Talks and agreements

Stevo MukIt seems that the parliamentary dialogue process is heading in a good direction. Such conclusion is to be made considering the series of events: the meeting of political leaders, opposition parties meetings, the confirmation of SNP (Socialist People’s Party) to participate in the dialogue and participation in the interim government of the authority and opposition, as well as the participation of the government and the opposition upon the agreement on manner of forming local communities. As the Government has made its offers more precise, the opposition parties have further specified their demands. What is particularly important now is that the parliamentary dialogue followed by an agreement do not become simple “deal” on participation of opposition in the Government, but to include other important pillars of election process control.

The agreement must also include the analysis of the implementation of action plans of the State Audit Institution and the Ministry of Interior when it comes to the implementation of the electoral legislation – particularly when it comes to obligations on establishing a functional voters’ list and the implementation of the electronic identification of voters. The expected local elections in Tivat will show to what extent the competent institutions are ready for the organisation of the process at the parliamentary elections.

When it comes to the people that will represent the opposition in political positions, the opposition must finally take the responsibility and stop having second thoughts and look for its replacement in the civil sector and other places. The responsibility for success or failure of this unique mission cannot be taken over by anyone else. The members of current Government belonging to ruling parties and the opposition responsible for the organisation of these elections will be formed at this very moment and probably never again, which carries a historical risk of the legitimisation of the process, not only for this election cycle but for the future as well.

When it comes to opposition ministers in the government, the opposition and the members of current Government belonging to ruling parties must further agree upon a few extra rules, so that their participation does not limit the implementation of adopted public policies, or to lead to the daily confrontation within the government, or to a competition in use and misuse of state resources and ministerial authority.

A certain number of positions in public institutions which the opposition parties are requesting, without question belongs to the circle of political appointments – the government appoints and dismisses persons on those positions, therefore as such cannot be disputed. However, when it comes to positions that are according to Law subjected to public announcements and competition processes, it is crucial to preserve their independence. I say this by knowing, which Institute alternative has been continuously pointing out, just how deeply these positions are poisoned in terms of political parties. However, I believe that the law and a determined objective, professionalization and depolitisation of the senior civil servants which includes assistants to ministers (now called general directors of directorates) must be preserved.

As an alternative, in order to achieve the goals of electorate trust, the possibility could be found in the institute of the state secretary. Namely, this position is de facto assistant to minister who could have all the competences of a minister and is to be appointed politically. According to the Law on state administration, the state secretary is appointed and dismissed by the Government, at minister’s proposal, without public call and its mandate ends simultaneously with the end of its minister’s mandate. Given the legal provisions mentioned above, it is transparent that this position creates room for naming the persons (from the opposition) in an elegant and legal manner in the ministries where the opposition is not represented within the concept of ministers, and thus creating a significant scope of control.

Having in mind the widespread vote-buying practice and other misuse regarding election rights, the role of prosecution, the police and other bodies in determining and prosecuting of its inevitable perpetrators (instructing parties and executors from both sides of the trade) of those criminal acts. Therefore an important part of the political agreement must be a decision that the Parliament of Montenegro requests in a written form the state prosecutor to prioritise in 2016, during local and upcoming parliamentary elections, the prosecutions against the criminal act against freedom of choice and misuse of authority, in relation to mentioned criminal acts. The Parliament of Montenegro would in accordance with such an agreement recommend that the prosecutor’s office puts on the top of their agenda the pursuit of criminal acts perpetrators, given its professional attention, internal organisation, available resources as well as communication and cooperation with the Police Directorate and other authorities in order to, therefore, determine and guarantee the timely and efficient investigation of election frauds. The Parliament of Montenegro, that is its signatories, parliamentary clubs, would commit to be regularly informed, at least once a month, on the activities of the state prosecutor’s office, police directorate and other state bodies in uncovering and prosecuting perpetrators of these acts. I have already reiterated the necessity for the Audio Recordings Affair 2016 to be placed on the top of agenda of the state prosecutor’s at the meeting of NGOs with supreme state prosecutor and heads of special, high and basic prosecutor’s offices. Earlier findings are showing traces that mostly lead towards a ‘’cave’’ so if that decision is to be made, prosecutor’s job would be simplified, if the actors in the election process decide to repeat the old practice.

Last, but not least, what is really important in the long run, I believe that the current political dialogue is an opportunity for the political parties which are currently forming the Government and the opposition to come to an agreement that the adoption of a legal framework and appointment of this particular Council of Agency for prevention of corruption, is a result of a rotten political compromise that has ruined the basis of the new Agency and its possibility to do its job in the least serious and independent manner. This is why an agreement on the necessary modification of the legal framework and personal constitution of the Council and directors of the Agency can be a long term contribution of this political process to further fight against corruption.

Stevo MUK
President of the Managing Board

Text originally published in the section ,,Forum” of Daily Vijesti

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