April 23, 2019 - The Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Democrats did not agree on overcoming the crisis in the Kotor government, so the SDP will not withdraw the initiative for the replacement of Mayor Vladimir Jokic (Democrats).
Although the previous two days during the exchange of proposals on the relationship between the two parties gained the impression that the matter was smooth, the meeting of opposition leaders with representatives of the Movement ODUPRISE returned things to the beginning. The Democrats do not agree with the referendum question formulated by the SDP, while SDP insists that this is a matter of substance.
The session of the Municipal Assembly of Kotor, on whose agenda Jokić's decommissioning initiative is coming tomorrow.
Before the meeting of opposition leaders and ODUPRISE Jokic informed the SDP to accept their proposal to call for a local referendum, with details to be negotiated yet. SDP has already submitted to the parties' clubs and president of Assembly of Kotor Dragica Perović the Proposal of the decision to announce the referendum in Kotor. They suggest that the issue on the referendum is "Do you agree with the enlargement of Luža (the operational port of Kotor) for mooring mega cruisers?" They expect Perovic's Proposal of the decision to be included in the agenda of the first session of the Kotor Municipal Assembly.
The SDP considers that the decision of the Assembly of Shareholders of the Port of Kotor to build a berthing pylon dolphin for mega cruisers mooring across the Old Town is very damaging to the Boka Bay and tourism in that town. They also point out that the mayor has no UNESCO approval for such a project. They argue that the referendum question for the natives of Kotor, which they have suggested, is the essence of the problem.
However, Democrats believe that the councillors need to harmonise the referendum question. One of the leaders of the DF proposed that a compromise would be resolved by asking citizens whether to ask for Jokić's dismissal, but to SDP President Ranko Krivokapić that was unacceptable.
He insisted on accepting the SDP proposal. Krivokapić has rejected the idea as an inescapable attempt to resolve the ambiguity at the meeting of the party leaders and the members of the Kotor local government.
Since the session of the Kotor Municipal Assembly has already been scheduled, one of the proposals was that it would begin to be terminated until an agreement was reached, but Krivokapić did not support that. He does not trust Jokić, because he thinks that he makes unlawful decisions, as previously made by the mayor of Podgorica, Miomir Mugoša.
President of the DPS of Kotor, Željko Aprcovic, was not ready to comment on the new circumstances surrounding the SDP-Democrats, as well as the local members of the SDP and the Civic Movement URA.
Jokic responded earlier to the SDP to accept the proposal to call for a local referendum and that he was ready to submit a proposal to hold a local consultative referendum on proposed infrastructure projects from the Port of Kotor business plan. "To create and sustain such a referendum as quickly as possible, I suggest that the members of the ruling coalition in Kotor form a working group for the preparation of a referendum that would define the referendum question, the timing and other issues that can be opened when it is organised," Jokic responded to SDP. He called on the SDP to create pre-conditions for organising the referendum and the functioning of the city through its club in the Assembly of the Municipality of Kotor. "In the way that your delegates will withdraw the signatures and the proposal for dismissal of the municipal president, participate in the sessions of the Assembly of Kotor, and urgently and without delay adopt the proposed budget and other documents necessary for the work of the companies and institutions in Kotor so that the city functions smoothly," Jokić replied.
The Jokic dismissal initiative was submitted by SDP members, and opposition DPS, SD and HGI. They stated that Mayor Jokic should be removed due to "failure to implement the strategic plan for the development of the city, to occupy the powers of the Assembly and to impose self-determination of harmful decisions".
"Democrats accept the SDP Presidency initiative on calling a referendum on proposed projects from the Port of Kotor business plan. This initiative, implying the assumption of political responsibility for the outcome of the referendum on both sides, was accepted without delay by the President of the Kotor Municipality, Vladimir Jokić and the Municipal Committee of the Democratic Party of Kotor," said Secretary General of the Democratic Party Boris Bogdanovic last night.
"We believe that the referendum as a form of direct decision-making is the highest achievement of democracy, and that one who strives to establish the highest democratic standards cannot reject the initiative that citizens deliberately decide on matters of importance to one local self-government. For the Democratic Party of Montenegro, our Municipal Committee, the President of the Municipality and our constituents in the Assembly of the Municipality of Kotor, any referendum issue is acceptable to the 17 members who form a committee majority in the Assembly of Kotor. A referendum, following the Law and the Statute of the Municipality, is not announced by the President of the Municipality, but by the Assembly of the Municipality of Kotor. In this connection, accepting the initiative of the SDP, we have also accepted that in such a referendum to verify the trust of the President of the Municipality of Kotor. The President of the Kotor Municipality is publicly committed to resigning in the event of a negative outcome of the referendum," Bogdanovic said, commenting on the distrust of the SDP that they are ready for a referendum.
"This created all the conditions for the SDP to withdraw the initiative for the dissolution of the president of the Kotor Municipality, to come to the Kotor Municipality Assembly and to bring the budget, to create all the necessary prerequisites for the referendum. If the SDP does not do so, the Democrats will defend Kotor with all the democratic means and will not allow this municipality to return to the hands of those we won in 2016," Bogdanovic said.
Source: Vijesti, Boka News