Press release: Underused Control Mechanisms of the Parliament

We urge the representatives of the parliamentary minority in all parliamentary working bodies to use their right to two automatically approved control hearings in this year.

Under the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Montenegro and the Law on Parliamentary Oversight of the Security and Defense Sector, the opposition in the Parliament is granted the right to initiatives which are adopted without voting.

Namely, the importance of the oversight of the security and defense sector was recognized, as well as the possibility of blocking initiatives of the minority in the Security and Defense Committee by the parliamentary majority. Therefore, the Law on Parliamentary Oversight of the Security and Defense Sector from 2010 stipulates that the initiatives of the opposition shall be adopted twice a year without voting. Accordingly, the Law provides that the Committee shall hold a meeting at the request of one-third of its members with one topic on the agenda once during regular sitting of the Parliament.

Modeled after this provision, the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Montenegro was amended in 2013 and this right was granted to the opposition in every parliamentary committee, in order to strengthen the overall control function of the Parliament.

However, in the first six months of 2014, the right to “minority” initiative was exercised in only one committee – the Committee on International Relations and Emigrants, in relation to the issue of Prevlaka[1].

Thus, we urge the parliamentary minority to exercise this right in all other committees as well, by accomplishing agreement on the issue that will be proposed and, in this manner, initiate oversight of the state authorities and deliberate on issues of importance.

When it comes to the Security and Defense Committee, the opposition has not yet exercised its right to these hearings in the current year. Although the Committee held two control hearings in 2014, one of them was initiated by the Media Union, while the other was initiated by MP Bulatović on behalf of the opposition on July 22, 2013, but the hearing was postponed until April this year.

Additionally, the Anti-corruption Committee initiated conducting a joint meeting in relation to the Telekom affair with the Security and Defense Committee, but this activity has not yet been realized.

Under the Law on Parliamentary Oversight of the Security and Defense Sector, the Security and Defense Committee is granted highly important mechanisms for the control of institutions within security and defense sector. However, these mechanisms are underused. This is confirmed by the fact that there were no control visits to the institutions in 2014 and no initiative for holding consultative hearings has been submitted either by this Committee since 2011.

Dina Bajramspahić,
Public Policy Researcher

[1] The data was provided by the Parliamentary Service of the Parliament of Montenegro on August 1, 2014.

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