CEMI - Centar za monitoring i istraživanje

Reaction of NGOs CeMI, 35mm, and the European Movement regarding the statement by the Mayor of Nikšić, Kovačević

16. Jun. 2024. in news

We express our deep concern that the recent statements by the Mayor of Nikšić may be part of a calculated effort to politically destabilize Montenegro and incite inter-ethnic tensions.

The Mayor’s assertion that the authorities will take measures against Montenegrins if they do not comply with the expectations of Kovačević and his political associates signals a potential escalation of Kovačević's party’s activities, aimed at fostering inter-ethnic and inter-religious discord in Montenegro.

This incident appears to be in line with previous statements from former Democratic Front parties, which have indicated a willingness to provoke conflict to hinder Montenegro's swift accession to the European Union. We view the proposed introduction of so-called dual citizenship and unconstitutional amendments to the Constitution in this context, as these measures aim to add hundreds of thousands of Vučić's supporters to Montenegro's voter register, thus facilitating a parliamentary majority for pro-Russian parties.

Pro-Russian parties, under significant influence from Vučić, are attempting to manipulate elections in Montenegro in a manner reminiscent of those in Serbia, particularly in major cities where victory is determined by voters imported from neighboring countries at Vučić's behest.

It is evident that such attempts to alter the electoral landscape in Montenegro would result in severe destabilization and could trigger widespread protests.

We call on all political parties, non-governmental organizations, and religious communities to condemn hate speech and the efforts by pro-Russian parties to politically destabilize Montenegro and impede its rapid accession to the EU. A strong, unified response from Montenegrin citizens is crucial to reject the persecution of individuals from other national and religious groups, a practice being enabled by certain elements within the government.

We must prevent the efforts of pro-Russian and pro-Serbian parties, acting on Vučić's directives, to obstruct Montenegro’s accelerated path to EU membership.

We demand an immediate apology from Kovačević, followed by his resignation from the position of Mayor of Nikšić.

We urge the State Prosecutor's Office to act swiftly and initiate proceedings against the Mayor of Nikšić and any others engaging in similar conduct.

We also call on Kovačević's coalition partners in Nikšić to withdraw their support if he does not resign within 48 hours.