Podgorica, PR press service – The biggest problem in Montenegro, when it comes to the degree of democracy, exists in the areas of economy, political processes, rule of law and media, and the highest degree of democracy in Montenegrin society today we measure when it comes to national and religious minorities .
This was announced at the online conference on the state of democracy in Montenegro, which presented the results of “Democracy Index for the year 2020” survey, organized by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM), in cooperation with the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The report is available in Montenegrin and English.
Author of the Research and Chief Methodologist of CEDEM, prof. Dr. Miloš Bešić, stated that the research also analyzes the trend that covers the period from the acquisition of independence of Montenegro to the change of long-term government.
“The key chart shows the state of democracy for all key areas, namely politics, law, economy, education, media, minorities, women, and disability. And this data indicates that the measurement values range from 0.42 to 0.66. Today, we measure the highest degree of democracy in Montenegrin society when it comes to the attitude towards national and religious minorities at value of 0.66. That is all thanks to the positive trends that have taken place from 2009 until today “, stated Bešić.
The next area in which, as he said, the situation is quite solid is education, where the value is 0.58.
“In those two areas, we can be more or less satisfied when it comes to the state of democracy. When it comes to gender equality, the value is 0.50, and when it comes to people with disabilities, the value is 0.48. The biggest problems of the state of democracy in Montenegro are in the following areas: politics, law, media (0.43) and economy (0.42). So, when it comes to democracy in economic life in Montenegro, he had the biggest problem,” Bešić explained.
He said that regressive trends in the state of democracy in Montenegro have been present since 2012, but despite the pronounced negative trends in the last eight years, it can still be said that the level of democracy in Montenegro today is at a slightly higher level than that was the case thirteen years ago.
“When it comes to the state of democracy in Montenegro, we started from 0.47 in 2007. We had fluctuating values, but we made some progress in 2012 (0.52). “Since then, obviously bad things have happened in terms of democracy, and today we have a symbolic 0.02 index points more than in 2007 (0.49),” Bešić explained.
Director of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights, Milena Bešić, pointed out that the eighth anniversary of negotiations with the European Union warns that we currently have three temporarily closed chapters, and that the new methodology requires greater political will and determination of political actors to improve the implementation of the normative framework and implementation of the necessary reforms.
“Inefficient and bureaucratized institutions, nepotism, clientelism, corruption and irresponsibility are just some of the characteristics that are read in the reports of the European Commission and international organizations for Montenegro. The previous four years were marked by the absence of the expected reform of the election legislation, the boycott of the parliament by part of the opposition, civil protests, as well as the trial of two leaders of parties that were in opposition at that time. All this has resulted in a drop in citizens’ trust in institutions,” Bešić said.
She stressed the importance of affirming democracy as a fundamental value and characteristic of society, rather than as a means to achieve the desired goals of a policy.
“Our research confirms that the majority of citizens want to see Montenegro as a civic, democratic and western-oriented country, outside the influence of religious organizations,” Bešić said.
The Regional Director of the Hanns Seidel Foundation for Southeast Europe, Dr. Klaus Fiesinger, said that the basic pillars of democracy, such as political pluralism and the rule of law, are crucial for the stability of democracy, and that it is very important to follow through on what is happening at the arduous road of democratic consolidation and that this is precisely the task of CEDEM.
The President of the Parliament of Montenegro, Aleksa Bečić, MA, pointed out that the Parliament, as was already shown in the past few months, will give one of the most significant contributions to the development of democratic processes in the country.
“The best way to do it is to continue on the path the Parliament set out on, in strengthening its control and supervisory function, that is, in respecting its constitutional role. In that way, we will ensure the trust of the citizens in this, highest legislative and representative house, because without this trust there can be no talk of the legitimacy of institutions, and without legitimacy, it is almost impossible to talk about democracy, ” Bečić said.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dr. Dritan Abazović, believes that after 30th of August, there is no more political monopoly in Montenegro.
What the Government has determined as a priority is, as he said, to fulfill the obligations from the European agenda in the best possible way.
“We must start a resolute fight against corruption and organized crime. We need to show a greater degree of transparency of public institutions, we need to remove secrecy marks from documents that should not be secret. We need to enable the civil sector to be present and to provide expertise and support to various projects. We must realize the concept of Montenegro as an ecological state. We must liberate the institutions. This process is not about revanchism, but it is a call to responsibility,” Abazović pointed out.
He said that the new government’s main task is to protect the public interest in every segment, and to protect public finances and the state budget.
Member of the Parliament of Montenegro, Andrija Nikolić, said that there is no democratically mature society without a mature and responsible government, and likewise without the opposition that is the same.
“Montenegro finally got a mature and responsible opposition. And responsible politicians in the new government should break the practice of previous negative policies. The change of government that took place finally removed the mantra that the government in Montenegro has not changed for 30 years, and that this has further compromised its democratic image. Now we have a change of government, and we have had a responsible cohabitation by the current opposition, which means that Montenegrin society has, in a sense, consumed democracy,” Nikolić said.
He believes that the only political monopoly that should survive is the idea of a civil and European Montenegro.
Slaven Radunović, Member of the Parliament of Montenegro, said that a certain kind of democracy has finally entered Montenegro, although, in his opinion, it is still at the level of the most underdeveloped countries in Europe.
“And I would say that we are worse of than parts of Central Africa and South America, especially when it comes to the certain leftovers, when it comes to the prosecution and the judiciary, which do not date only from the time of Milo Đukanović and his regime. They have been here since 1945. Our judges and our prosecution see themselves as a service to the government. The individuals who do not succeed in a fight against this, cannot progress,” Radunović said.
Media Analyst, Duško Vuković, believes that if the media do not enable communication within one society, between individuals, social and interest groups, and institutions, things do not work and we cannot talk about democracy.
“Democracy is if we are succeeding in building a society. If we have political parties or institutions that are just an armature for establishing power, used for control over society, then we cannot talk about democracy. We lack society, and within that society we lack media that will establish a participatory model,” Vuković said.
He assessed that the research shows that Montenegro is seriously lagging behind when compared to the desirable model.
The Director of the Politikon network, Dr. Jovana Marović, pointed out that the responsibility for the state of democracy in Montenegro lies with both the government and the opposition.
“Of course, mostly for those that are in power, since the same political elite has been implementing reforms for 30 years and are the main cause of all the problems in Montenegro. On the opposition too, since it has not been able to and has not significantly helped the democratization of Montenegro,” said Marović.
She believes that it is a paradox that democracy has been declining since 2012, since Montenegro has been negotiating for EU membership since then.
“What is especially problematic is that the more complicated the issue on the agenda, the more closed the institutions are. Transparency has been improved, but there is always a way to keep that information protected,” Marović said.