08. April 2009
This Interview in Serbo-Croatic
The ruling party wouldn't have to fear fairness
Interview: Mirjana Boskovic
Why, in Your opinion, citizens of Montenegro, as it was stated in OSCE report, do not trust in institutions and election process in Montenegro? What can be done for that to change?
Many citizens do, but too many do not: This is the problem which the joint international observation mission stated in its statement. Everybody should have confidence in the rules and the procedures of the election process, this should be the aim and the duty of the government.
In order to realise this the governments has to realise and to implement the recommendations of the ODHIR, the Council of Europe and its Venice Commission: The old proprieties of the Communist Party has to be distributed to all parties and can’t longer be the propriety of the ruling party. The judiciary is everything but not independent from the power; it's independency and the equality of all before the Courts might be the single most important measure to built confidence and overcome the mistrust too many citizens express today towards the government.
Thirdly the government has to do much more in order to protect the autonomy of the individual citizens towards any pressure by the bosses of state owned or state close companies and institutions (schools, hospitals, TV-channels and others), who wrongly think they would serve their authorities best when they use pressure towards their employees to favour the ruling forces.
The last element which increases the mistrust of too many citizens might be the way the public TV-channels favoured to ruling party and its ministers and functionaries in the news and other programs much too long and much to heavily!
How do You comment the result of parliamentary elections and what do You think about the fact that one party (Democratic party of socialist) has so much power and that is running the country for 20 years?
The DPS and its allies designed and realised in the last ten years many absolutely essential and wise decisions and policies. What they have done concerning the issues of war and peace, dependency and independency and the economic development of the country respects the interest of most of the Montenegrians and I think this is also the reason why most of them prefer them to other in the election time.
I think that this record is also fundamentally quite convincing, so that the government does not need all the legal and political shortcomings mentioned above to win elections. That's the reason why I am so sad, that the ruling party did not look for a better legal context and fairer chances for all: They don't have to fear fairness. So please do not hesitate to realise it soon!
What that means for democratic processes in Montenegro?
There are many good democracies where the same party holds the power for a long time, especially in times of war and peace and when they avoid the biggest mistakes and errors. On the other hand it's clear, that the real test for a strong democracy is its ability to be able to realise power changes without any violence or unrest. This test Montenegro has still to pass. But I am quite convinced that it is able to do this. And I understand every politician when he wants to prefer to stay in power then just to realise this democracy test. But the more we have to be clear and point to the free and fair context elections need when their outcome should be totally legitimate.
How do You comment the participation of the opposition at the election (the fact that they again did not succeed in unifying and that they dedicated the significant part of the pre-election campaign on mutual attacks)?
It is absolutely understandable that after a Referendum on the Independence of the state the opposition is divided: A part of the opposition stills looks for a closer Union , another part favours independence but argues for another governmental policies. I think such a disunity is not a problem; majority and minority is much more than just a black and white issue. The problem is that too many small parties overestimated their support. Secondly in the whole region parties often do not function internally very democratically; this favours splits and divisions instead of allowing parties to integrate diverse social groups who are big enough to challenge really the government. Too many parties are just one or two man shows!
What would you recommend them to do in upcoming period?
Many small parties should look for new partners and create new bigger parties, who do respect democracy also internally and express a broader political spectrum. These new parties should work out much more carefully their alternative policies and do everything to make them plausible to the Montenegrian citizens in a peaceful and discursive way. Such careful debates I missed and hope the opposition will find new energies to try this better in the future.
You said that winners at these elections should be more inclusive, pluralistic and fair to the voters whose parties lost at these elections. What concrete actions winners should take for those voters?
The legal reforms which the detailed ODHIR report as well as the monitoring report from the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE will urge the new Parliament to realise will produce the greater inclusiveness we need. The answers I gave to your first questions also shows how the responsible new majority would be able to realise a higher degree of fairness and pluralism in the political reality of Montenegro. I really do hope that the new majority does not forget to do this soon and in time before the next elections. The speaker of the last parliament promised me to do so and I am confident that he keeps this promise as he kept others he gave to me.
More fairness and more inclusiveness are politically particularly important in economically more difficult times. That's why the winners of the last elections have every interest to do more and to try harder in this respect in the coming weeks.
How do you evaluate the legitimacy of new governance since you said in your preliminary report that there was pressure on citizens and that your long-standing recommendations were not fulfilled?
The elections were legally correct and legitimate enough for the new government to act in a responsible way in the interest of all Montenegrian people. I higher degree of legitimacy would have been possible and I hope the new parliament and the new government will work in this sense and in the way I suggested in the previous answers to your interesting questions. The speaker of the old Parliament promised us also that the old and new recommendations will be respected in the coming months and when they do so I am very confident that the Montenegrian people are able to develop their potentials in their interest and in the interest of all Europe.