ECR Party

Koca Pavlovic: Montenegro’s three-act play

ACRE member Koca Pavlovic MP describes the alleged coup d’état in Montenegro as a three-act play by prime minister Milo Djukanovic (Democratic Party of Socialists).

On 16 October 2016, the Montenegrin prime minister, Milo Djukanovic, has proclaimed a failed «coup d’état» and arrested the alleged «terrorists» in order to scare the citizens and prevent the expected high turnout of the opposition's voters.

In case his unprecedented scare tactic had failed to produce the desired results, Djukanovic was ready to use this theatrical performance, which could be appropriately entitled «Terrorists are Coming!!», as an alibi for a bloody incident he had planned for the evening of 16 October.

Furthermore, such incidents would have served as justification for introducing the state of emergency in Montenegro. There is little doubt, if any, that his monstrous regime would have created such incidents if the opposition parties had succeeded in winning enough votes to form a new government.

It is important to remind everyone that five days before the elections the Democratic Front (DF) had informed both the Montenegrin public and the office of the attorney general about the existence of such a monstrous plan. We believe that the only reasons why this plan did not go into effect in its entirety were the fear mongering and scare tactics used by the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) on the election day. The usual high voter turnout in the evening hours had turned into a trickle, thus preventing the opposition from winning the elections. The First Act of this theatre play concluded with scared citizens and intimidated opposition voters.

Following the elections, and as part of the Second Act, Milo Djukanovic and the office of the attorney general continued to prop up their original invention and strengthen a concocted narrative about «terrorists» and an attempted «coup d’état». They continued to openly threat the leadership of the DF with arrest and imprisonment. The aim of the Second Act was to scare the leadership of the Bosniac Party (BS) into submission and to prevent them from supporting the DF's initiative to form a government without DPS. Even though we are yet to witness the formal conclusion of the negotiations about a new government, it is all but certain that the DPS has managed to scare the BS leadership and pull them closer, if not entirely, towards yet another coalition with Djukanovic.

The Third Act opened with Milo Djukanovic verbally assaulting the leaders and members of the DF, spewing lies about them, and uttering threats against them on live TV. Djukanovic alone is now putting together a list of charges against the leadership of the DF and he is personally prosecuting this «case» via friendly media outlets. While disregarding state institutions and procedures, and acting as a judge, jury, and the executioner, Djukanovic is outlining a verdict against the DF. He expects it to be «supported» and legitimised by the «evidence» provided or manufactured by the office of the attorney general. It seems that any evidence, real or imagined, would do as long as his public threats and finger wagging at the DF could be somehow wrapped-up in a thin foil of a legal argument.

The aim of the Third Act is to demonstrate Djukanovic's despotic powers and to scare some of the opposition's political actors currently gravitating to the DF from continuing a joint boycotting of the one-party parliament. It warrants restating that the boycotting of parliament is the result of the opposition parties refusing to accept the outcome of an election held under the threat of the «coup d’état» and in the atmosphere of a state of emergency. The opposition’s unity on this issue is indeed a thorn in Djukanovic's side because it clearly unmasks his «terrorist farce», renders impotent his one-party parliament, and delegitimizes any kind of government Djukanovic might hurriedly try to put together. That is why he has elevated his threats against the DF over the last few days, and «brought in» to his aid some of his old and well-known flankers from Brussels.

As the Third Act of this manufactured crisis continues to drag on creating further instability in Montenegro, the danger of Djukanovic's rhetoric and his attempts to demonize and criminalize his strongest political opponents (DF) threaten to spiral out of control and initiate a dangerous internal conflict.

Koca Pavlovic MP is the Vice-President of the ACRE member party Movement for Changes (PzP). The content of his opinion piece does not reflect the official opinion of the ACRE. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the opinion piece lies entirely with the author.