Responding to the “argumentation” of the Ministry of Public Administration on legally banning public discussion

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Institute Alternative strongly criticized the Government’s proposal to amend the Law on Public Administration, which stipulates that the public discussion will not be conducted “when the law i.e. the strategy, regulates issues in the field of defence, security and the annual budget; in cases of emergency, urgent or unforeseeable circumstances; when the issue is not significantly regulated by law.” After our condemnation of such initiative, the Ministry of Public Administration explained that such ban had already existed.

It is worrisome that Ministry’s only explanation to ban public discussion states that the same restriction is taken from the by-law, as we have heard from the statement given to Daily Vijesti, published on December 2nd this year. It is even more worrying that the ministry “does not remember” its promise that the disputed provisions will be deleted from the Regulation, and not reinforced by law.
Namely, we remind the public that Institute Alternative and other participants in the public debate proposed that these problematic provisions should be deleted from this bylaw, i.e. Draft regulation on the procedure and manner of conducting a public discussion in the preparation of the law, proposed during 2016. Moreover, the proposer of the Regulation, the Ministry of Interior, or then Directorate for Public Administration and Local Self-Government, accepted our proposal. There is a written proof on this, an official report on the public debate on the Draft Regulation, published on July 29, last year. (below is an excerpt from the report)
The Directorate of the Ministry of Interior, who has accepted this proposal, is the same Directorate who has sent to the Government the exact opposite solution and is composed of the same officials whose ministry has been renamed. We expected from the Ministry of Public Administration to at least attempt to explain why they have changed their position, which is that “it is necessary to provide a minimum participation of the stakeholders in the preparation of the law”.

The new ministry and the new government obviously made a step backward compared to the promise of the previous government. The draft law that is prohibiting public discussions is a very rigid move that leads to further closure of state administration and the expansion of the space for the arbitrariness of decision-makers who no longer have to make an effort to argue in defense of the proposed solutions.

The whole report on the conducted public debate on the Regulation a is available on the Ministry of Interior’s website (in Montenegrin): http://www.mup.gov.me/vijesti/163808/Izvjestaj-o-sprovedenoj-javnoj-raspravi-o-Nacrtu-uredbe-o-nacinu-i-postupku-ostvarivanja-saradnje-organa-drzavne-uprave-i-nevlad.html
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