PODGORICA – NATO accession is a historic moment for Montenegro, Parliament Speaker Ivan Brajovic said in an interview with Dnevne Novine newspaper, CdM reports.
Commenting on the opposition’s boycott of Parliament, he said it would inevitably affect voters’ support to them.
Brajovic said that no party which advocates for the referendum on NATO used the constitutional mechanisms and launched an initiative for its holding.
DN: Your scheduled the Parliament sitting at which MPs will vote on Montenegro’s accession to NATO for Friday, 28 April. Do you expect the opposition to return to the Parliament for the voting?
Brajovic: NATO accession is a historic moment for Montenegro and I have no doubts that this is the right path for our country. Generation of politicians I belong to has assumed the responsibility to achieve three major goals. The first one was achieved when the state’s independence was restored. The second is full membership in NATO, which means long-term stability of the country and contributing to stability in the Western Balkans. The third goal is focused both on the internal situation of our country and on foreign policy – that is the membership of Montenegro in the European Union. I expect the parties the agenda of which contain membership in NATO as a clear goal will confirm that in the Parliament on the day of voting on this extremely important issue for the future of Montenegro. We know that part of the opposition does not have a positive attitude towards this issue, but I think that they are obliged to present all their arguments exclusively in the Parliament. The upcoming political events will be a clear sign and a measure of political responsibility.
DN: What do you think about the part of the opposition’s insistence on a referendum on this issue?
Brajovic: The Parliament of Montenegro has full capacity and legitimacy to make that decision, because the people de facto declared whether they are for NATO or not when they voted in the elections for parties that, among other things, presented their views on this matter. In any case, I expect that the absolute majority of MPs would vote for joining NATO.
I remind you that only two NATO member states conducted referendum on NATO, which was legal and constitutional obligation there.
When it comes to the part of the opposition’s insistence on a referendum, let me remind you that no political party that advocates holding the referendum used the constitutional mechanisms and launched the initiative.
DN: Will Montenegro be officially 29th NATO member state at the Summit in May?
Brajovic: Essentially, Montenegro is a member already. Let me remind you that Montenegro already participates in all meetings of NATO. It is not essential whether the ceremonial part of Montenegro’s accession to NATO will be completed by 25 May or couple of weeks later. At the upcoming NATO Summit, Montenegro will certainly be in a place that belongs to it.
DN: Is there a possibility to sanction or somehow punish opposition MPs’ for boycotting the Parliament?
Brajovic: It is important to recall the sequence of events before the boycott started. Part of the opposition participated in the government of electoral trust, which prepared the October elections. They signed all polling board reports, tried to form a majority, and when they failed, then started the boycott. We had an affirmative OSCE/ODIHR report, with the minimum recommendations for improving the electoral process. There were also a variety of inconsistencies at the local level, where they consider elections (ir)regular depending on the results they achieved.
They formed caucuses and undertook activities taking advantages of the MP status privileges, but do not perform parliamentary duties. As many revolted citizens would say, they receive a salary, but do not go to work. For the time being, they have been denied funding trips abroad and housing allowances from the Parliament’s budget.
When you have all these facts on the one hand and absolutely non-participation in the work of the Parliament on the other, I am convinced that it is perfectly clear to the citizens what this is about. This will inevitably affect the voters’ support, because precisely in their interests MPs should act and propose solutions in the Parliament.