Serbia, RS mark Remembrance Day for Serbs killed, expelled in armed operation “Storm” (RTS/Tanjug/B92)
Aleksandar Vucic and Serbian member of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina Milorad Dodik unveiled on Tuesday night a memorial plaque on the Raca bridge, in memory of all Serbs killed and expelled in the armed action of the Croatian army and police “Storm “, who crossed that bridge fleeing to Serbia. Vucic and Dodik laid wreaths at the memorial plaque after Serbian Patriarch Irinej held a memorial service for those killed. The Raca bridge is a silent witness of the suffering of the Serbs in 1995, when they fled Krajina following an attack of the Croatian army and police “Storm”. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs crossed this bridge, which connects Semberija with Serbia, saving their lives and the lives of their children from crime and certain death, as victims of ethnic cleansing. They fled to Serbia, where they found refuge and hope.
Vucic stated that since 2014, Serbia and Republika Srpska (RS) have been commemorating Serbian sufferings jointly. I am very proud of that fact. Milorad Dodik and I suggested that and I am happy and proud to see that almost the entire people understood the importance of that idea, Vucic declared. He underlined that crimes should be called by their real name and that he is grateful to everyone who understood that we must have self-respect. Serbian people, do not forget that no one in Europe and the world mentions any longer the genocide in the Independent State of Croatia, he said. The Serbian President pointed out that the Serbian cities and villages are deserted. That matrix has been set and it will be difficult for us to change it in the near future, but we have an obligation towards our children to open their eyes with truth, the Serbian President underlined. Vucic emphasised that Serbia and RS managed to say “no” to lies and to make it known that Serbia lives, that it will not disappear and that it will not bear the mark of shame that was put on her. According to him, Serbia wants reconciliation, but never humiliation and it only wants reverence for Serbian victims to be shown. We want it to be said out loud that an entire people was killed in Jasenovac, as well as in Jadovno and Prebilovci, and on Petrovacka cesta, just because they bore the Serbian name and surname. We had the strength not to hide whenever the Serbs did something somewhere. Do not force us to celebrate with you the killing of Serbs. We will not celebrate the tragedy of the Serbian people, said Vucic. He stated that there will be no more “Storms” against the Serbian people. We will not allow ever again anyone to kill a Srdjan, Mrdjan and Mladjen. Serbia will never again be so small and weak so that many in the region and the world could rejoice over it, the Serbian President underlined and added that Serbia will never accept humiliation. He pointed out that the number of Serbs in Croatia has been reduced to a statistical error and that the question is why others are silent about it and ask Serbia to be silent about it too. Shouldn’t justice be the same for everyone?, the President of Serbia asked. As long as Serbia and RS live, the crime against the people of Krajina must not and will not be forgotten, the President of Serbia declared. Milorad Dodik assessed that the Serbian people today have their freedom in Republika Srpska and Serbia, and pointed out that on this day tribute is being paid to Serb victims and that the criminal operation “Storm” was part of the plan to annihilate Serbs. Dodik recalled that “Storm” was carried out with the blessing of great powers as the final part of the process of persecution of Serbs. Speaking about Croatia, Dodik asked how someone can celebrate a day when 250,000 Serbs were expelled. To whom is that homeland gratitude addressed?, Dodik asked. He underlined that the Serbian people will not disappear, that it “loves freedom and it has been dying for it over centuries”. Dodik also recalled that the Serbs from Croatia have not gotten their property back and that Cyrillic is prohibited there. Serbian Patriarch Irinej said that today we are marking a sad and tragic event that our innocent people experienced 25 years ago, not from some distant and unknown people, but from a people who speaks the same language and have almost the same faith. After holding the memorial service for all the Serbs who died in the operation “Storm”, Patriarch Irinej said that the only guilt of the Serbian people who lived in the territory of Croatia was that they were ethnic Serbs and Orthodox by faith. He emphasised that the Serbian people have been paying the price for their name and faith with their lives since 1941, and unfortunately, they still pay it even today. We are marking the 25th anniversary of a terrible pogrom, when 250,000 expelled and desperate Serbian people crossed this bridge, mostly the weak ones deprived of their homes and the lives of their loved ones, as the most tragic event in our history, Patriarch Irinej stated.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic also attended the observance of the Remembrance Day.
Boris Milosevic in Knin – Emotions are still fresh (B92/Tanjug)
The celebration of Operation Storm in Knin was for the first time attended by a Serb representative, Croatian Deputy Prime Minister from SDSS, Boris Milosevic. Milosevic, the SDSS deputy prime minister of Croatia, said after the celebration of Operation “Storm” in Knin that he had heard messages of reconciliation in speeches by Croatian officials and that his arrival in Knin was a pledge for the future. “We respect all victims, regardless of nationality. We should respect the memories of the victims. Emotions are still fresh. I heard messages of reconciliation, peace and the future, and I consider my arrival as a pledge for the future,” Milosevic told reporters in Knin. at the end of the event. Milosevic added that Croatian society has matured so that everyone can hear and respect each other, regardless of nationality. “It is important for the society to accept that Serbs in Croatia had their victims and their sufferings, and that we must respect the memories of those victims. And I think that this is only the first step,” Milosevic said.
Attacks due to the decision to attend the Storm celebration as a Serb are seen as expected: “I understand it primarily as it comes from people who have suffered pain and felt injustice,” Milosevic said. His presence at the celebrations in Knin met with a series of negative reactions.
Until recently, Milosevic was the president of the Serbian National Council (SNV), according to which data, the “Storm” operation resulted in over 200.000 Serbs fleeing Croatia and almost 2.000 got killed in the course and after this final operation of ethnic cleansing and the offensive on the territory then known as the Republic of Srpska Krajina. He stood in line near Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. During the presentation of high-ranking Croatian officials, retired General Ante Gotovina was also introduced. And while others applauded, Milosevic kept his hands folded.
While Serbs mourn the victims, they celebrate
Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic says that while tens of thousands of Serbs expelled from Croatia in “Storm” are still mourning their dead and missing, Croatia is celebrating. “It is hard to imagine how the families of the killed and missing in the Croatian military-police operation “Storm” and all the expelled Serbs from their centuries-old homes feel today. How do those who have been mourning their loved ones for 25 years or those who still don’t even know the fate of their loved ones, as well as all those who had to leave everything they gained and barely save their lives to flee their homes in exile. There is no consolation for them, nothing can heal their wounds”, Stefanovic said. In a press release, he also said that, unfortunately, even after 25 years, Croatia will celebrate a military operation in which more than 1.800 Serbs were killed or disappeared, while about 250.000 were expelled. “They will celebrate an operation in which the ethnic cleansing of our people was carried out and in which the victims were mostly civilians, mostly old men, women, women and children. This brutal crime in the middle of Europe has remained a crime without punishment. Time has not brought justice to the victims of the “Storm”, and that will remain written as a shameful page in the history of Europe”, Stefanovic pointed out. He also emphasized that he is proud that “Serbia today is not ashamed, does not keep silent and does not hide the suffering of its own people, making it easier for criminals not to have to face their crimes, as it did during the previous authorities.” “I am proud that today we are marking the Day of Remembrance of the Serbs who died and were expelled in ‘Storm’, that for the sixth year in a row, thanks to the determination of President Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia is no longer silent, as it used to be, and that it has the strength to say “It was a terrible crime and it does not allow itself to be forgotten. It is the least that as a society we owe to the victims and exiles in the criminal operation ‘Storm’,” Stefanovic concluded.
Vucic, Botsan-Kharchenko discuss Belgrade-Pristina dialogue (RTV/Tanjug)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met today with Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko to discuss current issues of Serbian-Russian relations and bilateral cooperation, especially the implementation of specific agreements and joint projects. The two interlocutors expressed hope that the circumstances will soon allow both countries to fully commit to the realization of joint plans for cooperation in various fields. They also expressed the expectation that it would enable more frequent interstate contacts and the exchange of high-level visits so that the announced visit of President Putin would be prepared in the best way. Vucic and Botsan-Kharchenko discussed the course of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, especially the missing and internally displaced persons, as well as the economy. They agreed that it would be essential to implement and apply the previously reached agreements between Belgrade and Pristina, especially those concerning the Community of Serb Municipalities.
Mrkonjic: No chance cabinet could be formed without Socialists (Beta)
The honorary president of the Socialist Party of Serbia and an MP Milutin Mrkonjic on 4 August said “there is no chance that a new cabinet could be formed without the Socialists.”
“Although Aleksandar Vucic and Ivica Dacic have not conducted concrete talks, I am sure that a new cabinet will not be formed without the Socialists. There are several reasons why the Socialists must take part in the government,” Mrkonjic told Beta. He noted that the number of ballots collected by the Socialists in the last elections was not the only reason why they should be included in a new government. “A government should not be rejuvenated. A government is not a parliament. A government needs proven experts, and the Socialist Party of Serbia is the strongest party in the country when it comes to personnel and experts. There is no room for interns,” Mrkonjic explained. He also said that the economic platform presented by
Aleksandar Vucic a few days ago fully accommodated the Socialists and corresponded with
everything the Socialists had, both in terms of personnel and ideology.
Dodik: Croats have been trying to present this day as homeland gratitude day (RTRS)
On the day of the commemoration, Serb member of the B&H Presidency Dodik stated that the process of persecution of Serbs escalated in the operation ‘Oluja’, while it stems from the major treason process and the Ustasha movement ideology during the period of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). Dodik noted: “Croats have been trying to present this as a day of homeland gratitude. The question is for what and to whom they are grateful. For the ethnic cleansing? Persecution of 300,000 and murder of 2,000 people. Or it is maybe about some new standards of the EU saying that ethnic cleansing should be celebrated as victory”. While addressing participants of ceremony held in Sremska Raca, Dodik said that victims from the World War II and last wars oblige survivors not to allow situation where Serbs are persecuted ever again. Dodik added that ‘Oluja’ represents final act of ethnic cleansing in Croatia, as well as of genocide committed against Serbs in Croatia in last century. He emphasized that it is time to say ‘Oluja’ is part of genocidal plan against Serb people launched by fascistic NDH.
Milanovic’s statement denying ICTY verdict on JCE sparks reactions in B&H (N1)
The statement of Croatian President Zoran Milanovic in which he denied the ICTY verdict concerning the Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE) sparked numerous reactions. Namely, Milanovic said that after the war there were attempts “to present all of this before the ICTY as the JCE. Such intention faced failure.” Member of B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic said that this statement is unacceptable and detrimental for relations between B&H and Croatia. He added that Milanovic disappointed and insulted many citizens of B&H. Komsic went on to saying that Croatian President resumes with “anti-civilized” policy of denial of verdicts passed by the Court in The Hague, same as his predecessor Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic. Komsic stressed that withdrawing of this statement would be good for Milanovic, B&H and Croatia. Assistant Minister of Justice of B&H Nezir Pivic (SDA) stated that when it comes to processing of war crimes, neighboring countries have been failing to provide adequate assistance to B&H in this regard. “Example is this statement, as well as continuous misuse of dual citizenship, where citizens of B&H with dual citizenship flee to Croatia from B&H judiciary”, stressed Pivic.
Representative of the association of war camp detainees in Mostar Edin Batlak reminded that the ICTY verdict in this case talks about role of wartime leadership of Croatia in the JCE. “It is undeniable fact the Croat Council of Defense (HVO) and units of Croatian Army (HV), i.e. leadership of Croatia participated in the JCE. If Milanovic is disputing this, he cannot be considered European or democrat”, explained Batlak. The reporter reminded that in case ‘Prlic et al’, the ICTY decided that six officials of Croat Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia at helm with Jadranko Prlic took part in the JCE aimed to create Croat territory that would merge with Croatia. The verdict of the ICTY talks about involvement of Croatian leadership in the JCE.
B&H CEC certifies another 13 coalitions, one independent list (Nova BH)
The Central Election Commission (CEC) of B&H held an emergency session on Tuesday, at which 13 more coalitions and one independent list were certified, after eliminating the shortcomings. It was confirmed that out of 45 coalitions, 13 of them met the conditions for certification.
CEC announces possible further postponement of local elections in B&H (ATV)
The B&H CEC announced a possible further delay of the local elections, which have already been postponed from 4 October to 15 November, this time due to the appeals that a group of companies filed against the CEC’s decision to select the Sarajevo-based company ‘Unioninvestplastika’ for printing and packing of the ballots. Specifically, two companies from Sarajevo and one from Banja Luka appealed against the CEC’s decision, which awarded a job worth over BAM 800,000 to ‘Unioninvestplastika’. CEC assessed that these appeals are unfounded, and it requested from the B&H Procurement Review Body to urgently pass the decisions on the appeals. The CEC’s statement reads: “We must sign the contract as soon as possible, because we need to have the ballots in the second half of September, in order to send them to the voters who registered for absentee voting. It is very important to solve this issue as rapidly as possible.”
Dodik: There is no reason to further postpone elections (ATV)
Reacting to the B&H CEC announcement of a possible further delay, SNSD leader Milorad Dodik underscored that there is not a single reason why the elections should again be postponed. Dodik expressed an opinion that the CEC is what actually most threatens holding of the elections, but he asserted that the elections will be held as planned. Dodik said: “The funds have been secured through the budget. There is not a single reason for postponement of the elections. SNSD is ready to participate in the elections and we want those elections to happen.” SNSD’s delegate in the B&H House of Peoples (HoP) Dusanka Majkic said for ATV that the public procurement procedures related to the elections last longer than they should, assessing that the CEC’s constant announcements of new reasons why the elections might be called in question is what threatens the elections.
Turkovic signs Milinic decision for position in Beijing (Glas Srpske)
The daily reports that although a conclusion of the B&H Presidency – according to which no one can go in diplomatic-consular representation offices and B&H Embassies all over the world – is still in force, B&H Minister of Foreign Affairs Bisera Turkovic signed a decision which appoints Gordan Milinic to the post of a minister-advisor in Beijing as well as a decision on preparations. Members of the B&H Presidency reached the aforementioned conclusion in December 2019 according to which no one can go in diplomatic-consular representation offices and B&H Embassies all over the world until drafting of a new job systematization in the B&H Ministry of Foreign Affairs and delivery of a report on filling seats in line with ethnic structure. The daily reports that Turkovic never delivered this report, reminding that by the end of May this year, Milinic was Director of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency of B&H as a member of SDS.
Plenkovic: Legitimate right to defense is not and cannot be excuse for wrongdoing (Hina/N1)
Any innocent victim of the war, be they of Croat, Serb or any other ethnicity, deserves respect, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm in Knin on Wednesday. In his address, he recalled a message of reconciliation addressed by the late president Franjo Tudjman in Vukovar in June 1997 to Croatian returnees and the local Serb population: “A victor who cannot forgive sows the seeds of future rifts and evils, and the Croatian people do not want that.” Plenkovic said that this message should be borne in mind in building an inclusive, tolerant and forward-looking Croatia. “As a country that won a war that was imposed on it, with numerous innocent civilian victims, we regret all the casualties, especially civilians, and not just Croats, but Serbs and members of all other ethnic communities as well.” Plenkovic expressed regret for war crimes committed by Croats, saying that “a legitimate right to defense is not and cannot be an excuse for wrongdoing.” “Any such act is painful for the families of the victims and an ugly scar on the righteous face and defensive nature of the Homeland War,” he added. “We are aware that our victory in Operation Storm was traumatic for many Croatian Serbs who primarily associate it with the departure of a portion of the Serb population from their homes in what were previously occupied areas. While for the majority of Croats this was a forced exodus organized and ordered by leaders of the Serb rebellion in Knin, many Serbs still see it as an exodus before Croatian forces,” he said. Plenkovic said that 25 years on it was time to look at the complexity of what had happened then with equanimity. After Operation Storm, the Croatian state has made great efforts to ensure that Serb refugees who so wish return to their homeland and much has been done in that regard, There are still difficulties that need to be removed so that they can feel equal and live in dignity, he added.
“We know that the whole time many Croatian Serbs in free areas of the country shared the fate of their Croatian compatriots, and many of them were in the Croatian army, of which we should be proud,” Plenkovic stressed. It is important that in Operation Storm the Croatian Serbs do not see only the exodus of their people but also the end of the war that paved the way for their return to Croatia, for everyone who so wishes. “Finally, respects are due to every innocent victim, be they of Croat, Serb or any other ethnicity. Respects to thousands of innocent Croat victims from Vukovar to Dubrovnik … Respects to innocent Serb victims from Paulin Dvor to Varivode,” Plenkovic said. “We do not question the legitimacy or righteousness of the Homeland War nor do we downplay the victory won in Operation Storm,” he added.
Humanity of a victor who regrets every lapse or war crime not prevented
Plenkovic said that this shows the magnanimity and humanity of a victor “who, despite everything, regrets every lapse or war crime that was not prevented.” “We expect the same from all sections of Croatian society, especially from representatives of the Serbs in Croatia, who should also clearly condemn all the war crimes committed against Croats,” he stressed. True reconciliation can only be built on truth that is based on fact, on full cooperation in discovering all those still listed as missing and in seeking justice for all the victims, Plenkovic said, adding that all war crimes that do not fall under a statute of limitations will continue to be prosecuted regardless of the ethnicity of the victim or the perpetrator. “Today, as the world copes with the biggest health threat in the last hundred years and with the gravest economic crisis since the Second World War, we must again strengthen our national unity around Croatian strategic goals. That’s why we should be inspired by the courage and self-abnegation of Croatian defenders and we will be able to cope with the great challenges facing us,” the prime minister said. Plenkovic reiterated that Operation Storm was “legally legitimate, militarily inevitable and politically necessary,” adding that it was an imperative for the Croatian leadership at the time to make it possible for displaced Croats to return to their homes and to reconnect parts of the country that had been severed until then. With more than 20,000 dead and 15% of the housing stock damaged, Croatia suffered huge damage in the war which set it back 15 years in terms of development, Plenkovic said, noting that Operation Storm was also a turning point for peace and stability in southeastern Europe “which is why we can rightfully regard it as our greatest victory.” He announced that a special law on civilian casualties of the Homeland War would be adopted to resolve painful issues still burdening Croatian society.
Milanovic: The Croatian war was a just war (Index)
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of Operation “Storm”, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic presented decorations to generals of the Croatian Army in Knin. “It is a great thing that, I believe, tomorrow, in these days of gathering, our society will be wider. 25 years after the war, it is my honor to decorate Croatian units from Bosnia-Herzegovina as well. That is our debt of honor,” Milanovic said. What, as he said, he can say with deep human conviction is that the wars are over and that Croatia won those wars. “The Croatian war was a just war. And like any war, it was hard and bloody,” Milanovic said. He presented the decisions on decorating the Order of King Petar Kresimir IV with a ribbon to retired generals of Croatian Army (HV) for outstanding contribution to the creation of war strategy and military doctrine, merits in building the Armed Forces and for personal success in leading and commanding units of the Armed Forces. And decisions on decorating the Order of Nikola Subic Zrinski with the HVO Guards Brigades and the Special Police of the Ministry of the Interior for the heroism of their members in the Homeland War. Before awarding the decorations, retired General Ante Gotovina addressed the gathered, who, among other things, said that a lot of time had passed since the end of the war, but it was never too late to do good, to do justice. “Dear friends, with our courage and selfless commitment to the homeland at that fateful time for our people, together we all built a Croatian army ready and able to defend ourselves, end the imposed war and create preconditions for lasting peace,” Gotovina said, as Croatian portal Index reports.
Milanovic: A joint criminal enterprise was one of the dumbest and ugliest fabrications (HRT)
On the eve of Tuesday’s reception at the Knin Fortress, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic presented the Order of Nikola Subic Zrinski to the First Croatian Police Unit for the heroism of its members during the Homeland War at the Police Academy in Zagreb. President and Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces Zoran Milanovic said during the ceremony that Operation ‘Oluja’ was a victory without any stains. He recalled that after the war there were attempts to portray it as a joint criminal enterprise at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. “That failed as an intent, we also had luck that not a single one of our generals was smeared and in the end none were convicted for that joint criminal enterprise, which was one of the more stupid and ugly fabrications that was attempted to be placed on Croatia’s back,” said Milanovic.
Medved: This government has corrected an injustice (Hina)
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Tomo Medved expressed his congratulations on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the First Croatian Policeman unit underlining that with this the government has corrected an injustice by deciding that the the First Croatian Policeman was the first armed unit of the Interior Ministry. Ahead of the 25th anniversary of the military-police operation Storm, he thanked the troops for all they had done during their service in the Homeland War. “Let’s be proud of everything we achieved together and ready for challenges that each new day brings. With optimism and faith, we are continuing towards a better future,” said Medved.
Election race made official (In4S)
The handing over of the electoral lists of the parties that will participate in the parliamentary elections scheduled for 30 August was completed on Tuesday night at midnight. Six coalitions and the same number of parties will take part in the elections.
People’s coalition “For the Future of Montenegro”
The great People’s coalition is composed of the DF (Democratic Fornt), SNP (Socialist People’s Party), PCG (Right Montenegro), UCG United Montenegro), RP (Worker’s Party) and NP (People’s Movement), as well as a large number of independent intellectuals. The head of the list is professor Zdravko Krivokapic.
“Peace is our nation”
Democratic Montenegro, Demos, Party of Pensioners and Restitution and Civic Movement New Left will appear jointly at the elections. The head of the list is the leader of the Democrats Aleksa Becic, and the coalition will take part in the elections under the slogan “Peace is our nation”.
Platform “Black on white”
The platform “Black on white” is composed of the URA Civic Movement, Civil Association Civis, Boka Forum, Party of Justice and Reconciliation and independent intellectuals. The head of the list if the leader of the URA Civic Movement Dritan Abazovic.
“Decisively for Montenegro DPS – Milo Djukanovic”
The Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, submitted to the State Election Commission the list of candidates entitled “Decisively for Montenegro DPS – Milo Djukanovic” for the parliamentary elections due on 30 August. The list leader is the deputy DPS president Dusko Markovic. The Liberal Party is in the coalition with them.
“Snezana Jonica – Socialists of Montenegro – To live as Yugoslavs”
The Socialists submitted to the State Election Commission the list “Snezana Jonica – Socialists of Montenegro – To live as Yugoslavs” for the parliamentary elections due on 30 August. The head of the list is the leader of the Socialists Snezana Jonica.
“Socialdemocrats – Ivan Brajovic – We decide consistently”
The Socialdemocrats will appear individually under the slogan “Socialdemocrats – Ivan Brajovic – We decide consistently”. The list will be headed by the party leader Ivan Brajovic.
The Socialdemocrat party of Montenegro (SDP) submitted among the first the list for the parliamentary elections. It will appear under the slogan “Strong Montenegro” and the lead of the list if the SDP leader Draginja Vuksanovic Stankovic.
“Bosniak party-Correctly-Rafet Husovic”
The Bosniak party is taking part in the elections individually under the slogan “Bosniak party-Correctly-Rafet Husovic” and the head of the list is Ervin Ibrahimovic.
“HGI– With all heart for Montenegro!”
The Croat Civic Initiative (HGI) will appear individually at the elections under the slogan “HGI– With all heart for Montenegro!”. The Head of the list is Adrijan Vuksanovic, the leader of the Croat Civic Initiative.
Croat Reformist Party
The Croat Reformist Party of Montenegro (HRS) also entered the election race and the head of the list if Radovan Rade Maric.
Albanian coalition “Unanimously”
The Albanian coalition “Unanimously”, composed of the Democratic union of Albanians (DUA), the Democratic Party (DP) and the Democratic Association in Montenegro (DSuCG), submitted the list for the parliamentary elections and the head of the list is DP leader Fatmir Djeka.
“Genci Nimanbegu – Nik Djelosaj”
The Albanian coalition Democratic Forum, New Democratic Force FORCA, Civic Movement Perspective and Union of Tuzi submitted the electoral list “Genci Nimanbegu – Nik Djelosaj” for the parliamentary elections. The head of the list if Nik Djelosaj.
Local elections in Tivat, Budva, Kotor, Andrijevica and Gusinj
Pursuant to his competencies and deadlines prescribed by the Constitution of Montenegro, the Law on Election of Councilors and Deputies, as well as the Law on Local Self-Government when it comes to elections at the local level, Milo Djukanovic also passed the Decision on announcing elections for councilors: to the Municipal Assembly of Andrijevica, the Municipal Assembly of Budva, the Municipal Assembly of Gusinje and the Municipal Assembly of Kotor and the Municipal Assembly of Tivat.
Zaev starts negotiations for government: He did not say whether he still thinks that DUI is not worth five pennies and it should go into opposition (Republika)
SDSM leader Zoran Zaev announced the start of negotiations to form a new government. He says the 46 lawmakers in his coalition will show more responsibility. He announced that he was starting negotiations for the government formation, but did not want to say whether he maintained the position that “DUI is not worth five pennies and that it is healthy for them to go into opposition.” We will see in the period that follows. Let time show. We can form a government with DUI and the Alliance. All options are open, said Zaev. Zaev sent Tuesday a message to DUI that they are not the first choice to form a government and that there is an option for a parliamentary majority with Zijadin Sela’s Alliance. There should be numbers for a prime minister. With 15 MPs, one does not become prime minister. We have an option for a government with DUI or with the Alliance, which means a stable majority. The numbers are large enough for a stable majority, said Zaev.
You can’t become Prime Minister with 46 seats either, Ahmeti replies to Zaev (Republika/Koha)
After Zoran Zaev called out Ali Ahmeti, telling him that he can’t become Prime Minister holding just 15 seats in parliament, Ahmeti shot back, reminding Zaev that he also can’t become Prime Minister with only 46 seats. These were the opening salvos of the coalition talks, that began in earnest after the parliament was convened. Zaev held a press conference in which he lambasted the critical press and sent out a warning to Ahmeti not to get carried away in his demands during the talks, telling him he only holds 15 seats. Ahmeti demanded that the next Prime Minister is an ethnic Albanian and made this a condition for his talks with the two winning parties, VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM, who were virtually tied in the elections and need Ahmeti’s votes to be able to get to the 61 votes they need. After Zaev made his remarks, Ahmeti indicated that he is not in a hurry to crown the next coalition and, in an interview with Koha, stated that “you can’t become Prime Minister with 46 seats either”. In this situation all sides need to be calm, to show wisdom and think about the highest interests of the country. I can freely say that DUI is a factor of stability in the country. We will analyze the situation carefully and we won’t be in a hurry. Every step we make is in the interest of the state, of peace, stability and advancing the higher processes, such as the Ohrid and Prespa treaties and the treaty with Bulgaria, the implementation of the languages law and the fight against crime and corruption. We mustn’t avoid the vetting process either, Ahmeti said, referring to the proposal from VMRO-DPMNE to investigate the inexplicable wealth of top politicians, a process in which Zaev and his family are prime candidates for “vetting”. DUI party leader Ali Ahmeti, who holds 15 seats in parliament and likely the key to the creation of the next government, said that he is in no hurry to complete the coalition talks. The new parliament convened on Tuesday, but could not proceed to electing a speaker as there is no clear majority yet. This was just to convene the parliament. We are yet to see what its agenda and its priorities will be. It’s early to talk about our expectations, Ahmeti said. VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM are virtually tied and need Ahmeti’s 15 votes in most combinations that would lead to the creation of a government. DUI has made it clear it wants to be courted by both major parties and to see what concessions it can exact this time.
Mickoski: VMRO begins talks to form a new ruling majority (Republika)
VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski said that the party will begin talks to form the next governing coalition. He said that there is no possibility that the candidates elected on the VMRO ticked cross over to support an SDSM government – on the contrary, he expects votes to move in the opposite direction. VMRO-DPMNE will try to form a parliamentary majority based on our political philosophy, and not on horse-trading. I have endless trust in the people who were elected as part of the list for Renewal of Macedonia and I don’t believe there are those among them who would support Zaev’s program, Mickoski said. VMRO and SDSM are essentially tied after the chaotic July 15 elections and none has a clear and easy shot at forming a government. The parliament convened today but there was no majority in place to elect a speaker, which is usually the first step toward asserting that there is workable majority. In the past parliament, SDSM used the full weight of the judiciary and bribes to bring a dozen of members of Parliament elected on the VMRO ticket over to their side, some on a permanent basis and some for key votes such as the imposed renaming of Macedonia. VMRO excluded those in the group led by Saso Mijalkov who sided with Zaev from the party and participated in the July elections with a greatly changed roster of candidates.
DPA says it will join a possible ruling coalition with SDSM (Republika)
The minor DPA party said that it will join SDSM in coalition. The once significant Democratic Party of Albanians led by Menduh Thaci now has one seat in the parliament. Its official Azem Sedaku said that he met with SDSM officials Oliver Spasovski and Radmila Sekerinska and agreed to join SDSM in any future coalition, without citing the specific share of positions DPA hopes to gain.
The electoral agreement of 5 June is officially a law (Radio Tirana)
Two weeks after it was approved by the Albanian parliament, and 4 days after it received the signature of President Ilir Meta, today was published in the Official Journal the political agreement of 5 June, which brought agreed changes between all parties in the Electoral Code. The agreement, already turned into law, is expected to enter into force on 19 August, 15 days from its publication in the Official Journal. The 12 points agreed on the evening of 5 June, were translated into articles of the Electoral Code to improve the electoral process. The entry into force of this law will lead to the launch of procedures for the implementation of technology in elections and the creation of a new CEC, whose members, according to the agreement, will be elected by a parliamentary commission, where the opposition will have a representative of veto itself.
DP vows to transform Albania’s political climate (ADN)
The Democratic Party (DP) will change the political climate of Albania, pointed out Tuesday the member of Special Commission for MP candidates’ evaluation Enriketa Papa. In her opinion, the country is headed towards authoritarianism and the Democratic Party aims at winning the next elections through the best team. Papa added her party is meeting democracy’s new requirements and “good work is done to choose the best figures” for the commission. “The DP is responding to the new demands of democracy. We want to choose the best candidates. Good work is done to choose the best figures. It’s a new work, with the best model. Today, the whole Commission presented its ideas. It is much much that awaits us. The candidates will go through the evaluation filters. It is very serious work, with much integrity. Today, in parliament we have little known people and without proper professional integrity, while we will select the best. We evaluate also the figures that make up the Evaluation Commission. It is a fact that we are going towards authoritarianism. Albania needs a change. We aim to come to power with the best team. DP expresses appreciation for the figures invited in the Evaluation Commission. The political climate in the country is problematic and we will change it”, said Papa in an interview.
Earlier on, the DP Chairman Lulzim Basha declared that his party “will be represented in the upcoming electoral confrontation by its political elite, as well as by prominent personalities of academic and public life. The start of the Evaluation Commission is only the first phase of selecting candidates for the upcoming elections”.