Montenegro Ruling Parties to Start Reshuffle Talks

25 Sep 14

Montenegro Ruling Parties to Start Reshuffle Talks

Montenegro’s governing coalition is expecting to start talks on a cabinet reshuffle next week, after party leaders agreed to recompose their alliance at national level.

Dusica Tomovic


Talks on government personnel changes could be completed in the second half of October , BIRN has learned from a source in the Montenegrin government, ending in a vote on the government’s reconstruction in parliament.

Another source within the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, the party led by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, told BIRN that “drastic changes” are not on the cards.

However, not even Djukanovic’s closest associates know what he will decide, the same source added.

“It is almost certain that there will be no substantial reconstruction, only three or four new ministers,” the source continued.

The government, led by the DPS and the Social Democratic Party, SDP, agreed to initiate a reshuffle in early September, when an agreement on establishing a municipal government in the capital, Podgorica, was signed.

The parties disclosed the basic text of the post-election agreement in Podgorica but the annex to the agreement, concerning the reconstruction of the state government, has remained hidden.

The BIRN source claimed that the “final word” on personnel changes in the cabinet will be given by Djukanovic and by the head of the SDP, the speaker of parliament, Ranko Krivokapic.

“First, we have to agree on priorities and on the new basis of communication between the government and parliament, which we had some issues about in the previous period. After that, the easier part of the job is to propose a reconstruction,” Djukanovic stated last week.

What is certain is that the cabinet will get new ministers of education and culture. Curent Education Minister Slavoljub Stijepovic will become Mayor of Podgorica on October 6 and the Minister of Culture, Branislav Micunovic, has been appointed Ambassador in Belgrade.

Their successors could be the ex-Minister for European Integration, Gordana Djurovic, and the director of the Montenegrin National Theatre, Janko Ljumovic.

The BIRN source said that the longstanding aim of Djukanovic’s party to take over the Interior Ministry, led by the SDP’s Rasko Konjevic, is back on the agenda. In return, Krivokapic’s party is keen to obtain the Ministry of Defence.

The DPS official said that one of the ideas up for discussion is to to merge the Ministries of Education and Science, to cut government spending.

Analyst Dragisa Janjusevic said he doubted that the reshuffle would bring about significant changes. For a government emeshed in serious economic, commercial and security problems, he added, three or four new names means nothing.

“Nothing is going to happen, only cosmetic changes that will help the government to survive until the new elections scheduled for 2016,” Janjusevic told BIRN on Wednesday.

A likely reshuffle has been a buzzword on the political scene since the May local election, when Djukanovic complained that some ministers “can’t see the wood for the trees”, without clarifying what this might mean in practice.

The government, formed in October 2012, consists of the DPS, the SDP, the Liberal Party and and some smaller parties representing ethnic minorities.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)