Montenegro’s Ethnic Minority Parties Refuse to Join New Government

The new Montenegrin government could be the first administration in more than two decades to have no ethnic minority representatives after minority parties rejected invitations to cooperate from the incoming governing coalition.
The leader of the ethnic Albanian alliance The Time is Now, Nik Gjeloshaj, said on Tuesday that it will not be part of the new administration and claimed that the call for minorities to join the government was not sincere.
“After the elections, we said let’s sit down and talk as we respect democratic procedures. The principle in developed democracies is that minorities are part of the government. We wanted to see if the invitation was sincere or a formality,” Gjeloshaj told public broadcaster RTCG.
On November 5, Prime Minister designate Zdravko Krivokapic presented his cabinet of 12 ‘expert’ ministers, stressing that his chosen government is made up of professionals who can act as a team. So far his government has the support of three opposition blocs who won parliamentary elections on August 30.
Of the ethnic minority parties, the ethnic Albanian coalitions The Time is Now and Unanimously have one seat each in the 81-seat legislature while the Bosniak Party has three.
On October 18, the leader of Bosniak Party, Rafet Husovic, said there was political disagreement with some pro-Serb parties in the incoming governing coalition. Some of the pro-Serb parties, like the Democratic Front, have made nationalist statements in the past that have worried the ethnic Albanian and Bosniak minorities.
The head of Civil Alliance NGO, Boris Raonic, warned that it was a problem that there are no minority representatives in the new government.
“This means minorities will be excluded from decision-making at the state level. The PM-designate didn’t do enough to conceive ethnic minority parties to enter the government,” Raonic told BIRN.
Ethnic minority parties were traditional allies of the Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, and were part of every government it led over the past two decades before it was defeated at this year’s elections.
Ethnic minority representatives first joined the Montenegrin government in 1998, when the Democratic Union of Albanians’ representative, Luigj Juncaj, was appointed minister for human and minority rights.
Since 2009 the Bosniak Party has had representatives in government, while the Croatian Civic Initiative joined the government in 2012.
In the government that was in power until the recent elections, the deputy prime minister and two ministers were from the Bosniak Party, the minister for human and minority rights was from the Albanian coalition, while the Croatian Civic Initiative had a minister without portfolio.