Monday, December 20, 2010
Djukanovic to Resign as PM of Montenegro for Second time
The newspaper writes that Djukanovic is prepared to resign on Tuesday and a new government headed by Finance Minister Igor Luksic will be quickly formed. Djukanovic, 48, is due to announce his decision to the public at a news conference, sources from his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) confirmed.
The leadership of the Democratic Party of Socialists, Montenegro's ruling party, will hold a meeting on Tuesday and the prime minister will present his reasons for resigning, the daily writes.
If Djukanovic does withdraw, it will be his second withdrawal since he stepped down as prime minister in 2006. He subsequently returned to office in February 2008. Before that departure, Djukanovic served three consecutive terms as prime minister, from 1991 to 1998, and was the country's president from 1998 to 2002.
As Luksic is a close ally of Djukanovic, the changes in the cabinet are not expected to be major and should be approved by the parliament before the end of the year. Luksic, an economic expert, is expected to help the country implement reforms necessary for Montenegro to open accession talks with the European Union.
Djukanovic has long been dogged by suspicions that he was involved in tobacco smuggling in the region, and has been investigated by Italian prosecutors.
In a book titled 'Mafia Export', Francesco Forgione, a former Italian MP who led the Italian parliament's anti-mafia commission from 2006 to 2008, sheds light on organised crime and cites the Montenegrin mafia and Djukanovic as two of the organisers of an international cigarette smuggling route between 1994 and 2000.
Forgione also claims that Djukanovic has not testified more often before the Italian courts in a long-running tobacco smuggling case because he is protected by the immunity granted by his position.
The prosecutor in Bari, Giuseppe Scelsi, has included Djukanovic in his investigation because of the prime minister's alleged role in the smuggling. The trial began in November 2001. Djukanovic went to Bari in March 2008 to answer questions from the prosecution. Soon after that, the case as it concerned him was suspended when he became prime minister in February 2008.
“Milo Djukanovic is protected by immunity while he is the prime minister and head of government. The moment he no longer has immunity, he will be able to be tried in a special trial. The trial will be different from the one that involves seven citizens from Montenegro and Serbia, which began on November 11 ,” Scelsi told Podgorica daily Dan in November 2009.
Djukanovic was 29 years old when he became the youngest prime minister in Europe in 1991. He was elected Montenegro president in 1998, before again assuming the premier's job in 2002 and 2008. He is the longest serving Balkan leader.
Posted by Conference Organizer at 3:06 PM