BRUSSELS / PODGORICA – Following the unsuccessful talks to agree terms for a Government of Electoral Trust on Friday 19th February, I was approached by journalists for my opinion and responded with the following:
“It is disappointing that an agreement has not materialised at this stage. I understand that the Government had agreed to provide positons in 6 ministries for opposition members, in addition to a role for opposition parties in overseeing the work of 15 government bodies and 6 business entities of which the state has a majority stake in, positions which do not seem insubstantial. It appears that one area of contention has concerned oversight of the editorial policy of the independent broadcaster. I would be clear in stating that an independent broadcaster should be exactly that, independent, and oversight from any political party would be a cause for concern. I wait to see what the next proposals are but this process must remain Montenegrin led.”
Subsequent reports have claimed that I expressed a view that the opposition’s demands were unacceptable and placed excessive emphasis on the oversight of the RTCG. I think it is clear from my comments above that this is not my opinion, and that such claims must be due to imprecise translation of my original statement.
I would like to highlight from my initial comments that this process must remain Montenegrin led. I am confident that the political parties will reach a settlement that allows for elections to take place later this year that are free and fair, acceptable to all, and in a manner that bears testament to Montenegro’s maturing democracy and strengthening institutions.