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HomeBalkansMontenegro Mulls Moving Presidential Inauguration Amid Protest Fears

Montenegro Mulls Moving Presidential Inauguration Amid Protest Fears

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Montenegrin Interior Minister Filip Adzic said that new president Jakov Milatovic should not be inaugurated in the old royal capital Cetinje, as is traditional, because of security fears about possible opposition protests.

Montenegrin Interior Minister Filip Adzic warned on Tuesday that opposition protests could be organised in Cetinje during the inauguration of president Jakov Milatovic on May 20 and said that the ceremony should be held in the capital Podgorica instead.

“A significant number of citizens in Cetinje do not approve of Milatovic’s politics so he could have inconveniences during the inauguration,” Adzic told a parliamentary defence and security committee hearing.

“The state would guarantee his safety, but it is our duty to avoid conflicts. It’s not a weakness of the state,” he added.

He also said that Milatovic has already decided he wants to be inaugurated in Podgorica, “but if he wants a ceremony in Cetinje, the police will enable it”.

Europe Now movement candidate Jakov Milatovic won the presidential election run-off on April 2 by a large margin, ousting the Democratic Party of Socialists’ veteran leader Milo Djukanovic.

Milatovic was minister of economic development in the so-called expert government that was formed after the Democratic Party of Socialists’ defeat in the August 2020 parliamentary elections.

Before the run-off, a group of pro-Montenegrin organisations’ supporters attacked Milatovic on March 17, trying to prevent him from attending an electoral convention in Cetinje.

Milan Knezevic, one of the leaders of the Democratic Front, which is part of the ruling alliance, said that the authorities should be able to provide security to state officials in every town in Montenegro.

“After the earlier protests in Cetinje, Montenegro will win the Eurovision Song Contest sooner than it will inaugurate the president in the old royal capital. But we must be aware that those protesters are not a majority in Cetinje,” Knezevic said.

According to the constitution, the state president’s ceremonial inauguration must take place at a parliamentary session, which has previously been held in the old royal capital. The official residence of the president is also in Cetinje.

On April 15, Milatovic said that authorities will decide on the location for the inauguration ceremony after security assessments.

“The constitution, as well as the Law on the President, stipulate that the president takes the oath before members of parliament. In this and every other situation while I am president, I will also respect the assessments and decisions of the relevant authorities,” Milatovic told public broadcaster RTCG.

Media reported that pro-Montenegrin organisations could hold protests during the ceremony in Cetinje.

There was a violent protest in Cetinje last September when opposition supporters and self-styled Montenegrin patriotic groups clashed with police while trying to stop the enthronement of Serbian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Joanikije, which the protesters claimed was an insult to their country’s struggle for sovereignty.

Police had to remove roadblocks erected near Cetinje that were designed to stop clerics from reaching the town for the ceremony, while the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Porfirije and the Metropolitan Joanikije were transported to Cetinje monastery by army helicopter and then protected with bulletproof shields.

Montenegro is a multi-ethnic society split between those who consider themselves Montenegrins, those who identify as Serbs and various other smaller groups.

Source: Balkan Insight

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