Report: Djukanovic Withdrawal PossiblePodgorica | 17 February 2010 | Bojana Barlovac
There is a "concrete plan" for the withdrawal of Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic from his political functions, Podgorica daily newspaper Vijesti reported on Wednesday, while some analysts say the premier's resignation is unlikely.
Milo Djukanovic (archive)
Referring to unnamed diplomatic sources, the daily writes that Djukanovic presented such a plan last fall in "conversation with a high-ranking western official." The prime minister was reportedly requested on the occasion that Montenegro "start fighting against corruption and organised crime in a serious and more effective way."
Djukanovic voiced his possible withdrawal from political and party life in an interview with Reuters in December. "I don't think it is necessary to carry out my whole mandate as prime minister," Reuters quoted Djukanovic as saying. He went on to say that he had "given enough to politics, more than 20 years".
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.
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.
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