New trade in Šavnik, ball near Milatović

The government acted in this way in order to find a solution to the newly created situation, a government interlocutor told "Vijesta". Both the Prosecutor's Office and the Government should ask themselves why the Savnik case has not been brought to an end, said Milatović and announced that today he will make a decision on whether to call elections in that municipality.

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On the move: Milatović, Photo: BORIS PEJOVIC
On the move: Milatović, Photo: BORIS PEJOVIC
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Yesterday, the official gazette published the Government's decision on the dissolution of the Šavnik Municipal Assembly and the introduction of forced administration, so now the president is on the move again Jakov Milatovic, who would have to call local elections today or explain why he won't do it.

In an interview with TVCG last night, Milatović said that today he will decide with the legal team in relation to that decision.

On Thursday, the government dissolved the Šavnica parliament and appointed a committee of commissioners to replace it, but the same day in the evening, the councilors of the ruling coalition voted to shorten the mandate in an electronic session of the local assembly, trying to avoid the introduction of forced administration.

The government, however, unexpectedly "withdrew that decision from the publication procedure in the Official Gazette" on Friday. As it was unofficially explained to "Vijesta" at the time, this was done because the decision of SO Šavnik to shorten the mandate came into force on the day it was passed, while the Government's decision was supposed to come into force on the day it was published in the Official Gazette. "The decision in question was withdrawn in order not to publish two legal acts that regulate the same issue in different ways," announced the General Secretariat of the Government.

However, as of yesterday, both of these legal acts were published, entered into force and produce different legal effects.

After the Government's decision to withdraw from the procedure its decision of March 28, the option of introducing forced administration was out of the question, and the decision of the councilors of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and the Social Democrats (SD) to dissolve the parliament remained valid, which could lead calling for new elections.

Then the head of state Milatović spoke, announcing that the Decision on the shortening of the mandate of the SO Savnik does not provide a legally valid basis to call elections. In the announcement, he pointed out that the Šavnik parliament "shortened the mandate of councilors", while the Law on Local Self-Government defined "shortening the mandate of the assembly", as well as that "the mandate of the current convocation of the Šavnik Municipal Council expired in 2022, and that in the specific situation it is not possible to apply institute of shortening the mandate of the municipal assembly".

He appealed to the competent institutions to take "all necessary measures and actions so that the election process in Šavnik, which has already started, will finally end, and this municipality will cease to be a hostage to political fights".

"Since the president interpreted the decision of the Śavnica parliament as illegal, the Government acted in this way in order to find a solution to the newly created situation," said an interlocutor from the Government to "Vijesta".

According to the law, the President of Montenegro calls for elections on the day following the entry into force of the decision on the dissolution or shortening of the mandate of the municipal assembly.

President of the Municipality of Savnik Jugoslav Jakić he told "Vijesti" that "it must be an April Fool's joke", because he does not know how else to interpret it.

Jakic
Jakicphoto: Svetlana Mandić

Secretary General of DPS Aleksandar Bogdanović he asked if there was anyone serious in the government.

"Is there anyone serious in this Government, or is its purpose only to serve the Democratic Front, even when they enter into complete lawlessness?" Bogdanović wrote on the X network.

Before making the decision to dissolve SO Savnik, the government warned the local parliament and gave it a deadline to fulfill the legally established obligations related to making the decision to repeat the voting at polling stations 1 and 14 and to make the Strategic Development Plan of the municipality.

In the explanation of the Government's decision, it is stated, among other things, that by taking measures to dismiss and appoint the MEC, the goal was not achieved, that is, the MEC did not follow the decisions of the State Election Commission, which ordered the adoption of a decision on repeating voting at polling stations 1 and 14.

The government believes that in Šavnik they did not complete the procedures in accordance with the law when it comes to the adoption of the Strategic Development Plan of the municipality and did not submit it to the Ministry of Economic Development for approval.

Local elections in Savnik began, as in 13 other Montenegrin municipalities, on October 23, 2022. And while in other municipalities they have been completed and the government has been constituted, the election process in Šavnik is still formally ongoing. The members of the polling committees from the coalition Za budućnost Šavnik did not allow "election tourists" to vote, so at two polling stations, where 541 voters were registered, voting took place every weekend until December 18, 2022, when after nine election rounds everything stopped.

According to the results of the elections in Šavnik so far, the opposition coalitions have 121 votes more than the ruling alliance of DPS and Social Democrats (SD). The government in Šavnik is still held by the councilors of the old convocation and the mayor Jakić (DPS).

Before the publication of the Government's decision in the Official Gazette, the President of the State Election Commission Nikola Mugoša he said yesterday that the election process in Savnik is still ongoing because the elections have not been completed in the remaining two polling stations.

"For the SEC, nothing has changed in the meantime, compared to the period when the SEC ordered the Šavnik Municipal Council to make a decision on repeating the elections at two polling stations," Mugoša told "Vijesta".

Mugosha
Mugoshaphoto: Boris Pejović

The SEC continues to act on objections every week and orders the Šavnik Municipal Election Commission to make a decision on repeating the elections at polling stations 1 (Municipal Assembly building) and 14 (Kruševice village). That's more than 60 decisions so far. However, at the meeting of the MEC, there was no majority to make a decision.

Also before the announcement of the decision, the holder of the list "For the future of Šavnik" Gavrilo Cerović he said yesterday that those with "electricity and water bills" from that municipality will be able to vote in Savnik.

"Everyone who has electricity and water bills to pay in Šavnik can vote. "The whole of Montenegro knows who lives in Savnik and who doesn't," Cerović told "Vijesta" earlier yesterday, answering the question of whether he would allow everyone who comes to vote in a possibly repeated vote.

Milatović assessed last night that "the government should ask itself, the prosecution should ask itself why the case (Savnik) has not been brought to an end", asking who guarantees that the scenario of failed elections will not be repeated even after new elections are called.

President of MEC Šavnik Dusan Radanović yesterday he did not respond to the calls of "Vijesti", nor to the question regarding the new voting in two polling stations.

Nikola Mugoša reminds that a new Municipal Election Commission was appointed in Šavnik, partially composed of new members.

"In the meantime, no objections have been sent to the SEC regarding the actions of the newly elected MEC Šavnik. The competences of the SEC in this procedure are known to the public, that is, the SEC does not have a legally founded possibility to take over the competence from the MEC Šavnik since it is about local elections", he explained.

Due to the elections in Savnik, the police administration filed criminal charges against 37 people, "election tourists", due to suspicion that they from other Montenegrin municipalities falsely registered their residence in the municipality of Savnik in preparation for the local elections. The Basic State Prosecutor's Office in Pljevlja filed 30 cases against 38 persons for crimes against electoral rights. In July of last year, the first legally binding court verdict arrived from the Basic Court in Žabljak, ordering two people to pay a fine of 600 euros each.

Parliamentary Committee to deal with Šavnik

Nikola Mugoša reminded that a session of the Committee for Comprehensive Electoral Reform was scheduled for today, whose members mentioned the possibility of the Šavnik issue being the first to be dealt with by the Committee so as not to burden the further work and actions of the Committee.

"We will see from the dynamics of the work and how the tasks of the Board will be defined when and how this issue will be treated," said Mugoša.

Selection lists cannot be changed

On the eve of the elections in Šavnik in October 2022, the MEC established a collective electoral list, on which there are three coalitions - the "Let's go people" coalition made up of the Democrats, United Montenegro and the Europe Now Movement, then the "Real Thing" coalition made up of DPS and SD and coalition "For the future of Šavnik" consisting of the Socialist People's Party, the New Serbian Democracy and the Democratic People's Party.

No other lists can participate in repeated elections at two polling stations.

"Electoral lists cannot be changed to conduct re-elections", Article 103 of the Law on the Election of Members of Parliament and Councilors states.

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