The opposition in Šavnik welcomes the arrival of the forced administration, the authorities say that the trustees are not welcome

"We are sure that the forced administration will not knock on our door, because we are sure that after all these statements of the president of the state, as well as experts in the field of law, the government will make the right decision, as it did last Friday, and withdraw the decision to introduce forced administration and that the elections in these two places will end," said Jelena Todorović (DPS)

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Šavnik, Photo: Svetlana Mandić
Šavnik, Photo: Svetlana Mandić
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Šavnica's "electoral revolution" is still going on.

And while the opposition did not allow the election story that began on October 23, 2022 to end due to, as they constantly pointed out, 'election tourists' brought, according to them, from the ruling DPS/SD coalition, this time the Democratic Party of Socialists will not allow for the board of trustees to "take over".

Two days ago, the government announced in the Official Gazette of Montenegro the decision to introduce compulsory administration, and the president of the state, Jakov Milatović, for the second time in the last five days, did not make a decision to call new elections in the mentioned municipality.

Some welcome the President's position, others the Government's decision

"We are sure that the forced administration will not knock on our door, because we are sure that after all these statements of the president of the state, as well as experts in the field of law, the government will make the right decision, as it did last Friday, and withdraw the decision to introduce compulsory administration and that the elections in these two places will be completed. If it happens that the commissioners come, we will not allow an illegal and forceful takeover of power in Šavnik. We will see what our next steps will be, but I am sure that the Government will not be so harsh to violate the Constitution and the law," said Jelena Todorović from the municipal board of DPS, noting that the municipal assembly fulfilled all the requirements that the government and the relevant ministry asked of them.

Todorovic
Todorovicphoto: Svetlana Mandić

She recalled what happened during the nine election rounds, to the 120 objections that the Municipal Election Commission (MEC) sent to the State Election Commission (SEC), and the State Election Commission (SEC) issued the same number of decisions on announcing the continuation of elections in two places, in the Municipality building and in the village. Kruševice.

"All this was later transferred to the Government, which tried to take power by force. At the beginning, they tried to change the Law on the Voter List, later the Law on Local Self-Government. As they failed to do so, they decided on the worst possible legal maneuver - to introduce forced administration," said Todorović, who is on the electoral list of the DPS.

According to her, the situation when supporters of the opposition entered the hall of the Municipal Assembly in order to prevent the holding of the session, is a bad example for the whole of Montenegro.

"We are in a situation where we ask ourselves whether tomorrow, as citizens, if we do not like a law that needs to be passed in the state parliament, we can enter, sit in the parliament and make it impossible for that law to be adopted. elections happened in another country, would we wait a year and a half for the institutions to react", said Todorović and added that we are a country that aspires to join the EU, and cannot hold elections in a city of two thousand inhabitants.

As pointed out by the future councilor, who will never take her councilor seat because the elections in that municipality have not been completed even after a year and a half, the entire process was failed by institutions that did not do their job, because if it had not been for that, the election story in Šavnik would have was finished a long time ago.

"It is necessary to reform the electoral legislation, where it will be clearly emphasized that if the Municipal Electoral Commission does not exercise its competences, then the State Electoral Commission can take over those competences," said Todorović.

To the question of what will happen if the president of the country calls for new elections in Savnik, Todorović answered briefly: "I don't think the president will trample on the Constitution and the law because it is not in his favor either. And if that happens - then we will go to the elections."

New elections are exactly what the opposition in Šavnica is expecting. But, as they said, only after arranging the voter list. As far as they are concerned, enforcement is more than welcome.

"We think that forced administration is the only correct solution. That the government finally realized that it has to react in Šavik and that it has to get out of this situation. It is the only possible correct solution that can resolve this vicious cycle and we welcome forced administration with great hope. We also hope that the institutions of the system will start solving these problems," said Milorad Lako Vilotijević, who, like Jelena Todorović, is waiting to take a seat in the council benches, but from the coalition For the Future of Šavnik.

Vilotijević
Vilotijevićphoto: Svetlana Mandić

He believes that it is "crazy" to continue elections after a year and a half, it is already necessary to call for new ones, and that all of this, if, as he said, "the voter list is purified", can be completed in three to four months. There is no end in sight with the existing voter list, because: "We will behave, as we have done so far, and we will allow every Šavnik resident to vote, and those who are not from Šavnik simply have nothing to look for here and cannot determine our fate. No we ask no less, no more, than in other municipalities. We only ask that the people of Šavnica decide their own destiny. Whoever wins, good luck to him".

And Momčilo Krsmanović from Democratic Montenegro, who, unlike the two of them, has already tried his hand as a councilor and is now waiting to "certify this function once again", welcomes the Government's decision to introduce forced administration.

Krsmanović
Krsmanovićphoto: Svetlana Mandić

"The right decision. I expect the forced administration to resolve this situation, and not to pass the ball from the Government to the President of the State".

Everything is pending - from lists, elections, to investments

In Šavnik, Vilotijević claims, due to the unfinished elections, everything is on hold, and capital investments are also pending, while, according to him, the illegitimate Assembly of Šavnik, whose mandate ended in June 2022, extended its mandate, passed two budgets and shortened the mandate of those in charge.

"All the people of Šavnik are hostages of this, I dare say, dirty game of bringing in voters from outside and changing the will of the citizens. Šavnik is a very small municipality and 40 to 50 voters make up one council mandate. With the engineering carried out by the Democratic Party of Socialists, at least five they rewrote up to seven councilor mandates. Find me, a normal citizen or any municipality in Montenegro, that would allow such a thing to be done," said, as he hopes, the future councilor of the coalition Za budujęć Šavnik.

He called on Minister Danilo Šaranović to "sort out the voter's list" and, as he said, "remove from it everyone who has nothing to do with Šavnik".

And for Krsmanović, the only correct solution is for the president to call new elections. It is possible, as he said, to continue the election, but only with a refined voter list.

"I call on all state institutions to solve the problem of the municipality of Šavnik. A lot of time has passed since the beginning of the elections, and in the meantime, from the local to the parliamentary elections, over 150 voters have deregistered and the entire structure of the electorate has changed. The citizens of the municipality of Šavnik will not allow it, and they have the support of Democratic Montenegro and us former councilors, that the elections be held with an unclean list and that someone else decides our fate".

Jelena Todorović does not agree with the statement of colleagues from the opposition.

"They attribute to us that we did electoral engineering and, as they would say, brought election tourists. I will cite the example of my village Malinska, where the number of voters increased by 20 compared to the number of permanent voters. The number of voters also increased by the same number votes that go in favor of the coalition For the Future of Šavnik. I think it is clear that this electoral engineering started on their side".

Koprivica: There is a reason for the Constitutional Court to annul the elections in Savnik

The executive director of the Center for Democratic Transition (CDT), Dragan Koprivica, in Boje jutra on TV Vijesti, assessed that there is a reason for the Constitutional Court, based on a possible complaint from political parties, to annul the election process in Šavnik in its entirety, and not just for two polling stations.

"There is a legal basis for that in our legislation. We think that there would be a reason for the Constitutional Court to take this seriously, and we think that this electoral process does not actually enable the full realization of citizens' electoral rights," said Koprivica.

According to him, another possible solution is for the Municipal Electoral Commission to announce elections in two electoral places, but it is hard to believe that this will happen.

"The basic principle of elections is urgency. We don't have to explain that urgency is not for a year and a half. That makes the election process completely meaningless and that's one fact we certainly have. Secondly, people in Šavnik 2022 declared about some programs, some parties... Now the political scene is totally the opposite. Look at the parliament then and now and you will see that the distribution of forces is absolutely different...Citizens do not know what to vote for," said Koprivica.

According to him, the Constitutional Court, "in certain moments when the system has fallen", must take responsibility "to return everything to legality in relation to what the politicians are offering us".

"Here, it is also possible that, since the voter's list in Šavnik is closed, a thousand people can now be transferred to Andrijevica and be registered in two places, and formally and legally vote in two elections. This is absolutely not allowed," noted Koprivica.

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