Ahead of local elections in Herceg Novi and Tivat on April 7 the chair of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, Milo Djukanovic, has criticized some civil society groups and “the allegedly independent media".
The former leader of the country said some of them work against Montenegro's interests by draining money from international sources.
“If arrests are allegedly the way to speed the integration of Montenegro into the EU, as the opposition claims, I’ll make a small contribution about who might be sacrificed," Djukanovic said on Wednesday in Tivat, alluding to opposition politicians and “media tycoons".
NGOs and opposition media have been critical in their reaction, the indepependent media outlet Vijesti comparing him to Serbia's former strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
“His anxiety is understandable because he is aware that his political carieer is close to an end and that young people, whose lives are marked by his policies, have started opposing the system," Dejan Milovac, from the NGO MANS, told Balkan Insight.
Milovac accused Djukanovic of using the rhetoric of the former Balkan strongmen of the Nineties, characterised by conspiracy theories about alleged spy networks.
Nebojsa Medojevic, one of the opposition leaders, agreed. "This is a classical situation of a dictator at the end of his rule when he becomes more agressive," Medojevic said.
Esad Kocan, editor of the Montenegrin weekly Monitor, says his organ was proclaimed a “public enemy" a long time ago.
“The media that are not controlled by the government are treated as enemies," he said. "Within such an environment, journalists became legitimate targets of violence," Kocan added, recalling the frequent attacks on media and reporters in Montenegro.