Serbian parliament confirms mandates of MPs at constitutive session (Beta/N1)
The Serbian parliament held its constitutive session today to confirm the mandates of the MPs who won seats at the 21 June elections. The session closed once the administrative proceedings were completed. It was chaired by the oldest MP Smilja Tisma of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS). The Serbian parliament’s first session is traditionally chaired by the oldest MP. MPs observered pandemic precautionary measures, wearing masks and keeping a distance. Outside the parliament building, a crowd headed by defrocked monk Antonije Davidovic protested, throwing eggs and tomatoes at the steps leading up to the entrance to the building once they saw MPs leaving. Security closed the main entrance and police officers were reported to have led one of the protesters away. The parliament will meet again next week, according to MPs from the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) which holds a majority of seats. The next session of parliament should elect a speaker and deputy speakers.
Vulin: I still believe that Milosevic will not go to Knin (TV Pink/Tanjug/B92)
Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin says he still believes Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic of Independent Democratic Serbian Party won’t go to Knin. Vulin stated for TV Pink that he would respect the request of President Aleksandar Vucic not to comment and evaluate the announcement of Milosevic’s departure to Knin until that happens.
“I still believe that Milosevic will understand where they are taking him and why they are taking him, that he will take care not only of the Serbian people in Croatia, but of the Serbian people as a whole,” said Vulin. He points out that Milosevic should think about what kind of message is being sent to Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, that after this he will ask them to go to the graves of the KLA and to approve of everything that happened. “I ask the Croatian government of the reasons for failing to improve the position of Serbs, why you condition the improvement of the position of Serbs by acknowledging that ‘Storm’ is sinless and that it is good that they expelled 250.000 Serbs and killed 2.000,” Vulin said. He also asked the Croatian government why it was forcing the Serbian people to accept that Ustasha savagery was to their benefit and how the two nations would be reconciled if the Serbs accepted that all crimes against them were civilizational progress and that Croats did not commit any crimes.
Dacic: Enough with lies that Serbian government is ready to recognize Kosovo (Beta)
We’ve had enough of the disgusting lies that the government in Serbia and President Aleksandar Vucic are ready to recognize the independence of Kosovo, as Bosko Obradovic stated for the umpteenth time today, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic stated in a statement on Saturday.
He continued saying that in eight years of the Socialist Party of Serbia’s (SPS) coalition with Vucic, Serbia has returned the Kosovo issue to the agenda, unlike the time of Tadic, Jeremic and Djilas, when everyone said that everything had already been resolved. “During that time, almost ninety countries recognized Kosovo. During our rule, 18 countries withdrew the recognition of Kosovo, so that Kosovo no longer has a majority for the admission to international organizations,” Dacic noted. According to him, Serbia and Vucic were clear when they said they want dialogue and a peaceful solution to the problem, but that they will never agree to blackmail or an ultimatum for the recognition of Kosovo. “So stop lying to the people that someone will recognize Kosovo,” Dacic concluded.
Djuric on Brussels talks: We sent clear message, language of blackmail not to be spoken with Serbia (Tanjug/RTV)
“Behind us is a day of very difficult negotiations about displaced persons, talks about 212,000 Serbs and non-Albanians still having an unresolved issue,” the Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric said in Brussels, where the Belgrade delegation participated in the continuation of talks on normalization of relations with Pristina, held at the expert level.
Another topic that we dealt with, a very important one, is the issue of economic cooperation between Belgrade and Pristina – our position is clear and we think that we should finalize key infrastructure projects, said Djuric. As he conveyed, there were also heated discussions during the talks, because it was not possible to agree even on the format. “We had attempts to hand us some paper about our violation of the CEFTA agreement, but we did not accept it because we came to talk, not to quarrel. Had we come for that, we would have had many more things to say,” Djuric said and added that the Belgrade delegation was very well prepared. “We were protecting Serbia’s dignity at all times and before arriving in Brussels, we sent a clear message to the other side and to international mediators, not to talk to Serbia in the language of blackmail, of ultimatums. Today, neither representatives of the international community nor the other side spoke like that. We have done a good job, we still have a lot of work to do,” Djuric pointed out. “A day of very difficult talks, but in which the Serbian side demonstrated a serious and responsible commitment to solving problems through dialogue. At the end of August, these technical talks will continue,” he said, adding that at the meeting he demanded that Pristina stop lying about the purpose of these meetings. “I’m tired of listening that the talks are about recognition and what you dream about, that’s what I told Skender Hyseni. We are ready and in the mood for a normal conversation, so don’t undermine the talks by telling untruths. I also asked EU representatives to be clear and transparent about what is being discussed here,” he pointed out. “The conversations we had were about economic issues and displaced persons, nothing more. If anyone had offered some paper, we would probably have been on the plane to Belgrade much earlier, but that did not happen. We had a difficult conversation about these issues,” he repeated. “We have a responsibility to do our best to make people’s lives easier and that is what technical talks are for. It is better for us to argue and get red in the face here than for a neighbor to do that with a neighbor in Kosovo and Metohija. If you like, this was a fight, I am proud of the members of the delegation and I am grateful to the president and the government for providing support so that Serbia can defend Serb interests, and that is why I can say that today’s hard work has been successfully completed,” he said. As he reiterated, Hyseni claims that talks about Kosovo’s independence are being held in Brussels, but this is not true – the negotiations are about normalization of relations. “Whenever these talks are held, they contribute to lowering tensions on the ground and it’s good that there is at least some perspective that something will be resolved,” said Djuric.
Lajcak: Meeting in Brussels another important step in Belgrade-Pristina dialogue (Beta)
EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajcak assessed on 30 July that the meeting of expert teams in Brussels was another important step in the process of the dialogue, and announced the continuing of talks at the end of August. “Today’s (30 July) expert level meeting of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue was another important step in the process towards a comprehensive legally-binding agreement to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia. Our work will continue at the end of August,” Lajcak tweeted.
Dzaferovic calls on Croatian President Milanovic to once again consider his intention to decorate Jelic on occasion of anniversary of Operation ‘Oluja (Al Jazeera/FTV)
B&H Presidency Chairman Sefik Dzaferovic has called on Croatian President Zoran Milanovic to once again consider his intention to decorate Zlatan Mijo Jelic, whom the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H charged with ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks in the area of Mostar in 1993 and 1994. “Apart from being an uncivilized act contrary to European values, it would certainly have a negative impact on the relations between B&H and Croatia. Our states are directed towards each other and building good relations is indicated as an urgent need,” Dzaferovic was quoted as saying. Al Jazeera recalled that SDP B&H was the first in B&H to condemned Milanovic’s intention to decorate Jelic on the occasion of the anniversary of Croatian military and police Operation ‘Oluja’ (Storm). Al Jazeera recalled that the Croatian President initially announced he would decorate nine wartime commanders and six active servicemen, only to later state that he will not decorate individuals, but units – four guard units and the military police. Al Jazeera stressed that in both these cases, Jelic, who is charged with war crimes against Bosniaks in Mostar, will be decorated. FTV reports that Jelic has been charged by the B&H Prosecutor’s Office for war crimes in Mostar in 2016. Jelic fled to Croatia after the charges were pressed. President of SDP Nermin Niksic assessed that this decision represents an offense and an insult to the victims and B&H.
HNS in B&H: awarding Croat Defense Council is act of recognition of its role in defending B&H (Al Jazeera)
Commenting the announcements that Croatian President Zoran Milanovic will decorate Special Police unit and general Zlatan Mijo Jelic, The Croat People’s Assembly (HNS), on the other hand, stated that the move by Milanovic represents paying tribute to “our unity in the Homeland War, which resulted in a magnificent victory and liberation of the occupied areas of Croatia through the celebration of our greatest, and common historical victory and anniversary of the military and police operation ‘Oluja’.” HNS further deemed Milanovic’s intention to decorate units of the Croat Defense Council (HVO) and the Herzeg-Bosnia ministry of interior as a true statesmanlike move that recognizes the role of HVO as the legitimate military force of the Croat people that defended BiH, but also gave its immeasurable contribution to the freedom of the Croat people. The Croatian Generals’ Association stated that the most important thing is that final verdict in Jelic’s case has not been rendered, forgetting the fact that Jelic fled from B&H to Croatia in 2016 immediately after the indictment against him was confirmed.
Registrations of 77 coalitions verified (Oslobodjenje)
B&H Central Election Commission (B&H CEC) has verified 77 coalitions which registered for participation in the upcoming local elections. Registrations of 45 coalitions have been returned for further completion and correction, and registrations of seven coalitions have been completely rejected. B&H CEC also verified the registration of eight lists of independent candidates. Two registrations of independent lists have been returned for corrections. Political subjects whose registrations have been returned will have two days to correct mistakes and submit complete registrations.
B&H is close to local elections, while results of general elections were not fully implemented (N1)
A total of 87 political parties and almost the same number of independent candidates expect the support of B&H citizens at the upcoming local elections. N1 noted that many people do not believe anything can change in B&H, which is why some of them refuse to exercise their democratic right to vote and others vote for the same people that have brought B&H in the current situation. Many processes in the country are blocked due to lack of political will for finding compromise solutions. In April of 2015, the first session of the current convocation of the FB&H government was held. In the next five years, one general elections were held and the local elections will be held at the end of the year, and this convocation has not been changed. As an agreement between SDA and HDZ B&H is seemingly unreachable, many expect the government, led by Prime Minister Fadil Novalic, to last for a record of two whole mandates. Journalist Rubina Cengic told N1 that political leaders easily agree on distribution of seats, but they are not so easily willing to agree on changes that need to be made to improve the lives of citizens. SDP B&H representative in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (HNC) Assembly Aner Zuljevic said election will of Mostar citizens was stolen by SDA and HDZ B&H. He reminds that results of general elections were not implemented and the local elections are closing in. Zuljevic points that there have been many scandals connected to the FB&H government but none of them were used as a reason for reshuffling. He believes the international community (IC) was partially to blame for this situation. Zuljevic stated that all normal democratic countries have rules and laws that define deadlines by which the elections results must be implemented. However, it seems this does not apply to B&H. He reminds that early elections are organized if deadlines are missed. Academician Slavo Kukic is not convinced the upcoming local elections will bring any major changes, as B&H citizens still refused to see the truth and demand better from their leaders.
Kesic: US and EU have to accept that their policy of opposition to changing borders in Balkans is doomed to fail (ATV)
ATV carries that analysts in the RS are dealing with the revealed 1995 secret plan of the then US president Bill Clinton according to which Serbs could conduct a referendum on secession two to three years after the conflict in B&H. Analysts claim that one should not give up on such an idea and the same message arrived from the Representative Office of the RS in Washington. Head of the Representative Office of the RS in Washington Obrad Kesic stated that the US and the EU have to accept that their policy of opposition to changing the borders in the Balkans is doomed to fail. Kesic claims that there is no success if one does not abandon the idea of strong central states, adding that the only chance is high level of decentralization. “We are coming to the moment when both the US and the EU will have to accept that their policy of not changing the borders cannot survive. They could not guarantee them neither before nor now. The EU and the US have always emphasized the issue of Serb nationalism, while they strengthened all other nationalisms with their approach. That has been a brake on experiments such as B&H and an attempt to create an independent Kosovo,” Kesic was quoted as saying. Professor of international relations Milos Solaja stressed that changing the borders is theoretically possible, noting that unilateral decisions of that kind in these areas would cause a regional conflict because, according to him, B&H is not the only place where borders are disputable in the Balkans. Solaja recalled that B&H and Kosovo, as they are set up now, are American products and that Washington will not renounce them easily. “Americans are always consistent in their policies and they will strive to preserve B&H without some major interventions in the Dayton Peace Agreement, just like they will strive for Kosovo to be the thing that has been achieved in a way. Of course, neither went as easily as planned. Therefore, both issues, plus some other ones in the Balkans, remain open,” Solaja emphasized. Founder of the web portal Frontal Danijel Simic said that behavior of Brussels and Washington towards the Dayton B&H led to a complete collapse in all areas where they invested both money and influence. “Today, we have a completely dysfunctional state and the RS and the FB&H, more or less, are functioning independently of each other,” Simic underlined. ATV stressed that the topic of division of B&H again came into focus after Clinton’s secret plan titled ‘B&H Endgame Strategy’ from 1995 was made public. ATV noted that Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik also believes that it is high time to rehabilitate the idea for Serbs to hold a referendum on secession from B&H.
Plenkovic: Milosevic’s attendance in Knin is a very useful and good thing (HRT/Hina)
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Sunday that Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic’s attendance at the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm in Knin this week was “a very useful and good thing”. “The fact that Milosevic will be in Knin on behalf of the SDSS (Independent Democratic Serb Party) is a very useful and good thing for Croatian society, for relations between the Croats and the Serb minority in Croatia, for relations between Croatia and Serbia, and it is also a good message that the modern, contemporary Croatia has completed all its national tasks,” Plenkovic said in an interview with the public broadcaster HRT. He said that Milosevic’s attendance also showed the government’s unity and the need to face what had happened in the past 30 years. “Operation Storm is not only the most important victory in the Homeland War, but possibly in Croatian history as well. The operation was legally legitimate, militarily inevitable and politically necessary,” he stressed. “Our objective is to change relations in Croatian society and relations with our neighbors for the better, to put them in the right place and in the right temporal and historical context,” he said when asked what kind of cooperation he expected with Serbia after August 5 given its criticism of Milosevic’s decision. “Twenty-five years have passed since the end of the war and 22 since the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region. Croatia is a member of the EU and NATO. … We consider this decision to be very good and positive, and I believe that with time Belgrade and the entire political scene will realize why this decision is important and why it is good, useful and the only one possible,” Plenkovic said.
Medved’s attendance at Grubori commemoration an important political gesture
Plenkovic said that the attendance of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Tomo Medved at a commemoration in Grubori, scheduled for later this month to pay tribute to Serbs killed in that village by Croatian forces, was an important political gesture of the Croatian government. “The fact that Tomo Medved, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, a Croatian Army general, and the commander of the Tigers Brigade, is willing to go to Grubori to make a civilizational gesture on the government’s behalf and pay tribute to the victims is an important political gesture of the Croatian government,” he said. “This is good and this is no trade-off. We are now transforming the relations and putting them on a sound basis. There is no political trade-off, we did not think about it or discuss it when we were forming the parliamentary majority. This is a normal course of events as we and I personally see them 25 years after Operation Storm,” he added. Plenkovic said he was pleased that General Ante Gotovina would also speak in Knin. “The fact that the general will speak there is very good for Croatia. We remember his messages after he returned from The Hague, when he said that the war is over and we should turn to the future. I am confident that he too shares the approach we have taken for the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm,” Plenkovic said, stressing that all members of his cabinet would be in Knin on 5 August. He reiterated that the ethnic minorities should always be with the government and the governing majority. “They are part of our political heritage of the past 30 years and should make their contribution to Croatia’s future. We will cooperate with the ethnic minorities, there is no political doubt about it, and I think it is good and useful.”
Active autumn for government
Plenkovic said that the government was bracing for an active autumn, adding that the tax burden on private citizens and businesses would be further eased. The tax reforms will enter into force on 1 January, as has been the case before, and will represent the continuity of the policy to relieve the tax burden on the citizens and businesses, the PM said. Speaking of the minimum wage and its increase, he said that a decision on this would be made by early November at the latest.
HVO and HV made sacrifice in war together. That is why their recognition must be equal (Vecernji list)
The daily carried an interview with Croatian President Zoran Milanovic who was first asked to comment on his decision to decorate four HVO (Croat Defense Council) brigades and the Special Police (of Herzeg-Bosnia). Milanovic replied by saying the medals will be going to the military units and not individuals, arguing that members of the military outfits deserve credit for successful carrying out of the operation ‘Oluja’ (Storm) “because the brigades were part of our military during the period, namely in the preparations and execution of ‘Oluja’ they were under command of the Croatian Army generals”. According to Milanovic, it is good enough a reason to decorate the HVO brigades because the Croatian Army (HV) and the Croatian police were already decorated for the same contributions. In this context the Croatian President said the HV and HVO brigades were together during the war and made the same sacrifices, which is why they should be getting the same recognition. In addition, Milanovic said the HVO brigades and the Special Police took part in ‘Oluja’ on basis of the Split Agreement from July 1995, which regulated joint and coordinated activities of Croatian and B&H military forces. Asked what his attitude towards the Croat issue in B&H is, Milanovic replied by saying he will always be there to help Croats in B&H and not to get their votes. “(…) As the President of the state, I can point at problems the Croat people in B&H is encountering, at the same time respecting independence of B&H and its institutions, at the same time taking into account that Croats are a constituent people in that state (…)”, said Milanovic. Asked how B&H can be turned into a functional state, which would at the same time guarantee equality for Croats, Milanovic said his work and his statements have shown he is advocating integral B&H because it is guarantee for stability. According to the President, B&H is not perfectly organized, however it is a reality in which the three peoples live. “And when I mentioned three entities in B&H, which was maliciously interpreted and questioned by some, I was speaking about the three peoples (…)”, said Milanovic adding that B&H can only be functional if the three peoples are in position to decide on their political representatives. “That is why I talked about the problem of legitimacy of election of the Croat representative in the Presidency of B&H (…)”, added Milanovic. The Croatian President ended the interview by saying he would say the EU is not interested in B&H, especially nowadays when the EU is dealing with its new and never seen before problems, which is why it is down to Croatia to make the EU interested and start the European path of B&H.
Darmanovic,Reeker: Partnership with US at top of Montenegro’s foreign policy agenda (CdM)
Montenegrin Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic and the Head of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the US Department of State Philip Reeker discussed the current political situation in Montenegro, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the upcoming elections, the dialogue between the government of Montenegro and the Serbian Orthodox Church on the Law on Freedom of Religion, persistent hybrid threats and a disinformation campaign against Montenegro by malignant external actors, as well as Montenegro’s accession path to the European Union, the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry stated. Darmanovic expressed gratitude for the US support, including aid in the fight against Sars-Cov-2, as well as for the positive role that the US plays in Montenegro. He stressed that Montenegro shares strong democratic values with the US, and reiterated Montenegro’s commitment towards making progress in the rule of law and the fight against corruption. Darmanovic pointed out that the strategic partnership with the US is at the top of Montenegro’s foreign policy agenda, emphasizing that Montenegro is a reliable member of NATO and that we are fully committed to the promotion of common values and the fight against challenges faced by the Alliance. Reeker underlined the importance of the US-Montenegrin relationship, as evidenced by the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in October 2019, and praised Montenegro for the huge achievements in opening all negotiating chapters in the European integration process. He welcomed Montenegro’s commitment to its Western path, and the additional efforts made to close the accession chapters. Stressing that the US values Montenegro and the North Macedonia as the newest NATO members, Reeker added that their contribution is very important for the region. The US continues to support Montenegro, as a partner and ally in the fight against disinformation and hybrid attacks by malignant outside actors. Highlighting the significance of Montenegrin sovereignty, both officials agreed that Montenegro has made an important contribution to Europe throughout history and called for deepening strong bilateral ties, friendship and cooperation between the US and Montenegro.
Markovic will head the DPS list (CdM)
Depute leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) Dusko Markovic is the head of the list of the strongest party for the parliamentary elections on 30 August, it was decided on Sunday evening at the session of the DPS Presidency, CdM learns. The list also included the deputy president of the Assembly Branimir Gvozdenovic, current Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Milutin Simovic, Minister of Sport and Youth Nikola Janovic, Podgorica Mayor Ivan Vukovic.
DPS finishes consultations with municipal managements (CdM)
Consultations of the central headquarters of DPS, headed by Milo Djukanovic, with the party managements of all municipal organizations and local self-governments finished on Saturday.
CdM source said that the party “is very satisfied with the field support and according to the estimates, DPS will continue to govern”. The special focus during consultations was on five municipalities where local elections will be held at the same time. DPS expects convincing victory in local elections as well.
Krivokapic confirms political engagement: Coalition agreed, leaders on the list (Dan)
The leader of the Socialist People’s Party (SNP) Vladimir Jokovic has announced on Saturday that his party will part of the big coalition and thus confirmed that the pre-election union of DF, SNP, Ujedinjena, Prava and non-party people was formed. The Head of this coalition’s list, the working name of which is “All together”, as Dan had already published, will be professor Zdravko Krivokapic, who announced on Saturday that he had resigned at the post of the NGO We are not giving Montenegro. “The given circumstances made me accept great obligations and at the last moment became the denominator of the necessary unity. Considering that my present engagement is not compatible with the post in the NGO, in the interest of independence and impartiality, I must give up my functions and participation in its work, Krivokapic wrote on the NGO Facebook profile,” he said.
A person outside the party will lead DF electoral list (Pobjeda)
A non-party person, close to Serbian corpus and Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral will be holder of the electoral list of the coalition led by Democratic Front (DF). Several sources of Pobjeda close to this political alliance said that leader of New Serbian Democracy Andrija Mandic had stated that the top of the list would belong to non-party person, an intellectual close to Serbian Orthodox Church. “However, Mandic accepted to be on the list”, the source said.
Mandic let the electoral list of DF in the last parliamentary elections when it acquired 18 terms of office. By the end of week, DF will try to form wider coalition, to keep the promise given to Aleksandar Vucic. Andrija Mandic has said earlier that he firmly believes in victory of the opposition and that he will do his best to make that happen.
A government’s man to lead anti-government coalition?! (Dnevne novine)
Professor of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Podgorica Zdravko Krivokapic will be the holder of the list of the Great People’s coalition. He will also take on the burden of responsibility for uniting at least part of the opposition, a task that will be particularly difficult.
Krivokapic is the future leader of the coalition entitled “For the salvation of Montenegro”, which consists of DF, Socialist People’s Party, United Montenegro, the Real Montenegro, Working party and four independent intellectuals. Krivokapic expects support of all opposition voters who have been supporting pro-Serbian, anti-government forces in MNE. How strong that support is going to be depends a lot on how Krivokapic will explain his earlier engagements.
Krivokapic worked as government functionary for nine years. From 2007 to 2016, this professor was president of the Administrative Board of the Accreditation Body. After that, he becomes part of the management of the University of Montenegro. After Radmila Vojvodic, the rector, was dismissed, he resigned as president of the Committee for PHD studies, to show loyalty to the rector. In the biography published on the official website of the University of Montenegro it is stated that Krivokapic was very active in international activities. It is emphasized that he is members of the American Society for Quality (ASQ). Krivokapic has been awarded with an apartment for his engagement at the University. Apart from that, he has absolute ownership over sites in Golubovci (672 square meters) and in Herceg Novi (421 square meters), as well as one third of the land in Kotor (30.000 square meters).
Pendarovski says he will give the mandate to any candidate who assures him he can get to 61 votes (Republika)
With parliament set to convene this week, President Stevo Pendarovski said that he will give the mandate for the creation of the next government to the candidate who will assure him he can get to 61 votes. Article 90 of the Constitution is crystal clear – the mandate goes to the candidate of the party or the parties who have majority in the parliament and the President here has no room to maneuver, Pendarovski said. No major party has a clear path to forming a government and talks are believed to be going on away from the public eye. Pendarovski is tasked with giving the mandate to a candidate within 10 days after the parliament convenes. This candidate will then have 20 days to form a ruling coalition and propose a list of ministers and a program to the Parliament. If the mandate holder fails, Pendarovski then needs to give the mandate to another candidate.
Pendarovski hints at a government without DUI (Fokus/Almakos)
A government is possible without SDSM or without VMRO-DPMNE, but also without DUI, said President Stevo Pendarovski in an interview with Fokus. The constitutional norm is crystal clear – the mandate is given to the candidate of the party or parties that have a majority in parliament and here the president has virtually no room for maneuver, said Pendarovski, explaining that everything we saw in 2017, with some additional conditions, was a flagrant violation of the highest legal act. The constitutive session of the tenth parliamentary composition is scheduled for Tuesday, 4 August. According to the Almakos news site, a comment from Pendarovski, that government ministers will need to be free from allegations of corruption and to have a clear pro-European orientation, as well as that top and lower echelons will need to be able to receive NATO security certificates, could be a message to DUI. Ali Ahmeti’s party has boasted with its kingmaker statues, as its 15 seats in parliament will likely be essential to any of the major parties to form a government. But the party has a lengthy corruption record, that keeps getting covered up precisely because of its key role in successive governments. It was form out of the 2001 UCK/NLA terrorist organization and Almakos says that both their corruption and militant past will make them fail Pendarovski’s criteria. For this to work, there would likely need to be some kind of a grand coalition between VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM, including smaller Albanian parties that rival DUI.
Mickoski: If no one succeeds to form a government, I do not rule out the possibility of new early parliamentary elections in the fall (Republika)
With the changes, I expect the party to function regardless of whether we lead the next government or be in opposition. For VMRO-DPMNE it is necessary to win the next local elections. We had such a victory in the presidential elections, now we won in 39 municipalities plus the city of Skopje, while SDSM won 26, explained the leader of VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski. With restructuring, with personnel change we can really achieve a lot. But I would not be surprised if new early parliamentary elections take place in the fall if neither we nor SDSM nor any other party succeeds to form a government. If no one succeeds to form a government, I do not rule out the possibility of new early parliamentary elections in the fall, said Mickoski.
Osmani: We haven’t discussed rotating premiership, I expect government of the two major communities (Sitel TV)
I expect institutions to be formed very soon with the representatives of the two major communities in the country, Deputy PM for European Affairs and DUI spokesperson told Sitel TV on Thursday. Osmani pointed out that the party has made it clear there should be one entry ticket for talks with political parties over a government coalition and issues such as that of prime minister and share of responsibilities. The entry ticket is to openly confirm support for the three agreements, as DUI considers itself as a guardian of the three agreements: the Prespa Agreement, the agreement on good neighborly relations signed with Bulgaria, and the Ohrid Framework Agreement. We’d discuss share of responsibilities only with those parties that would accept the three agreements, Osmani said. Commenting on information over rotations of the Prime Minister’s mandate, Osmani said the party has not yet talked to take a stand on this question.
The question of rotations which is raised by analysts probably comes from experience around the world such as Israel or other governments. We haven’t discussed this question in our party so that we can take a stand. Neither within our party nor with other parties. Therefore, I see it more as an analytical approach to different versions of an idea depending on experience around the world, Osmani said. Asked where DUI sees itself, he said the results are clear and the party is an absolute winner with the Albanian voters, and thus the Albanians have given legitimacy to the party for government formation talks with a Macedonian political party. It’s an unwritten rule we have that the government is comprised of representatives of the two major communities, in order to institutionally channel the ethnic energy. We’ve learned this from experience and it turned out to be the best solution for political stability in the country, because if you don’t channel the ethnic energy institutionally, then we have abuse of that energy by various third parties. The results are clear. I expect institutions to be formed very soon with the representatives of the two major communities in the country, Osmani noted. Asked about the invitation that DUI leader Ali Ahmeti received from the Hague-based Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, Osmani said that Ahmeti has been invited to appear in the role of a witness as one of the founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army and has accepted the invitation.
Sela: If DUI does not fulfill its promise for an Albanian prime minister, it should go into opposition (Republika)
If DUI’s promise for an Albanian prime minister is not accepted, Ahmeti should go into opposition, says the leader of the Alliance for Albanians, Zijadin Sela. He said that even the information about a rotating prime minister in which DUI would get a prime ministerial post for 1 year is devastating for Ahmeti. It would mean that someone is playing with the trust that the citizens have given them. Each political party during the campaign promised a program for four years, not a rotation, in order to stay in power at any cost. Rest assured that they will break that promise as well, he said on Thursday. Asked at Thursday’s press conference whether he was holding talks more often with Zoran Zaev from SDSM or Hristijan Mickoski from VMRO-DPMNE, in terms of the talks on government formation, Sela said that so far he had not been holding talks with neither of them. These days I only talked to a lady from the parliament, who informed me that there will be a constitutive session on Tuesday, Sela said, pointing out that the negotiations for forming the government would start after 4 August.
Albanian parliament changes Constitution, adopts reform of electoral system (ADN/Exit)
The Albanian parliament has voted yesterday to change the Constitution in order to allow open lists on next elections and a new formula for the coalitions, ADN reported. Amending of the Constitution aroused significant public debate. The opposition members who abandoned their parliamentary mandate last year opposed the decision, while the ruling Socialist Party and the opposition MPs that remained in the parliament supported the reform. According to Exit news, the approved amendments state that the list of candidates for MPs should be open, i.e. that the parties determine who is on the list but the voters decide which MPs take seats in Assembly.
According to this principle, voters will vote for the party and the three candidates they want to win seats. At the end of voting, the candidates for each party are ranked according to the number of the votes they have received. The system is yet to be specified by the adoption of a changed Electoral Code. With the approved changes, Albania will be split into new administrative divisions and regions. Currently, Albania is divided into 61 municipalities and 12 regions. Changing this would require amending the law on territorial division and the Electoral Code. The parliamentary election is scheduled for next spring. Electoral reform in line with OSCE / ODIHR recommendations has been one of the conditions for Albania to hold its first intergovernmental conference with the EU.
Basha condemns the changes (ADN)
Democratic Party (DP) leader Lulzim Basha reacted on Thursday after the constitutional changes were approved in Parliament, noting that Prime Minister Edi Rama has violated the constitution and the history of the country, ADN reported. “The interest of the citizens was violated. Today, the half-parliament violated the laws and constitution. Our common history. They violated the consensus”, Basha said adding that never before has the Constitution been changed unilaterally and without the consensus of the opposition. Extra-parliamentary opposition has criticized the reform due to the way it would impact the forming of the pre-election coalitions, which it claims would benefit the Socialist Party.
Meta decrees 5 June agreement (ADN)
President of the Republic, Ilir Meta has decreed without delay Law no.101/2020 “On some additions and changes to law no.10019, dated 29.12.2008 “The Electoral Code of the Republic of Albania, as amended,” the President’s spokesperson Tedi Blushi announced Friday. Blushi informed that President Meta has received the above law among others “for decree and promulgation” through letter No. 1961 of the parliament. Meanwhile, the spokesperson says that Electoral Code amendments are the only outcome of 14 January and 5 June agreement. President of Albania will as always be in protection of the Constitution, the inalienable rights, freedoms and the will of the citizens, said Blushi. “The amendments to the Electoral Code are the only product of the consensual agreement of 14 January and 5 June agreed in the Political Council, which enables the safe continuation of Albania’s European path and which had the consensus and inclusion of all political actors in the country. President Meta reiterates that the comprehensive, transparent and honest political dialogue between the political forces on all issues affecting the elections is the only way that brings Albania closer to the European Union and brings the Electoral Reform in line with OSCE / ODIHR standards as requested by the European Council in the 15 conditions set for the opening of negotiations. For months the President of the Republic has reiterated the call that, any changes regarding important laws, should be made only through the unanimous consensus of the Political Council. Meta finds the opportunity to thank all those political forces that with their sincere commitment and will show in the Political Council, enabled the achievement of this result on 5 June, which was codified by the parliament of Albania on 23 July through changes in the Code Electoral, which are decreed today. Meta will, as always, be at the forefront of the duty of defending the Constitution, the inalienable rights, freedoms and the will of the citizens to take their destinies in the face of any act of unilateral, violent and unjustifiable urgency, like that made to the Constitution, which annihilate the rule of law, democracy and the European future of Albania,” stated Blushi.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES
Szijjártó: István Pásztor Deserves Appointment as Assembly of Vojvodina President (MTI-Hungary Today, 2 August 2020)
The Assembly of the Autonomous province of Vojvodina has once again elected an ethnic Hungarian for president, and István Pásztor, head of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (VMSZ), deserves the appointment as he has done much to establish the Serbian-Hungarian friendship, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó saidd on Saturday. Szijjártó said on Facebook that Serbian-Hungarian relations had been transformed “from hatefulness to a historic friendship” thanks to plenty of compromises and a lot of work. “Our relations have never been as good as now and this benefits not only the two countries but above all the ethnic Hungarian community of Vojvodina,” he said. Szijjártó said that Hungary was making every effort to help Serbia join the European Union as soon as possible and supports investment by Hungarian and Vojvodina companies, while “Serbia gives more rights to ethnic Hungarians living there than any of our other neighbours”.