Djukanovic promises to fight corruption

12/12/2012

Much is expected of Milo Djukanovic in his seventh term as prime minister.

By Nedjeljko Rudovic for Southeast European Times in Sarajevo -- 12/12/12

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Milo Djukanovic said his government will focus on fighting corruption and organised crime. [AFP]

Milo Djukanovic said his return to the position of prime minister after a two-year absence will advance Montenegro's Euro-Atlantic integration and the fight against corruption and organised crime.

Djukanovic has been in power since 1991, and now is serving a seventh term as prime minister, having also been president of the country.

The new government has four deputy prime ministers and 14 ministers, of which six are new.

"The expectations of you to strengthen rule of law in Montenegro, fight corruption and organised crime, encourage sustainable development and consolidate public finances, are great," Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, said in her congratulatory telegram to Djukanovic.

But Daliborka Uljarevic, executive director of the Centre for Civic Education in Podgorica, said the situation suggests a complete dominance of Djukanovic's personal and party interests ahead of those of the public.

"The situation can be called political decadence. The selected team that surrounds him in the government unambiguously suggests that party affiliation and loyalty to Djukanovic were critical to this choice," Uljarevic told SETimes.

"Articulating these interests, Djukanovic realised his commitment to the Euro-Atlantic integration policy is key to extending his political life," Uljarevic said. Radovan Asanovic, representative of the opposition Democratic Front, said the Djukanovic government offers nothing new but rhetoric.

"This government is not of the people, but it is from 20 years ago and does not satisfy the EU conditions," he told SETimes.

The situation translates to a much weakened old-new prime minister, according to analysts.

"Perhaps this is the final sign of Djukanovic's reach since it is a return because of weakness, not strength," Uljarevic said.

However, according to Momcilo Radulovic, secretary general of the European Movement in Montenegro, Djukanovic returned because he was the main speaker during the elections and created significant public expectations.

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"Had Djukanovic not taken the prime minister position, it would have been understood as irresponsible and lacking courage to deal with the big problems as well as the economic crisis. Such a situation could have led to drastic repercussions for the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists' ratings," Radulovic told SETimes.

As for fighting corruption and organised crime, Montenegro has specific obligations to fulfill in the process of EU integration. However, Djukanovic has been the subject of several investigations of corruption and the Italian authorities consider Djukanovic a suspect in the Balkans' lucrative cigarette smuggling network in the 1990s.

Radulovic said Djukanovic's involvement in criminal activities has not been proven in any court.

"If evidence [on his guilt] is presented to the public and the court, rest assured the expectations of the international and domestic public will be different," he said.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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