Sunday, March 29, 2009

Albanians win 4 seats in Parliament / DPS dictatorship continues

TUZ, Malesia e Madhe, 29 March 2009 -- Albanians have voted and the results show that four (4) Albanian seats will be taken by four different parties. Ferhat Dinosha (DUA) was the highest vote-getter, followed closely between FORCA/Albanian List, and the Albanian Coalition, Perspective.

Milo Dukanovic and the DPS have received a majority (50.5%) securing their grip on power for the last two decades.

It is also important to note that, according to the CDT, Dukanovic and the DPS received one of the five mandates in the Albanian election constituency. Still, because of the specific method of calculating the votes and the fact that results in the main constituency can flow over into the special constituency to these parties, it is possible that the DPS will end up with one of these mandates. Therefore, the DPS has the chance to have between 46 and 48 mandates.

The final results are as follows:

DPS, Milo Dukanovic -- 46 seats (50.5%)

SNP, Srdan Milic -- 16 seats (17.3%)

Nova Srpska Demokratilja, Andrija Mandic -- 8 seats (9.3%)

Pokret Za Promjene, Nebojsa Medojevic -- 5 seats (5.9%)

Narodnjacka Koalicija -- 2 seats (3.1%)

DUA, Ferhat Dinosha -- 1 seat (1.7%)

FORCA, Nazif Cungu -- 1 seat (1.3%)

Albanian List, Mehmet Bardhi -- 1 seat (1.3%)

Albanian Coalition, Perspective -- 1 seat (1.1%)

As of 9:00 p.m. local time, voter turnout had reached 65.2% or about 324.850 citizens.

The highest turnout is in the northern region at 67,1%, in the central region, 65,7% of registered voters have voted, and in the south 61,3%.

Until 18.00, 54.6% of Voters have Voted in Parliamentary Elections

As of 18.00, voter turnout in parliamentary elections has reached 54.6% or about 272,270 citizens. The same turnout was noted also in parliamentary elections in 2006 at 18.00.

The highest turnout is in the northern region at 56.7%, in the central region, 54.8% of registered voters have voted, and in the south 51%.

As of 18.00 in local elections in Nikšić, 60.1% of registered voters have voted, in Herceg Novo 52.3%, in Tivat 46.8%, and in Budva 67.1%.

As of 5:00 p.m., 49.6% of Voters had Voted in Parliamentary Elections

As of 17.00, voter turnout in parliamentary elections has reached 49.6% or about 240,120 citizens, which is 0.3% more than parliamentary elections in 2006 when, as of 17.00, the right to vote had been used by 49.3% of voters. The highest turnout is in the northern region at 52.8%, in the central region, 49% of registered voters have voted, and in the south 45.2%.

As of 17.00 in local elections in Nikšić, 54.5% of registered voters have voted, in Herceg Novo 47.4%, in Tivat 39.5%, and in Budva 55.2%.

At polling station no. 14 (in the Hotel Samački buidling), no. 1 and no. 101. (Electricity Company I and II) 113 (the former supermarket Dalidej) in Nikšić, the name of the voter is being announced out loud in violation of Article 69 of the Law on Councilor and MPs.

n front of polling stations no. 1 and 101 (Electricity Company I and II) in Nikšić, there is a billboard of a political party 20 meters from the entrance of both of these polling stations.

Also, in front of polling station no. 7 (Hotel Mogren) in Budva, there are three billboards of one political party less than 50 meters from the entrance to the polling station.

In Article 69 of the Law, it is stipulated that, within 50 meters of the polling station, it is forbidden to display symbols of political parties and other propaganda material that could influence the orientation of voters.

ELECTION UPDATE: as of 2:00 p.m. (local time)

Center for Democratic Transition reports:

Voter turnout at parliamentary elections until 14.00 was 32.8% or about 158,400 citizens, which is 3.7% less than parliamentary elections in 2006 when until 14.00 36.5% of voters had used their right to vote. The largest turnout of voters is in the northern region at 36.9%; 32% of registered voters have voted in the central region and, in the south, 26.8%.

Until 14.00 at local elections in Nikšić have voted 38.1% of registered voters, in Herceg Novi 27.4%, in Tivat 27.1%, and in Budva 37.8%.

At polling station no. 95 Carine in Nikšić, the invisible ink is not applied to each voter, which is in violation of Article 68a of the Law on Councilors and MPs.

Also, at poling station no. 14 Hotel Samački in Nikšić, the polling place is not organized in an adequate way because the voting partitions are not situated in a way to secure the secrecy of the vote in violation of Article 66a of the law.

At the polling stations 71a and 71b in Podgorica, our observers noted that the polling boards in two cases did not conduct the election work in the order prescribed by the regulations and, because of that, a situation occurred in which a voter received indelible ink and was given voting materials before it was confirmed that he was registered on the extract of the voter list at that place.

A CDT observer noted an incident in front of the polling station at the Maxim Gorky School in Podgorica in which a citizen behaved in an inappropriate manner toward a candidate for MP, Nebojša Medojević. These situations indicate a lack of democratic culture and unfortunately happen among those who have different political opinions, but the public learns about them only when it involves a well-known person.

As we were informed, polling station no. 11 Crvena Lovka in Mojkovac will not be opened today.

Also, according to information from the field, polling station no. 8 Brajkovača in municipality Žabljak was not opened for voting.

The material for polling station no. 12 Tepca and no. 13 Mala Crna Gora in Žabljak was sent on an alternate route through the Piva Mountains, and we were just informed that these polling places are open and that voting in being carried out in accordance with the law.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

freemalesia endorses FORCA e Re

The team of freemalesia is proud to announce our support and endorsement of the New Democratic Party FORCA in the 29 March general election in Montenegro.

Forca has been an advocate for Albanian rights throughout Montenegro and has pioneered many community and national activities bringing forth the contribution of Albanians in Montenegro. At the same time the group has highlighted the continued problems within Albanian communities where ruling government coalitions have failed to address and provide remedies for improvement. These problems have stretched in the realm of discrimination with respect to employment, education, gender, representation, economy and minority rights proliferation.

The Party was founded on October 22, 2005 as a local minority party representing the Albanian population in Ulcinj. Nazif Cingu was elected as its president at the founding assembly. In April 2008, FORCA opened a branch of its party in Tuz.

It the last legislative elections for five Albanian parliamentary representatives in Montenegro on 10th September, 2006, Forca failed to win a seat in parliament.

Genci Nimanbegu is Forca's candidate at the top of their party list that would ascend to take a seat in the 81-seat parliament if they win.

We at freemalesia encourage all Albanian registered voters to exercise their inherent rights as citizens and vote for the party most closely aligned with your social, political and economic views ... VOTE FOR FORCA!

Montenegro's general elections predict problems ahead

Agence France-Presse
Podgorica, March 26, 2009

Montenegro heads to the polls on Sunday with veteran Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic seeking a fresh mandate to guide his young nation through an economic crisis and closer to the EU and NATO.

The governing coalition led by Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists, effectively in power since 1991, called the early legislative polls in order to speed up reforms required for full integration into the two blocs.

But the splintered opposition has accused Djukanovic's government of trying to win a new term before the global economic crisis fully impacts on Montenegro's fragile economy in transition.

"I am not saying that we are wizards who will totally keep Montenegro away from the crisis, but I can say the government is taking measures to spare the country from the worst consequences," Djukanovic said during campaigning.

The premier, who is vying for a sixth term as PM at the age of 47, promised his government would "preserve the stability of the economy" if awarded another mandate.

According to the latest opinion poll, Djukanovic's ruling coalition dubbed "European Montenegro" is likely to sweep to victory giving it an outright majority with 51 per cent of voter support.

The opposition, an assortment of parties representing minority Serbs and people fed up with Djukanovic's domination, have been given virtually no chance of upsetting his 18-year hold on power.

The main opposition Socialist People's Party is expected to gain 16.8 per cent of the vote, ahead of the New Serbian Democracy party with 12 per cent and neo-liberal Movement for Change with six per cent.

Twelve other parties and coalitions will run, but are unlikely to win any of the 81 parliamentary seats.

"The citizens continue to vote for the ruling coalition as there is no clear and precise alternative," analyst Drasko Djuranovic told AFP.

"The domination of the ruling coalition has not been an expression of its strength, but proof of the weakness of the divided and obstructive opposition," he said.

Another analyst, Nedjeljko Rudovich, agreed the opposition "has been failing to force itself as a serious alternative" to the Djukanovic-led coalition.

But Rudovich, political editor of the influential daily Vijesti, warned the main issues would come up after the elections, as the "authorities will face one of the most serious challenges in the past few years."

"The issue is not what will happen on March 29, but after. The question is how Montenegro will manage to cope with a deteriorating economic situation that threatens to jeopardise living standards," he said.

Economic growth in Montenegro is predicted to slow to around 2.0 per cent in the next two years compared with double-digit rates since independence in 2006, the International Monetary Fund said in December.

Gross domestic product growth reached 10.7 per cent in 2007, and was expected to come in at 8.0 per cent in 2008, says the central bank.

Montenegro split from a loose union with Serbia in June 2006 after a historic independence referendum, and applied to join the European Union in December.

It signed a so-called Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the 27-nation bloc in October 2007, the first stage in a country's membership quest.

Montenegro hopes to join the NATO military alliance, which in mid-2008 invited the former Yugoslav republic to begin "intensified dialogue" on its membership and related reforms.

Sunday's vote will be monitored by more than 1,200 observers, including some 200 representing the international community.

Some 500,000 voters are eligible to cast ballots from 8:00 am (0600 GMT) until 9:00 pm (1900 GMT). The first estimates will be given shortly after polling closes, while official early results are expected by midnight.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Montenegro ‘Quickly’ Moving Towards EU

Montenegro is efficiently fulfilling its Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU and is quickly moving towards accession, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn says.

Speaking in Brussels on Sunday after a meeting with Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Rocen, Rehn said Montenegro has strengthened its administrative capacity, implemented legal reforms and undertook efforts to combat organised crime and corruption.

"It is encouraging that the government, all political parties, the society and the social partners are committed to Montenegro's European integration," Rehn said.

Podgorica media also reported that Slovenian Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar said that Montenegro will join the community of the most-developed countries quicker than any other state in the region.

Montenegro applied for EU membership in December last year after delaying an application which was originally supposed to be submitted in June earlier that year.

Freed from the wartime baggage of its neighbor Serbia, from which it split in 2006, the state of 650,000 people signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU in 2007, the first rung on the ladder towards eventual membership of the bloc.

Strengthening its weak administration and fighting corruption remain its biggest challenges.

Tycoon to invest big in Montenegro


Canadian gold baron Peter Munk thinks millionaire yacht owners can be lured from the French Riviera to a converted military harbour in Montenegro

TIVAT, Montenegro - At a time of economic crisis, can millionaires and their yachts be lured from the French Riviera to a former military dock in the Balkans?

The founder of the world's largest gold company thinks so, and next month kicks off sales in his project converting the ex-navy port in Tivat, Montenegro, into a yachting marina.

Yet in a country that holds elections in 10 days amid growing economic woes, some complain about developing an elite complex for the wealthy when many locals are not well off.

In an interview late on Wednesday, Peter Munk, 81, founder and chairman of Barrick Gold, said the global economic crisis offered a chance to sell services at relative bargain rates for the world's growing numbers of yachts.

"None of those yachts out there are going to be sunk," he said. "But they are going to be looking for good value...It's a tremendous opportunity."

"The Adriatic is currently on par with the Cote d'Azur," he said by telephone from the ski resort of Davos, Switzerland. "But you can save on two-thirds of the costs."

Munk is converting the navy port into a four-kilometre, 630-berth marina and resort complex at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, a scenic region that once sheltered the Venetian navy. His company Porto Montenegro says locals will receive jobs and other benefits from the investment.

During a tour last week, Porto Montenegro looked very much like an aging military port, with an old submarine drydocked and a large crane and other Yugoslav-era relics scattered about. But lights illuminated a new dock with potted palm trees.

The complex lies behind a wall along the main coastal road. Some protested when the old shipyards closed, fearing job losses at the biggest local employer, or an unfair insider deal.

Billionaire Munk said he became interested through his holdings in Hungarian real estate developer Trigranit. As he considered investing a few years ago, he met Milo Djukanovic, Montenegro's pro-European Union leader who has dominated politics in the former Yugoslav republic for two decades. "He impressed me very much," he said.

Munk bought the 25-hectare complex for three million euros ($4.05 million), and appeared sensitive when asked about the bargain price.

"I got a good deal because I made a commitment to invest," he said. "The price is not the issue: the issue is how much I had to pay in social costs."

In a deal finished in 2007, he agreed to pay 15 million euros compensation to 460 workers who lost their jobs at the old port, spend 18 million on infrastructure and another seven million euros on cleaning up the site.

Munk, a Hungarian native and Canadian citizen, said the financial crisis will hit yacht owners. But he said if, for example, a Russian oligarch must sell a mega yacht at a fire sale price, a new owner of slightly more modest means might want a cheaper alternative to famed ports such as St. Tropez, Palma de Mallorca or Monaco.

Oliver Corlette, Porto Montenegro's managing director, said a berth would cost 130,000 euros annually for a 75-metre yacht, compared to about a million euros a year in Antibes, France.

"That project is intriguing," said World Bank representative Jan-Peter Olters. "It appeals to a segment that might be least affected by this crisis. It might just work."

Even though Munk has considerable wealth from gold, one of the most robust investments in the current crisis, some see wider economic forces slowing the project.

"We recognize that Mr. Munk is a serious investor, but nonetheless problems could arise if the economic crisis spreads in Montenegro, which is likely," said Aleksandar Damjanovic, an opposition member of parliament.

Munk owns a controlling stake in Porto Montenegro, with minority shareholders including Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH luxury goods group, and Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who owns Montenegro's troubled KAP aluminum plant.

The first berths and residences should be ready by summer, although none has yet been offered for sale. "We have definitely slowed down the build-out of our development in order to understand what the demand will be," said Collette.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Macedonia: Ethnic Discrimination still a Problem

Macedonia's progress in building a civil society and guaranteeing minority rights has not gone unnoticed by international organisations, whose reports in recent years have taken on a noticeably warmer tone. Most continue to warn, though, that substantial work remains to be done.

The US State Department's Human Rights Report for 2008, published last month by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, is the latest example.

It found that the Macedonian government "generally respected the human rights of its citizens" during 2008, but noted problems in some areas.

The report cited many positive trends. Despite some political pressure, the independent media were described as flourishing. The authors saw no restrictions on academic freedom and said the government generally respected the right of assembly. They also took note of a new law enshrining religious freedom and said the authorities had generally respected this right in practise.

Thousands of NGOs are operating freely in Macedonia, and increased co-operation is evident between the government and the ombudsman's office, the US State Department said.

At the same time, it said, the country still faces serious challenges. Two of the most important are judicial reform and interethnic relations.

Although the constitution provides for an independent judiciary, it remains a work in progress. The judicial branch is still swayed by corruption and political influence, according to the report.

Moreover, it said, the government "continued to delay the implementation of a number of judicial reform laws", thus lowering the efficiency of the system

As for interethnic relations, the State Department found they continued to be strained. "Tensions between the ethnic Macedonian and Albanian populations continued to impact areas including education, employment, and political participation," the report said.

Minority rights in the country enjoy guarantees under the Ohrid Agreement, and successive governments have taken concrete steps to make these rights a reality. Employment of minorities in civil and public administration has risen and is reaching 20% representation of ethnic Albanians in some sectors -- a doubling in the last eight years.

If a minority represents more than 20% of the population in a municipality, its language enjoys official status there. Some towns and cities in Macedonia thus have Albanian, Roma, Serbian, or Turkish as an official language. The law provides for primary and secondary education in Albanian, Turkish, and Serbian.

The popularity of Imer Selmani -- an ethnic Albanian running in the March 22nd presidential elections -- is seen as a bellwether of change. In some polls, he is ahead of the main opposition candidate, Ljubomir Frckovski.

Despite these trends, complaints were still heard from minority groups and, in some cases, from members of the ethnic Macedonian majority who alleged "reverse discrimination". Ethnic Turks said they still lacked representation in the government, the media and the school system, while Roma continued to suffer widespread discrimination.

Other problems cited by the State Department include "credible reports" of police abuse, as well as corruption at the interior ministry. Prison conditions in the country barely meet international standards, it said.

International criticism of the June 2008 elections also received mention, as did the scourge of human trafficking.

By Zoran Nikolovski for Southeast European Times

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Montenegro: Berlusconi accused of electoral 'meddling'

Podgorica, 16 March – Montenegro's political opposition on Monday accused Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi of interfering in the local campaign for political elections to be held on 29 March. It also said Berlusconi's meeting with Montenegro's current premier and so-called political 'godfather' Milo Djukanovic sent "a bad message that organised crime pays off."

Berlusconi was to arrive for a surprise visit to Podgorica late Monday for talks with president Filip Vujanovic and Djukanovic, known as Montegro's political 'godfather'.

A controversial figure, Djukanovic has already served four terms as prime minister and one term as president, but he resigned in 2006 to dedicate himself to his business interests.

Montenegro's opposition leaders have claimed Djukanovic accumulated millions of euros in investment and banking schemes between 2006 and 2008.

Berlusconi was also to meet Italian language students, but refused to meet politicians from Montenegro's opposition parties.

Nebojsa Medojevic, president of the opposition Movement for Changes party, said he requested a meeting with Berlusconi through the Italian embassy in Podgorica, but Berlusconi had declined the request.

Medojevic said the embassy replied that Berlusconi would meet “only with representatives of official institutions”.

Medojevic said that Berlusconi's visit came at a “very sensitive moment at the end of a parliamentary election campaign and everything should be done to avoid a possible political manipulation of the visit."

Djukanovic has been investigated by Italian prosecutors for his alleged role in a multimillion dollar mob-run cigarette smuggling racket to Italy in the 1990s and for money laundering.

But the case was dropped after he became prime minister again last February.

Medojevic said that Berlusconi’s visit was a “private arrangement with some people at the pinnacle of power”.

"We are disappointed that the Italian premier is meeting ahead of the election with a man who was indicted by the Italian judiciary," Medojevic said.

"That could only send a message that organized crime pays off."

Montenegro foreign ministry said in a statement that relations between Rome and Podgorica were “excellent” and that Berlusconi’s visit was a “support to their further development."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Foreign ministers reluctant to respond to Montenegro

By Toby Vogel


Formal bid needs formal answer; some ministers believe application is premature.

The foreign ministers of EU member states will discuss Montenegro's application for EU membership at their meeting in Brussels on Monday (16 March). But it is unlikely that they will instruct the European Commission to prepare a formal opinion on Montenegro's readiness to join.

When Montenegro made its request to join the EU last December, Germany, the Netherlands and others opposed the next step – to ask the Commission for the opinion that is a pre-requisite for opening membership negotiations.

Some countries believe the application is premature, and others want a general slow-down of enlargement, fearful that backing Montenegro's application might trigger applications from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania.

Germany is unlikely to change its stance ahead of its general election in September. In its draft platform for the elections to the European Parliament in June, the centre-right CDU party of Angela Merkel, the chancellor, called for a “consolidation phase” in which the “strengthening of the identity and the institutions of the EU” should take precedence over further accessions.

“The only exception to this rule can be made for Croatia,” the draft said. It also called for Turkey to be given a “privileged partnership”, rather than full membership. But the Czechs have made enlargement in the western Balkans one of the priorities of their presidency of the Council of Ministers, which ends in June.

The membership bids of Croatia and Turkey are currently blocked. Macedonia, although formally a candidate, has not yet begun negotiations.

“One should understand that there are uncertainties within the EU about the speed of enlargement,” Danilo Türk, Slovenia's president, said last week (4 March) after a meeting with his Montenegrin counterpart Filip Vujanovic´c – although he reiterated Slovenia's support for Montenegro's application.

The decision to refer the application to the Commission does not require Council unanimity, but the sensitivity of the subject means the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, is likely to seek a political consensus before proceeding. Once the Commission provides its opinion, which typically takes around a year, member states discuss the political aspects of the membership application.

Milan Rocen, Montenegro's foreign minister, will hold consultations with EU officials after the meeting of EU foreign ministers. Montenegro is holding parliamentary elections on 29 March.

EU foreign ministers will also discuss the way ahead for the EU's engagement in Afghanistan following initial talks with the administration of Barack Obama, the US president. Joe Biden, the US vice-president, was in Brussels on Tuesday (10 March) for consultations on the issue. The foreign ministers will also consider whether the political situation in Belarus warrants continued sanctions.

The EU has been seeking a rapprochement with the authoritarian regime of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and wants Belarus to feature in the eastern partnership with countries in eastern Europe and the Caucasus.



MONTENEGRO 2008 PROGRESS REPORT (partial report)

2.2. Human rights and the protection of minorities

Observance of international human rights law

Regarding the ratification of human rights instruments, Montenegro is a signatory or a party to most of the Council of Europe conventions, including the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Montenegro has not yet ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the avoidance of statelessness in relation to State succession.

Montenegro appointed a judge to the European Court of Human Rights in April 2008,
which means it is now possible to handle cases which had been suspended following
Montenegro's independence. Appointment of the government agent representing Montenegro before the European Court of Human Rights failed due to lack of candidates.

Regarding promotion and enforcement of human rights, direct implementation of
international human rights standards in Montenegro is restricted to application in cases of conflict with domestic legislation. The constitution does not include an explicit provision that ratified international human rights treaties should be applied in compliance with the practice of international bodies in charge of their interpretation. The Venice Commission has recommended that the Law on implementation of the constitution should be clarified to guarantee retroactive application of the ECHR and should be brought to the attention of the courts and the public.

The Constitutional Court will be competent for appeals on violations of human rights and liberties following adoption of the Law on the Constitutional Court in July
2008. The election of all Constitutional Court judges by parliament on a proposal by the President, as provided for in the constitution, is not in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission. The right to appeal on the basis of provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning violations occurring prior to Montenegro's independence needs further clarification.

Overall, further efforts are necessary to improve judicial enforcement.

Civil and political rights

Little progress has been made on prevention of torture and ill-treatment and the fight against impunity. Montenegro is party to the Council of Europe Convention for the prevention of torture and its constitution prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. However, there are continuous allegations of torture and ill-treatment during arrest and detention. Material conditions in police detention facilities remain unsatisfactory. Internal investigations and criminal proceedings against police officers for the extortion of evidence and for ill-treatment and torture are rare. Verdicts are reached in a small number of reported cases and are often followed only by administrative warnings, suspended sentences or fines.
In 2007 the ombudsman received a higher number of complaints about police ill-treatment. The disciplinary procedure for misuse of office and exceeding official powers referred to in the Law on civil servants and public employees needs to be fully respected. The authorities need to strengthen internal control mechanisms. International standards and judicial practice for combating torture need to be considered by the courts.

The full Report can be found at

Monday, March 09, 2009

Veton Surroi to lecture at Tufts University

For those interested in attending this event, a student body will assemble in front of Bobst Library at 8:00 a.m. Just look for Mark and Altin. We will drive out to Medford by 8:30, so please be on time.

The Kokkalis Program would like to bring the following event to your attention:

3:00 p.m.

Kosovo’s Road to Independence

Mr. Veton Surroi, publicisit/publisher, KOHA Media Group, Pristina
Tisch Library, Room 316
Tufts University
35 Professors Row
Medford, MA

This event is organized and sponsored by the Project on Justice in Times of Transition, an independent program working in collaboration with the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University . The PJTT is not affiliated with the Kokkalis Program. For more information, please visit:

Friday, March 06, 2009

More candidates than voters ...

TUZ, MALESIA e MADHE -- And just when you thought politics in Montenegro could not stoop lower than the DPS and SNP, just drive 15 minutes south of Podgorica to TUZ and witness the greatest (circus) show in the Balkans, where five (Yes! 5) Albanian political parties have formed with on, and only one, intention in mind: SPLIT THE ALBANIAN VOTES to a degree that only the few cronies that plagued Malesia/Ulqini/Ana e Malit in the past will continue to do so again.

Congratulations Podgorica! You managed to turn us against each other again!

And the circus list goes a little like this:

The Albanian Coalition – "Perspective"

1. Amir Hollaj
2. Vasel Sinishtaj
3. Smail Maliq Çunmulaj
4. Fehim Avdiu
5. Lindon Gjelaj

The "Albanian List" – Democratic League in Montenegro & the Albanian Alternative

1. Mehmet Bardhi
2. Nik Gjeloshaj
3. Saubih Mehmeti
4. Luigj Junçaj
5. Nikollë Camaj

Democratic Union of Albanians

1. Ferhat Dinosha
2. Mehmed Zenka
3. Fatmir Gjeka
4. Fuad Nimani
5. Musa Goçaj

Force - Cungu Nazif

1. Genci Nimanbegu
2. Nazif Cungu
3. Xhaudet Cakuli
4. dr. Nail Draga
5. Mentor Lunji

The Party for Democratic Prosperity

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Parties have begun

TUZ, MALESIA e MADHE, March 4, 2009 -- The Albanians of Montenegro will pin their hopes on three political parties, including one coalition for the coming March 29th elections.

The Democratic Union of Albanians, Forca, the Party for Democratic Prosperity and the coalition between the Democratic League—Albanian Alternative—Citizens Group List for Tuz (Lista per Tuzin).

As in all other previous elections, a considerable portion of Albanian votes will be reserved for the ruling party – DPS and its head, PM Milo Dukanovic.

The citizens group formed to list Tuzi

Just two days ago, and surrounded by controversy, the city group formed “Lista per Tuzin” with its head, Muhammed Gjokaj.

Gjokaj is known as an activist for the municipality of Tuz, and was one of the founders of the Civic Initiative, of which later emerged as the Alternative Albanian Party.

Gjokaj is also a representative of the movement "Homeland Unites Us," with headquarters in New York and offices in Tuz. He was also a potential candidate for chairman of the Task Force for Malesia’s branch.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Inter-party cleavages send shock waves through Malёsia!


– With just days left before Montenegro’s political parties were to remit their candidate’s names to appear on the ballots for the 29 March elections, the Albanian Alternative Party (AAP) in Tuz collapses amid reports of internal conflict between two party members vying for a seat in parliament.

The AAR’s Vasel Sinishtaj (Member of Parliament) and Nik Gjeloshaj are threatening to disrupt the constituent voting base in Malesia, which could potentially be the start of the end for the AAP.

In the narrowest of margins, the AAP steering committee last week selected Nik Gjeloshaj as their candidate to take over Sinishtaj’s seat in Parliament with a victory on 29 March. Sinishtaj, on the other hand, cried foul and accused Gjeloshaj of sabotaging the votes and not following quorum rules, which left out a key member’s vote who was at the time in Kosova.

Citizens of Tuz expressed outrage at the timing of the controversy, where each party had to submit a candidate’s name to appear on the ballot no later than 3 March. As the party negotiated through the weekend, neither person conceded to the other. Gjeloshaj claimed that he was selected according to party rules and regulations and that Sinishtaj’s efforts were for more selfish reasons than for the overall goals of the party. Gjeloshaj proposed that if an agreement could not be made between the two, that both candidates step down and allow a third member to move towards the candidacy.

Sinishtaj claimed that the root cause of the party’s differences took place last summer, where members of the governing board displayed signs of discontent with the AAPs overall progress and vision leading to the next round of elections. Suspicions between party members on who would be best fitted to lead the party increased further after the DPS announced early elections, whereafter the tables began to turn on Sinishtaj and roughly half the members turned their support to Gjeloshaj.

Meanwhile, two of Montenegro’s major daily papers – Vjesti and Dan – have taken the opportunity to underscore the schism between the AAP, further complicating public opinion and possibly leading to a disenfranchised electorate come 29 March.

Many citizens of Tuz are afraid that voters will abandon the AAP altogether and cast their vote for the Montenegrin parties, especially the ruling DPS, which has traditionally included Ferhat Dinosha in its coalition. This, in turn, would be devastating for a people that had worked so hard to elect “one of their own” in a region that has been torn by broken promises and dishonesty by the DPS. Another alternative will be the other Albanian parties, including a strong showing by FORCA, an Ulqin-based party that has made strong inroads in Malesia during the past year. But for many Albanians in Malesia, the AAP was seen as the party that aligned itself closest with the citizens of Tuz and the best fitted to appease some of the most pressing concerns in the region.

One resident in Tuz, summed it up by saying, “regardless of the outcome, Sinsihtaj and Gjeloshaj have failed to recognize that Malesia is bigger than they are, and the future of Albanians in this tiny region rests in the hands of its elected officials, who have until now disregarded their interests and breached their trust by mishandling the confidence they granted upon them when they were elected in 2006. So thus, it is not the majority that threatens the progression of Albanians, instead it is the long-standing egotism and jealousy of the few that continuous to plague and impede upon the evolution of the many.”

Sunday, March 01, 2009

State Department 2008 Human Rights Reports: Montenegro

WASHINGTON, DC, FEBRUARY 25, 2009 -- The State Department released its annual Human Rights Report on Montenegro. You can read the entire Report by following the link below. We have highlighted incidents involving Albanians below:

Authorities pursued four cases of alleged war crimes during the year. In July the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor indicted eight officers and soldiers of the Podgorica Corps of the former Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) suspected of killing 23 Albanian civilians in Kaludjerski Laz near Rozaje during the 1999 NATO intervention. The Albanians were trying to escape from the war in Kosovo. The Higher Court of Bijelo Polje detained seven of those charged, and an international arrest warrant was issued for the eighth. In December the detainees went on a hunger strike to protest delays in commencing the trial.

During the year the Basic Court in Berane opened an investigation of police officers Ivan Bojovic, Nebojsa Veljic, and Zeljko Devic, accused of abusing four Kosovo Albanians during their detention in July 2007. The trial had not begun at year's end.

On August 5, Podgorica Higher Court convicted 17 persons, including four U.S. citizens, of planning a rebellion against the country with a view to creating an autonomous region for ethnic Albanians. They were arrested in a 2006 raid in Tuzi on the eve of parliamentary elections. Police reportedly found a large stash of weapons and plans to attack government buildings, and authorities asserted that police had foiled a terrorist plot. Most of the accused were released briefly following their conviction, but the court decided to rearrest them pending appeals. The defendants claimed that they were physically abused during their initial arrest and were forced to make statements under duress.

The country was host to refugees and displaced persons from several of the other former republics of what was once Yugoslavia who entered the country when it was also part of Yugoslavia. Their juridical status differed. They included approximately 16,0000 persons registered as IDPs from Kosovo (mainly ethnic Montenegrins, Serbs, Roma, Ashkali, Balkan Egyptians, Bosniaks, and Albanians), plus an estimated 1,500 who had also filed claims for formal IDP status but awaited decisions from the Bureau for the Care of Refugees and Displaced Persons (BCR), the agency responsible for refugees and IDPs. There were also 8,529 "displaced persons" (refugees) from Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina and approximately two thousand persons who fled Albania in 1991, mainly Serbs and Montenegrins, who had applied for resident status but whose applications were not adjudicated by year's end.

There were 16 members of ethnic minorities in the 81‑seat Assembly and three members of ethnic minorities in the cabinet. Five assembly seats were reserved by law for ethnic Albanians. They, along with ethnic Serbs, Muslims, Bosniaks, and Croats participated in the political process, and their parties, candidates, and voters participated in all elections. No Roma ran for or held seats in the Assembly, and Roma were significantly underrepresented in the government; only one person of Romani ethnicity held elective office at any level in the country.

By law education is free, compulsory, and universal through the eighth grade; however, inadequate and poor quality education for Roma remained a problem. Prejudice, both within the Romani communities and against Roma, discouraged some Romani children from attending school. Some ethnic Albanians criticized the government for not providing an opportunity for them to learn about their culture and history. On October 7, the first Muslim religious secondary school opened in Malesija, near Podgorica. The school had 64 students, and lectures were delivered in the Bosnian and Albanian languages. Privately funded, the school was not yet fully accredited by the educational authorities.

The state prosecutor pressed charges against seven persons during the year. In one case charges were brought against three individuals of Albanian ethnicity (one residing in Kosovo and two in Montenegro) for trafficking a minor from Kosovo. In a second case, four Serbian citizens were charged with trafficking two female victims (one from Ukraine and one from Moldova).