seek positions of state secretaries and heads of various directorates.
The Civic Movement URA had stated earlier that they have staff to cover the positions of Minister of Defense and Minister of the Interior. Among their demands are the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Dan writes that URA also sought the position of Deputy Prime Minister.
October 8, 2020 - After consultations with the new parliamentary majority representatives, the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, sent a proposal to the Parliament of Montenegro for Zdravko Krivokapić to take on the task of forming the Government.
"Today, October 8, 2020, I held consultations on the prime minister-designate with the members of the coalition list: For the Future of Montenegro - Zdravko Krivokapic, Peace is Our Nation - Aleks Becic and Black on White - Dritan Abazovic. The outcome of these consultations was to propose Zdravko Krivokapić as the prime minister-designate, who will prepare a program and propose its composition within the deadline set by Montenegro's Constitution. The final decision will be taken before the 27th convocation of the Parliament of Montenegro at one of the upcoming meetings of the regular autumn session," reads the explanation made by Đukanović.
After consultations with Djukanovic, Krivokapic said that today was another day of victory for democracy. The leader of the coalition "For the Future of Montenegro" and the prime minister-designate for the new Government, Zdravko Krivokapic, wrote on Twitter:
"Aleksa Becic has just informed me that the President of Montenegro's proposal for the mandate-holder to propose the composition of the new Government has been submitted to the President of the Parliament. I am happy to inform you that I will prepare a program and propose the composition of the new Government of Montenegro, on which the 27th convocation of the Parliament of Montenegro will decide, "Krivokapić wrote.
"We will send the proposal for the new Government to the Assembly very soon. We have another obligation, and that is to look at the system of the entire administration and agree on the composition of the Government by November 8," Krivokapic said.
He sent an invitation to the Albanian list "Genci Nimanbegu - Nik Djelosaj" to participate in forming the new Government, Head of the list Nik Djelosaj confirmed to "Vijesti."
"At this moment, I feel a great pleasure in addressing you on behalf of the coalition" For the Future of Montenegro. " I confirm the readiness, expressed in the agreement on cooperation with the coalitions "Peace is our nation" and "Black on White," to cooperate with minority parties. In the hope of achieving our future collaboration, I would be grateful if you would suggest a date for our meeting," Krivokapic's invitation reads
Genci sees Nimanbeg's invitation as an opportunity to present his political views to the Prime Minister, supported by a very heterogeneous group of coalitions.
He congratulated Krivokapic on his mandate and said that he would acquaint him with his view of Montenegro's political situation, including the challenges that the future Government must address to improve democracy with particular reference to the rights of Albanians in Montenegro.
Today, after consultations with the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, Krivokapić said that he would send all national minority parties an invitation.
The nomination of the prime minister-designate has shown that the transition of power is going smoothly, despite the unjustified doubts of a proportion of the domestic and international public about possible obstructions, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic announced later today during talks with the head of the EU Delegation in Podgorica, Oana Cristina Popa.
October 1, 2020 - A new government is being formed in Montenegro. The prime ministerial candidate of the three winning coalitions with the majority in the parliament, Zdravko Krivokapić, believes that politicians should not burden citizens with the distribution of roles until the parties reach an agreement.
"It is primarily a matter for the political entities to reach agreement on all important details. Something like that is not played out in the media. The government's composition proposal, the plan, and the program are presented only when an agreement is reached, and the goals and priorities are articulated. Everything else is rather inappropriate and an unnecessary burden for all of us," stated Krivokapic in a guest editorial for Podgorica's Vijesti.
According to Krivokapic, the most crucial challenge at the moment is the economy, and "partisans and Chetniks, whites and greens" should be left to "drive through the forests of history."
"Let's return them to the literature from whence they were dragged by the politicians of the failed economy. This was only done to cover their economic incompetence and bad intentions in the legal sphere, using issues that are not the concern of the majority of the Montenegrin population," Krivokapic said.
The current economic situation in Montenegro far from positive. Krivokapic says that it reminds him of "a large, safe ship that the previous rulers broke up so that everyone could float on their own, on as large a piece of wood as possible."
However, Montenegro has so many opportunities for economic recovery that, as he points out, it seems to him that the change of government came at the final, but the still the right moment.
Montenegro is an ideal place for digital nomads, writes Krivokapic. "Work and travel opportunities need to be understood and methodically accepted. Agriculture is simply crying out for real support, and a serious plan must be made and implemented as soon as possible," he said, adding that he can promise that he will monitor the work of each ministry on a daily basis.
"I will follow the flow of money to the last cent. That is why I have already started with the IT sector, "wrote Krivokapic, pointing out that all political parties must recognize this new moment.
"It is time for those who want power or who think they are incapable of doing anything else to not enter politics," Krivokapic wrote, adding that "in the government, we need people who perceive this task as a great sacrifice, ready to spend a significant amount of time, being aware of how much, to every detail, they will be controlled by both domestic and international factors," he said.
Krivokapic points out that vanity, love of power, and love of glory will prove to be the wrong motives for this kind of work, and the future minister, instead of fame and money, could easily end up with a prison sentence if he acts illegally.
"No one in Montenegro, nor in the international community, of which we are a real part, will tolerate corruption, crime or incompetence any more. After all the conversations we have had, I am sure of one thing: there is no going back! Those who hope for a different outcome will be very disappointed," said Krivokapic.
September 25, 2020 - The European Union (EU) recognizes Montenegro as a leader in the integration process, stated the Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Oana-Cristina Popa, stating that a significant proportion of the work has already been completed. Today, she was received by the President of the Assembly, Aleksa Becic, who said that he was satisfied with his first meeting with Popa after taking office.
Becic thanked her for the support that the EU has provided to Montenegro so far in the process of reforms and democratization, which, as he said, confirmed that the Western Balkans is still a major focus for the EU.
Becic emphasized that the EU's assistance in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic was far greater than that provided by other international organizations.
"Having in mind the complex socio-economic and epidemiological situation, it is imperative that the new government is constituted as quickly and efficiently as possible." Significantly, minority parties supported my election, and I hope that they will be part of the new Government. Our common goal is to strengthen the civil state," Becic said.
He reiterated that the agreement signed by the representatives of the coalitions in the new parliamentary majority confirms that the new Government will be pro-Montenegrin, pro-European, pro-Western, civil, and conciliatory.
Becic mentioned that he would strengthen cooperation within NATO and accelerate European integration, which unites Montenegrin society.
He emphasized that the Assembly will remain open for project cooperation in the coming period, especially in supervisory and control roles, transparency, and efficiency.
Speaking about Chapters 23 and 24, Becic pointed out that stagnation in the integration process is not an option, that the new model of negotiations will give an additional boost to those who are efficient in implementing reforms, and that victory in the fight against organized crime and corruption is the only guarantee of a prosperous and stable Montenegro.
He pointed out that he sees the future of Montenegro and the Western Balkans as part of the EU and that this path has no alternative for the entire region.
Popa said that she was looking forward to excellent and efficient cooperation with Becic and the Assembly's new convocation to jointly lead Montenegro more swiftly towards EU membership.
Speaking about the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic, she emphasized that the EU has operational mechanisms to support Montenegro.
Popa said that the European Commission would publish two important documents on October 6 - the Enlargement Report for 2020 and the EU Investment Plan.
"The EU recognizes Montenegro as a leader in the integration process. A significant part of the work has already been done. That is why you have a great responsibility as a model for other countries in the region. The issue of integration of the Western Balkans countries is still on the table, and the European perspective is something we take very seriously," Popa emphasized.
She congratulated Becic on his election as President of the Montenegrin Parliament and said she was pleased with the peaceful transition of power.
September 23, 2020 - Aleksa Becic, the coalition "Peace is our nation" leader, was elected today the new President of the Parliament of Montenegro, supported by 45 of 81 deputies. The positions within the new majority's coalition partners were harmonized, and a request was sent to the President of the state, Milo Đukanović, to appoint prof. Dr. Zdravko Krivokapic, leader of the coalition "For the Future of Montenegro," the new government's prime minister-designate.
The new Parliament's first session was chaired by the oldest member of the new convocation, Miodrag Lekic, and assisted by the youngest, Maksim Vucinic. Some members of the Democratic Front did not attend the intonation of the national anthem of Montenegro.
At the beginning of the first New Assembly session, the Democratic Front announced support to the Civic Movement URA's proposals. Aleksa Becic to be a candidate for President of the Assembly, and Dr. Zdravko Krivokapic for the position of prime minister-designate, about which they were at least undefined at the yesterdays meeting in the Ostrog Monastery.
"All election activities were conducted following the law. I thank everyone who participated in that. Representatives of international organizations monitored the elections and did not identify major irregularities. There were 35 accredited media," said the President of the State Election Commission Aleksa at the beginning of the session. Ivanovic, after which the mandates of 81 deputies were verified.
The Social Democrats and the Bosniak Party won three seats each, the SDP two, the Black and White four mandates. The Albanian Coalition unanimously one seat, the DPS 30, the For the Future of Montenegro coalition 27, the Albanian List one, and the "Peace is Our Nation" coalition ten.
Forty-five deputies from the coalitions "For the Future of Montenegro," "Peace is our nation," "Black on White," the Bosniak Party (BS), and Nik Djelosaj from the Albanian list voted for the election of Becic. Liberal Party MP Andrija Popovic was against, and MPs from the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), Social Democrats (SD), Social Democratic Party MP Draginja Vuksanovic Stankovic, and Albanian coalition "Unanimously" member Fatmir Djeka abstained.
The President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, who did not attend the first session of the Parliament in which DPS deputies sit in opposition benches for the first time, was sent a request today with the signatures of 41 deputies of the new parliamentary majority to appoint prof. Dr. Zdravko Krivokapić, the government's prime minister-designate.
The holder of the parliamentary list of the coalition "Peace is our nation," Aleksa Becic is the President of Democratic Montenegro, whose deputies boycotted the Montenegrin Parliament after the 2016 elections, demanding changes to the election law and other conditions for the democratization of the election process.
Aleksa Becic started his political career in the Socialist People's Party. He resigned with his supporters in 2015, initiating the Democrats' establishment, of which he has been President since the beginning.
The new President of the Parliament of Montenegro was born in Cetinje on August 4, 1987. After primary and secondary school in Podgorica, he graduated from the Faculty of Economics in July 2010. He received his master's degree from the same faculty in March 2014, majoring in Accounting and Auditing.
In his first address after he is appointed President of the Parliament of Montenegro, Aleksa Becic said that he would "perform his duty according to the Constitution and the law, honestly, responsibly and conscientiously."
He also pointed out that it is an indescribable part and privilege to be elected President of the highest legislative and representative house, and at the same time, to be the first elected public official after the first democratic change of government in Montenegrin history.
"Gratitude for the election to colleagues from coalitions. Special gratitude to colleagues from minority parties, the Bosniak Party and the Albanian Electoral List, for their support and trust. Those who did not vote for me should know that I will fight for them even more. I will not attack, criticize, or declare them opponents of the state. I want the opposition to have a better status than we had," Becic said.
He added that without a quality opposition, there is no parliamentary democracy, saying that his main goal will be to strengthen the Parliament's control role.
"Parliament is the roof of Montenegro, and no one should endanger it. The argument in Parliament will be replaced by tolerance and dialogue. We must respect each other even when we disagree and look to the future."
Becic added that Montenegro must win the war on organized crime.
"Parliament must also strive to reform the electoral legislation so that Montenegro enters the election game in which everyone starts from scratch, and so that every next game would be a true celebration of democracy."
September 13, 2020 - The parliament to be constituted after the elections on August 30 will be dynamic with a strong influence on the decision-making and the work of the executive power, believes the Director of the Center for Civil Liberties, Boris Marić.
He told MINA agency that the agreement, signed by the leaders of the three coalitions that won the majority of votes in the recent parliamentary elections, is a sign that Montenegro is maturing politically.
"The agreement is the result of a political compromise, which, on the one hand, tells us that Montenegrin society could be moving towards a greater degree of political rigour. On the other, we should be careful in concluding that every political compromise usually encounters various levels of resistance," Maric said.
According to him, it is necessary to wait to implement the agreement to see how the Montenegrin political system and institutions will function.
"In any case, we can expect a very dynamic parliament with a strong influence on decision-making and the character of decisions and work of the executive branch," Maric said.
He said that the new government could be expected to be formed relatively soon.
Of course, as he stated, it is not a simple process, and it will not be a surprise that the list holders encounter problems.
"But the public's expectation that a new government will be formed is dominant, and I believe that any attempt to interfere, with specific interests or obstruction, will be overcome," Maric said.
He pointed out that the new government's expectations are the strengthening of institutions, especially those involved in fighting corruption, a package of economic and social measures, full transparency of work and public finances, and a focus on inclusion in Montenegrin society.
Speaking about the relations between Serbia and Montenegro, Maric said that the relations between the authorities of those two countries followed the "warm-cold system."
"These move from the very best, as they defined them at one point, to a covert or even open conflict, primarily over the Law on Freedom of Religion and the identity policy derived from it," said Maric.
He believes that the aggravation of relations between Serbia and Montenegro has consequently spilled over into Montenegro's electoral process.
"We have indeed seen the influence of either the official Serbian position or the media from Serbia on the election result in Montenegro. It resulted in the homogenization of the pro-Serbian electorate, "Maric said.
He added that it remains to be seen whether this was a temporary strategy for the protection of Serbian interests in Montenegro or a long-term strategy based on identity policies for future processes.
Maric said that what lies ahead is a critical period for Montenegro. And that relations in the region must be built with full respect for sovereignty and building good neighborly relations.
"With the first announcements, the winners of the elections affirm democratic principles and guarantee full state sovereignty, which they will have to prove to part of the Montenegrin public," Maric believes.
Speaking about the possible participation of minority parties in the new government, Maric said that these parties have a place in the government because there they will be able to articulate their needs to the extent necessary.
He believes that no matter how the minority parties' representatives decide, that should be respected, and the door of the executive power should be left open.
Maric stated that the issue of regional relations has a special significance, and it will take a period of time for the new Montenegrin government to prove its commitment to good neighborly relations.
"Concerning the guidelines expressed by the signed platform and, of course, with their implementation, we can hope for good development of relations with neighbors," concluded Marić.
September 12, 2020 - "Corruption and the perception of corruption are significant problems in the Montenegrin public and private sector. Citizens' concerns about corruption are usually significant in opinion polls, and corruption is also cited as a risk by foreign investors. Despite legal improvements, corruption remains a major problem in the Montenegrin economy, according to the annual State Department reports designed to help US companies make business decisions.
"Corruption and the perception of corruption are significant problems in the Montenegrin public and private sector. The level of citizens' concern about corruption is usually high in public opinion polls, and foreign investors also cite corruption as a risk, "the part of the report dedicated to the prevention of corruption points out, RFE reports.
It is highlighted that since gaining independence in 2006, Montenegro has adopted a legal framework that encourages privatization, employment, and exports.
"The implementation of the framework, however, lags far behind the legislation," the report says, noting that Montenegro is still in the process of establishing a liberal business climate that encourages foreign investment and local production.
"The country remains dependent on imports from neighboring countries, despite significant potential in some areas of agriculture and food production," the report states.
It adds that, although the political transition has not yet eliminated all structural barriers, the government generally recognizes the need to remove obstacles in order to reform the business environment and attract foreign investment.
The ratio of public debt and gross domestic product in Montenegro is one of the largest in the region - notes the State Department.
"Public debt is currently at 76.9 percent of GDP, with the forecast that it will increase to over 80 percent after the repayment of the loan to the Chinese Exim Bank, for the construction of a billion-dollar highway," it is noted.
As government priorities, the State Department singles out infrastructure development, "including another highway section that will better connect the developed southern part of the country with the underdeveloped north."
It is noted that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are assisting the government in implementing debt control measures.
"The economic growth rate in 2019 was one of the highest in Europe at 3.5 percent, while the unemployment rate rose slightly from 15.2 to 15.3 percent. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have a significant economic impact on the Montenegrin economy in 2020," the report highlights.
There is a reminder of the IMF forecast from April this year, according to which Montenegro will face a nine percent decline in the economy.
The economic downturn is said to stem from the Montenegrin economy's heavy dependence on tourism.
The tourism sector accounts for a quarter of gross domestic product (GDP).
As a candidate country on its path to joining the European Union (EU), Montenegro has opened 32 of 33 negotiation chapters. Three have been temporarily closed, the State Department says, noting that the Montenegrin government hopes to open the last chapter on competition in 2020.
It is added that Montenegro has been a member of NATO since 2017.
"On January 1, 2019, Montenegro began implementing its economic citizenship program. The program will last for three years and will be available for up to 2,000 applicants," the State Department's report highlights.
The Montenegrin economy is focused on three sectors, with the government mainly focusing its efforts on developing tourism, energy, and agriculture.
"Due to its 300-kilometer-long coastline and spectacular mountain region in the north of the country, a successful tourism sector accounts for almost 25 percent of GDP."
No country dominates foreign direct investment, the most significant being investments from Italy, Hungary, Russia, and Serbia. At the same time, the State Department notes that new interest in investing comes from the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, China, Turkey, and the United States.
Projects in the energy sector include a submarine cable to Italy for electricity transmission and the Montenegrin government's intention to consider importing US liquefied natural gas through the port at Bar.
"Also, there are several ongoing conventional energy projects across the country, including the controversial environmental reconstruction of the existing block of coal-fired thermal power plants in Pljevlja and a series of projects to build small hydropower plants," the report said.
Mention is also made of the concession agreements for offshore oil and gas exploration, which the Government of Montenegro signed with two consortia - the Italian-Russian consortium Eni / Novatek and the Greek-British consortium Energean Oil / Mediterranean Oil and Gas.