Djukanovic believes: DPS remains by far the strongest party

#MiloĐukanović #Elections #DemocraticPartyOfSocialists(Dps)

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DPS leader and Montenegro’s prime minister Milo Djukanovic has said that he believes the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), despite arrests of some party officials, will confirm its status of a party enjoying by far the highest confidence of citizens at the upcoming parliamentary elections.

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Djukanovic stated that DPS would run for office independently and that would offer cooperation to parties of minorities, regardless of their results.

“Of course, our permanent offer to improve society harmonising process through a partnership with the other political parties remains”, PM Djukanovic said.

In his interview for Dani daily newspaper, Djukanovic responded to the questions whether he would withdraw from the prime minister’s post after the upcoming general elections, what the secret of his political longevity was and who represented elite in Montenegro today.

Does not it seem to you that you were in a way underestimated by some political opponents, including Boris Tadic, and that entering a political conflict with you, they persistently ignored a “little thing”: where, in fact, your political opponents – Slobodan Milosevic, Momir Bulatovic, Vojislav Kostunica and the very Boris Tadic – ended up after these battles and where you are now?

“If they underestimated me, it turned out that it was at their expense. However, it seems to me that the bigger problem was that they overestimated themselves, whereas I kept my feet on the ground and had a realistic attitude towards myself, towards my opponents and towards reality”.

It must be difficult to be a realist in the country that probably has the highest number of “candidates for a historical figure” per square meter. For instance, the Speaker of the Parliament Ranko Krivokapic, without a trace of self-irony, refers these days to himself as a Churchill, whereas recently elected special prosecutor Milivoje Katnic sees himself as – a historical figure.

“At an early stage of my political engagement, I realised that the Balkan politicians often tend to lose sight own their own importance; they imagine that they are inevitable, exclusive and equal partners to leaders of the great powers. The truth is that the importance of each of us from the Balkans is largely determined by the low level of development the countries we represent, as well as the reputation of the region we belong to. Of course, I am aware of the fact that it is easier for great nations to come up with the great ideas and great people – which, admittedly, has been occasionally denied by Montenegrin and other Yugoslav peoples – just as I am aware that on the global political and security level, there has been a firm architecture established long ago, within which, when it comes to the Balkans, with the exception of Josip Broz Tito’s time, there has been no need for this type of partnership. In the same time, I am not overlooking the fact that in certain historical stages it happened that small countries such as Montenegro sometimes got much more importance than it realistically had.”

You’re talking about…

“I am talking about, for instance, the end of the 1990s, when the Balkans was the main topic of American and European foreign policy. Why otherwise would I be received in the White House and the Kremlin and the Elysee Palace as the president of Montenegro? Slobodan Milosevic’s fatal mistake was to believe, before and during the Dayton negotiations, he was an indispensable partner on the global political scene, without thinking that his Hague indictment was already been written while he was negotiating peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the US military base Wright-Patterson. That is a lesion I learnt very early: I understood that my political status was largely predetermined by Montenegro’s importance in the regional and global level. However, I tried to timely and accurately read the mainstream of politics and development, which Montenegro was not able to decisively influence due to its size and importance, as well as the fact it belonged to a rather unstable part of Europe. I was looking for points in which Montenegro could follow its vision of the future, while recognising the importance of belonging to rather than defying global processes. Some saw it as my excessive pragmatism…”

And you?

“I saw it as a reality, but also as personal as precious maturation of the Montenegrin society. Therefore, despite my log political career, the fact that I met more or less all the most important statesmen of the world, the circumstances that Montenegro received a disproportionately large international attention due to the tragic Balkan crisis and Montenegro’s clever moves during it, I never allowed myself to think that I am a man without whose opinion American or Russian presidents cannot work. Maybe this could be part of the answer to the ubiquitous question about the formula of my long political life. Especially if we take into account the fact that here you really are very often able to meet a variety of Montenegrin Churchills, the self-styled and tragicomic “key factors to solve the Russian-Ukrainian crisis” just because at one point they happen to be at a ceremonial international post”.

When I mentioned the special prosecutor Katnic, I have to ask: How does it happen that both of the two proposed candidates for prosecutor for organised crime used to be officers of KOS (the counterintelligence service of the Yugoslav People’s Army – JNA)?

“I guess it is a coincidence… After his engagement in the armed forces (and he worked in military prosecutor’s office), the appointed candidate Milivoje Katnic passed the procedure of the competent state authorities and was given a place in the Appellate Court of Montenegro. Regardless of the job in the armed forces or in the Montenegrin judiciary, Mr Katnic was unreservedly committed to the interests of the state of Montenegro. As prime minister, I can say today that the prosecutor Katnic currently is doing his job effectively and by his results contributes to a clearer and more reliable impression that the Montenegrin judicial institutions are committed to improving the rule of law. However, it is difficult to establish the rule of law in the years of crisis and the years that have a profound impact on society. Particularly on Montenegro’s society which was divided throughout its turbulent history always in almost same way – bjelasi v zelenasi, partisans v chetniks, Stalinists v anti-Stalinists in 1948, “for” v “against” the restoration of the independence…”

Did you establish a just society or a system in which there is a small number of very rich people on one side – including the opposition and media tycoons, who cannot explain how only they managed to legally get rich in this “criminal state” – and an army of poor citizens on the other side?

“I have already said that connecting the ‘two Montenegrin coasts’ requires not only a long time but a strong bridge and exemplary skill. During the decade since the restoration of independence, Montenegro, together with the region and Europe, were surviving the devastating economic crisis for at least eight years. I believe that this was not the best time for the most important and most demanding social affairs aimed at trying to change the traditional, deep-rooted system of values ​​that this and other Balkan societies brought to the bottom of European development. People had to abandon stereotypes in which they are formed and fear from the new and unknown things, which is much easier to do if you are able to give them more obvious point to better prospects and alternatives. As the prime minister of Montenegro, I very appreciate the fact that one of the most difficult government’s problems is citizens’ impatience. Unfortunately, I am sure that these things I am talking about are understood by a very small part of the public; the rest is not willing to go deeper in the issue. Instead, they expect that ten years of independence, particularly if they supported it on the referendum, should automatically bring a benefit to them, without investing any efforts to deserve it”.

I am not talking about that kind of “trade”; I have talked about the perception that the condition for any better status in society is closeness to the government

“I heard these complaints too and they are an inevitable companion of governance in each country, especially transition one. However, I believe that this is not a key social problem in Montenegro, or that rich tycoons represent our characteristic. It is much more relevant that the reform process and the completion of transition make the society socially exhausted. Does this mean that the reforms should have been implemented more slowly? Could the companies still be social institutions? Does the administration could be even bigger in order to be a shelter to as many people as possible?… I am not sure about that. Trying to find a sustainable balance between the change and social stability, we opted for a faster path, believing that this approach was the only way to escape Balkan historical backwardness”.

Do you think that the arrest of high-ranking officials of your party will affect DPS’s rating?

“I believe that, despite the unpleasant events that you mentioned, DPS once again confirmed the status of a political party enjoying by far the highest confidence of citizens in the upcoming general elections. This time, we will run for the office independently, but regardless of the result, we will offer cooperation to parties of minority peoples. Of course, our permanent offer to improve society harmonising process through a partnership with the other political parties remains”.

In the case of DPS wins most votes, will you remain at prime minister’s post? Some Belgrade-based analysts say you committed in Munich to withdraw from PM post after these elections.

“I will tell you openly: No representative of the international community ever discussed that with me and I have no obligations of that kind towards anyone. As you know, on two occasions I willingly withdrew from politics and then reluctantly returned…”

Why reluctantly?

“Because the people with whom I share responsibility both for the outcome of the referendum and post-referendum results assessed that my return to politics was important for the country’s development in order to support the important processes that are ongoing – which was against my and plans and interests”.

Tamara Nikcevic, Dani

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro