Thursday, February 12, 2009
Coalition Politics: Can Albanians Unite?
February 12, 2009: Montenegro's parliamentary election, which could pave the way for the country's drive for European Union membership, will be held on March 29.
The proposal to shorten the parliament's term was supported by representatives of the ruling coalition, which consists of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), while deputies of some centrist opposition parties abstained and deputies of the pro-Serb bloc voted against. Opposition parties said the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic wanted to secure re-election before the impact of the global financial crisis struck Montenegro.
The Albanian political parties, on the other hand, are faced with a unique challenge that may solve the long standing cleavages between them, that in the past led to severed votes and poor turnout. Several party leaders have proposed a united front, where all the major Albanian parties would unite and form a coalition block that could possibly secure more seats for them in parliament.
President of the Albanian Alternative Party, Vaselj Sinishtaj said that he expected all five Albanian parties to form a coalition for the upcoming election, and in the process of uniting the parties, there is a good chance that a “single political organization” will be conceived down the road.
“Bearing in mind the number of Albanians who live here, one party would be a very good thing in every aspect of life and work in favor of our genuine needs; do not expect such changes to happen overnight, or even before the elections, but for the next few years it will appear as a real need, and therefore the move towards realizing this need requires action now,” Sinishtaj told the daily newspaper Dan.
He went on to point out that Democratic Union of Albanians (DUA) leader, Ferhat Dinosha, should change his policies and join this coalition, which would for the first time in recent memory create a force in Albanian party politics. Dinosha has long been an ally with the ruling DPS and has consistently voted along their party lines in almost all legislative policies. As a consequence, Dinosha has continuously been criticized by Albanians for not respecting their best interests, where in the past has even blocked major legislation sealing the fate of Albanians’ sociopolitical lives.
Leader of the Democratic League in Montenegro, Mehmet Bardhi, entertained the possibility of Albanians taking four seats in parliament. “This is certainly feasible,” Bardhi asserted, “but if we take three, it would also be a great accomplishment.”
Sinishtaj claims that through the DUA’s influence in the Malesia region, the DPS machinery is likely take at least one of those seats, and will therefore be a force to contend for a fifth term in office, thus rewarding Dukanovic and his entourage an unprecedented 20 years at the helm.
In principle, all five Albanian parties agree that a union among them is desirable, and will be strongly considered. A timetable for these talks have not been set but given the fast approaching election date, Sinishtaj warned that the party leaders have to act quickly.
President: Filip Vujanovic - DLECG
Prime minister: Milo Djukanovic - DPSCG
The president is elected to a five-year term by popular vote.
Legislative Branch: The Skupstina Republike Crne Gore (Assembly of the Republic of Montenegro) has 75 members, elected to four-year terms by proportional representation.
Results of Last Election:
President - Apr. 6, 2008
Filip Vujanovic - Democratic Party of Montenegrin Socialists (DPSCG) 51.9%
Andrija Mandic - Serb List 19.5%
Nebosja Medojevic - Movement for Change (PZP) 16.6%
Srdan Milic - Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro (SNPCG) 12.0%
Assembly - Sept. 10, 2006
Coalition for European Montenegro
Democratic Party of Montenegrin Socialists (DPSCG)
Social-Democratic Party of Montenegro (SPCG) 41
Serbian List 12
Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro (SNPCG)
People’s Party of Montenegro (NSCG)
Democratic Serbian Party of Montenegro (DSSCG) 11
Movement for Change (PZP) 11
Liberals and the Bosniak Party 3
Coalition of the Democratic League of Montenegro
and the Party of Democratic Prosperity 1
Democratic Union of Albanians 1
Albanian Alternative 1
Posted by Conference Organizer at 11:03 AM