Croatia’s experience: Countersignature is, in fact, veto power

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Countersignature, the right of which will be granted to opposition representatives who are to enter management boards of the state-owned companies on the basis of the agreement on free and fair elections, means that they will have the power to veto decisions. It can be concluded from the comparative experiences of Croatia. Journalist Sasa Lekovic says that countersignature opens the possibility of paralysis of the system that may be a result of political games and tragicomic situations.


For the time being, no countersignature institution has been mentioned in the Montenegrin legislation. However, it has been mentioned in the Croatian legislation. For example, no head of security service can be appointed without the countersignatures of president of the state and the prime minister. Article 103 of the Croatian Constitution says:

“The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia shall, in accordance with the Constitution and law, co-operate in directing the work of security services. The appointment of the heads of security services shall, subject to a prior opinion obtained from the relevant committee of the Croatian Parliament, be countersigned by the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia”.

Lekovic has explained to CdM what the countersignature essentially means.

“Countersignature means that two signatures are necessary. If one is missing, it is essentially a veto power, though it may be called differently”, said Lekovic.

Until recently, Croatia had no significant problems related to agreeing between the head of state and prime minister. However, currently there is an issue about the dismissal of the head of Security and Intelligence Agency, Dragan Lozancic. President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic signed his dismissal in February. However, the PM Tihomir Oreskovic has not done it yet.

“Oreskovic has never said he does not want to sign the dismissal, but that it takes time. These are political games”, Lekovic has said, adding that this is a very bad situation.

“If the president does not want him to be at this position and she has not properly explained the dismissal, which is an additional problem, this is certainly a kind of paralysis. If the president does not have confidence in the intelligence chief and prime minister needs time to think about that, this is a tragicomic situation”, he adds.

However, there if no blockade, because Lozancic’s mandate expires in November. If Oreskovic does not sign then what Grabar-Kitarovic made long ago, Croatia could be in trouble. It is not defined for how long the president of the state or PM can think about the countersignature.

“They can rethink it as long as they want. The Constitution certainly does not mention any deadlines”, Lekovic says.

Whether the countersignature institution would be included in the Montenegrin legislation, as announced by our politicians, we will know these days, when the agreement on free and fair elections is finally expected to be signed.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro