Dirty election campaign in Budva, despite promises: Primitivism rages on social networks

Until recently, political allies from the former Democratic Front, godfathers, friends and schoolmates, comrades in the fight against DPS, whom they blamed for years of discrediting, belittling on a personal and family level, are now doing the same to each other...

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Budva (illustration), Photo: Shutterstock
Budva (illustration), Photo: Shutterstock
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Just a day before the start of handing in electoral lists for the upcoming extraordinary local elections, scheduled for May 26, Budva is shaken by one of the most primitive political campaigns raging on social networks.

Until recently, political comrades from the former Democratic Front, which experienced a complete disintegration in Budva, godfathers, friends and schoolmates, comrades in the fight against the DPS, whom they blamed for long-term discrediting, belittling on a personal and family level, accused them of using fake profiles on social networks and dubious portals they attack in the most mundane way, now they do the same to each other, it seems in a much more unscrupulous way.

Instead of talking about how they will get Budva out of the deep crisis in which it found itself due to the one and a half year rule of the now detained Municipal President Milo Božović, as they intend to solve the problem of dysfunctional and overly cumbersome municipal administration, implement promised projects and prepare the capital of tourism for the season, bot columns are engaged exclusively in discrediting political leaders.

And while their mouths were full of Europe, equality, a cosmopolitan attitude, which they proclaimed during the failed campaign to make Budva the European Capital of Culture, now their comrades with whom, led by Božović, overwhelmingly won the last local elections, in the grassroots campaign orientation, trying to take over as many votes as possible in the pro-Serbian electorate.

Accusations of yesterday's comrades

Holder of the list "For the future of Budva - Budva open city" Mladen Mikijelj which brought together a broad coalition, former members of the Democratic Front - the New Serbian Democracy, the Movement for Change and the Democratic People's Party, and won over the Socialist People's Party, as well as United Montenegro, Prava Crna Gora, Slobodna Crna Gora and DEMOS, for "Vijesti" states that we are witnessing a primitive campaign, alluding that it is being done by the opposite faction - Citizens' Group "Budva naš grad" led by the current president of the Municipal Assembly Nikola Jovanovic.

"A primitive campaign of insulting our prominent members and colleagues from the political scene has started, which everyone in the city knows from which kitchen it comes and who can engage in such heinous attacks. The hopes of certain interest groups that they could be part of the local government were dashed after the formation of the strongest political bloc, Za budućnost Budva - Budva open city, which consists of all convinced anti-DPS parties... Who will not be in power after the elections is already clear to the people of Budva. DPS and SDP are the opposition and will remain so and with whom we will not make any agreements. On what and on which partners DPS and SDP base their enthusiasm, the citizens can easily conclude and gather who is their only possible ally after the elections in order to regain power", Mikijelj pointed out for "Vijesti".

Famous cuisine: Mikijelj
Famous cuisine: Mikijeljphoto: BORIS PEJOVIC

Jovanović, on the other hand, states that the campaign is being conducted against him because of his place of birth, and that, in his opinion, this is a kind of message to all citizens of Budva who are originally from the north that one of their basic human rights is threatened - that in public discourse we are labeled as citizens of the second order.

He states that "the Budva elections have once again earned the importance of state elections, which is why the party headquarters are very interested in their outcome."

"They are especially important for the political entities that make up the state government, and it is noticeable that the stakes are high for them, because the result of the local elections will show the trend at the state level. The accompanying phenomenon in this situation is inevitable, the so-called a 'dirty campaign' in which they will try to discredit political opponents. In the last year, it is noticeable that exactly such a campaign is being conducted against our political option and against me personally, especially pointing to segregation based on place of birth. I think that discrimination of this kind has never been carried out to the extent that because I am originally from the north of Montenegro, i.e. a native of Mojkovci who lives and works in Budva, I should not stand for election and be elected to one of the important positions." .

Jovanović stated that he did not notice that any of the competent institutions reacted, nor did he point out the danger of such political thinking in the 21st century.

The stake is high for the subjects of the state government: Jovanović
The stake is high for the subjects of the state government: Jovanovićphoto: Budva, our city

"As a rule, dirty campaigning is carried out by those who have resources, namely political parties from the state level, whose payroll includes various influencers that they employ in state enterprises, who receive salaries at those positions, do not show up for work, and their only responsibility is to slander the competition through social networks. Very often, those who start a campaign with the words that they will conduct it in a decent and fair way are the ones who have prepared in advance the artillery of bots and fake profiles on social networks. Their task is also to produce a flood of comments on texts on portals, creating the illusion of great support. For political insiders, such occurrences are comical and without impact. I have no doubt that these elections will also have a component of a dirty campaign, which is why I want to tell the citizens not to pay attention to the fictions and frustrations of political actors, but to wisely and thoroughly analyze all the participants, and to show their trust in those who have proven themselves to manage the city by leading with general and not personal interest. There are no strangers in Budva, which is why I am sure that the dirty campaign will have no effect because reason will prevail over political pranks".

Mikijelj warns that despite the public address that certain groups will lead a positive campaign, "we see that the shameless campaign that started last year is being conducted again with reactivated old accounts on social networks".

"The same people are being targeted and it's the same corny and false narrative. Their intention is to personally discredit individuals by throwing insults at them, which is the lowest level of political communication and the lowest level of human behavior in general, for any decent and normal person".

Mikijelj assessed that they know who is standing from the accounts on social networks, and that panic has arisen in the court and that there is nothing in the way of a decent way of fighting to achieve political goals.

"The campaign hasn't even started, and some are already showing their true colors, which the citizens will be able to recognize. Already at the beginning of the campaign, it can be seen that there is nothing from a civil approach. Posts on networks full of hate, personal and homophobic statements not only have nothing civil in them, but are also disgusting. Civic talk is a ruse, if the support of a part of the citizens for the personal project of individuals in order to be in power would not be obtained... List for the future of Budva - Budva the open city will have a decent and open campaign aimed at all citizens, regardless of their national, religious or any other affiliation and personal property. Our activists are dedicated to the fight for a more beautiful, better and decent Budva. We will not offend anyone, but we will offer and present our program and what we can do for Budva and its citizens so that it becomes a better place to live and a safe harbor for business activities".

The Europe Movement did not respond to "Vijesta" when asked to comment on the sloppy campaign being conducted on social networks.

Radović: Democrats will not get into the mud

Leader of Budva Democrats Krsto Radović, whose party will run independently in the elections, recalls that it was at the last session of the SO Budva, when the mandate was shortened, that he appealed to all political subjects to conduct political dialogue in a decent and dignified manner, with mutual respect and in the interest of the citizens.

"To avoid what may be the consequences of the opposite treatment. We have witnessed that this is not the case at the very beginning of the campaign. Let's remember all the subterfuges and constructions that were aimed at the Democratic Republic of Montenegro and its officials in the past, through various portals and through social networks, and the fact that they came from a political entity that fell apart and whose divided factions are now publicly shaming each other. It is clear that these are deep-rooted patterns of behavior that we must break away from in the future. The representatives of these three political groups, which are now attacking each other most brutally, until yesterday were part of one political corps, the closest collaborators of Milo Božović, constituted absolute power and led us to absolute ruin. Democratic Montenegro will not wallow in that mud, nor will it take sides".

Radovicphoto: Vuk Lajović

He points out that their policy, principles and program presented in the campaign will be clear, rational and concrete, aimed at the interests of the citizens.

"Our campaign will be polite and positive, affirming the culture of dialogue and mutual respect, and we will not deviate from that course. A high-quality pre-election program and, just as importantly, a team of responsible, community-recognized and reliable people who make up the list, are the foundation of the changes and progress that we will bring to Budva together with our citizens, because it deserves and rightfully expects it. Once again, I appeal to all political subjects to lower tensions, to stop insulting and belittling each other on any basis".

Tičić: Negative campaign Budva recognition

Leader of Budva DPS Milan Tičić points out that the negative campaign has become a hallmark of the Budva election processes.

Tičićphoto: DPS

"Everything started back in 2016 and has been going on since then until today. What is also characteristic of Budva is the fact that - unlike other municipalities, the negative campaign in our country continues continuously even between election cycles. As far as DPS is concerned, we have never and will not participate in it. We will run a dignified and clean campaign, point out the failures of the previous administration, but also present our vision of the city. We believe that it is time for Budva to move on and get out of the political mire it has fallen into".

Rađenović: Report all pressures from former DF and PES activists

Blazo Radjenovic, the holder of the GP URA list, which operates under the slogan "Drugacije", called on citizens to report any abuse or pressure that, as he claims, is carried out by activists of the former DF and PES.

Radjenovicphoto: Civil movement URA

"Despite the fact that today all local secretariats, municipal companies and generally representatives of local self-government should be at the service of citizens, as well as working on final works in preparation for the summer tourist season, we are witnessing an unprecedented and most down-to-earth showdown on social networks between the former government , the pressure of their officials towards employees who are contractors, blackmail and a dirty campaign that goes beyond any measure. The citizens of Budva will not succumb to pressure, they want and deserve a different and responsible executive power, which will make decisions in Budva listening to its citizens, not Milojko Spajić and Andrija Mandić. We invite the citizens of Budva to report to the police or to us any abuse or pressure carried out by the activists of the former DF and PES according to the principle that DPS used to do".

Odžić: The citizens are deeply divided

Holder of the SDP list Petar Odžić, who will participate in the elections in a coalition with civil parties and individuals, says that he will lead a positive campaign:

Odzicphoto: Vuk Lajović

"We will not participate in raising pre-election tensions. The citizens of Budva have had deep quarrels in recent years, the political climate through negative actions has further damaged relations between relatives, godparents and friends. It is time to turn to the citizens, that politics and personal disagreements should not be the primary way of acting for political subjects, but that we should all give this city the best we have. Budva must show that it can do better and smarter, Budva must be a priority for all of us, in order to return to it the title of the metropolis of Montenegrin tourism, which I fear is being eroded year after year".

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