One of the leaders of the Montenegrin opposition party "Democratic Front", Nebojsa Medojevic, expressed the belief that the ruling "Democratic Party of Socialists" (the DPS) will pull any tricks to stay at power. It isn't too hard to imagine. They've managed to stay in power a long time.
The leader of the DPS and the permanent Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic has been ruling the country for more than 27 years. Deutsche Welle says that, on the list of longest-ruling heads of state, Milo Djukanovic has few competitors". Going on to mention that only, "Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Ali Khamenei of Iran and Hun Sen of Cambodia outpace him."
And of course the idea that one man and party would stay in power in a functioning democracy is absurd. The people of Montenegro are tired of poverty, unemployment and corruption in all the governmental structures. Most Montenegrins hope that October 16th, the day of upcoming parliamentary elections, will be a turning point in the history of their country. Apparently, it might not be that simple.
Opposition party leader Nebojsa Medojevic wrote a letter to the prosecutor's office to check and to prevent electoral fraud and process violations on election day by the ruling DPS. We received a copy that has made waves online in Serbia and Montenegro, and appears to be legitimate. One of the most disturbing aspects of the letter is the detail with which it outlines planned violations on election day.
It stinks on every level. Apparently there is even $700,000 earmarked for Bill Clinton to fly in for a two hour speech about how great Djukanovic is.... Oh, just joking, it hasn't quite reached that level of corruption.
Though frankly, it is hard to imagine worse than what the ruling party seems to be planning... The original letter in Serbian, as well as the English translation can be viewed here.
The short of it is that opposition parties purport to have inside information that the ruling party has disbursed funds for a massive vote buying campaign as well as ballot stuffing. This is to be coupled with a disbursement of false identification for non-citizens, and arrangements to bring them in the days before the actual election, so they will be able to vote for the dear old permanent Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic.
This may sound incredible, but you have to remember that Montenegro is one of the smallest nations of Europe, with slightly more than 600,000 citizens. Also the country itself is surrounded by many of the other remnants of the former Yugoslavia, and interluders are not immediately apparent or obvious. A few thousand voters brought in strategically to vote in certain districts can have a huge impact.
Medojevic also outlines in detail plans he has been told are in place for massive disruptions of opposition voter rallies, as well as general mayhem to encourage people to stay home and not cast their votes. He is even able to point out the actual amounts of payments and some of the recipients.
Imagine Trudeau bringing in 100,000 liberal New Yorkers (or worse, illiberal New York Muslims) across the border to cast votes for him at the next Canadian election. And then paying them to intimidate the other voters. That's the scale of the fraud they're suggesting is in the works for Montenegro. Funny, but not funny.
Europe is not supposed to be like that. It is is supposed to be much better than that. The first world. Not the third.
What the citizens of Montenegro want to know is, if they will be able to participate in free and open elections?
Polin Goossens is Serbian & Dutch and lives, writes, and makes music in Amsterdam. You can follow her on fb.