EU concerned about changes to Montenegro’s presidential law
The European Union (EU) is “deeply concerned” by the vote on 1 November in the Montenegrin Parliament, which effectively changes the powers of the President of the Republic by adopting a law under the urgency procedure, according to a press release from the EU press service.
“All political actors should refrain from any action that could further deepen the institutional crisis and undermine the country’s democratic institutions,” the message said, inviting all actors to build consensus on the urgent appointment of the members of the Constitutional Court as a matter of priority in the next vote in Parliament on 22 November.
The announcement states that, among other important things, the full functionality of the Court is crucial for ensuring the legitimacy of democratic institutions.
The Montenegrin Constitutional Court has been inactive since 13. September because it has three judges out of a total of seven and no quorum to take decisions.
At the end of October, the fourth attempt to elect judges to the Constitutional Court failed in the Assembly. None of the four candidates put forward received the necessary two-thirds of the votes cast, i.e. 54 votes.
In the second round, in a month at the latest, a three-thirds majority of 49 MEPs will be needed.
The European Union says that EU membership is the strategic choice of the vast majority of Montenegrin citizens and the publicly stated objective of the vast majority of Montenegrin political actors.
“Montenegro has taken a leading position among the candidate countries for EU membership. Continued progress towards the EU requires all political actors to support the functioning of the country’s democratic institutions and to strengthen the rule of law,” the EU press service stressed.
On 1 November, a parliamentary majority of 41 MPs, led by the pro-Russian Democratic Front (DF), the Democrats and the Civic Movement Ura, adopted amendments to the Law on the President of Montenegro to limit the constitutional powers of Milo Đukanović.
According to the amendments to the law, the restrictions concern the procedure for electing a representative to form the government, which is transferred to the parliamentary majority, and the appointment and recall of ambassadors, which is transferred from Đukanović to the Government in practice.
Under the Constitution of Montenegro, the President of the country has the exclusive power to nominate a representative to form the new government.
With the amendments to the Law on the President, the parliamentary majority wants to transfer that process to the Assembly, so that the DF, the Democrats and the Ura can once again try to nominate the MP and former diplomat Miodrag Lekić as the representative for the composition of the new Government./RSE/