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Montenegro’s future is in the EU, States prime minister-in-waiting Zdravko Krivokapic

To illustrate the way he sees his position as Montenegro’s prime minister-in-waiting following the shock defeat of the nation’s dominant Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) in the month’s elections, Zdravko Krivokapic turns into the Old Testament and King Solomon.

Since Jerusalem burnt, Krivokapic states, its citizens passed buckets of water along a line to extinguish the fires. Solomon even found an ant carrying out a very small drop of water onto its back.

“That is my vision for Montenegro,” states Krivokapic, talking to Euronews out of his office at the capital, Podgorica. “We shall all contribute to producing the new Montenegro which all of us wish for.”

It’s not clear if the 61-year-old technology scientist is king, ant, or citizen in this situation, but it’s clear who he believes started the flame: President Milo Djukanovic and his DPS, that has dominated Montenegro because of the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Last month’s election, which gave a very small majority to the resistance, has generated a change of guard. Krivokapic’s coalition, For the Future of Montenegro, is just one of three parliamentary blocs – containing 11 political parties – which have procured 41 seats in the nation’s 81-seat parliament.

It brings together everybody from Serb nationalists to liberal democrats all with something in common, a common hate Djukanovic and DPS.

However, although the election is finished and the results are currently in, it may take up to 90 days for the new government to be formed. Djukanovic, who’s president 2023, consults with all the parties in parliament to find out who’s sufficient MPs to form a government. Then he appoints the MP that’s picked by this bloc as prime minister, as well as the new government is formed.

Krivokapic, as boss of the greatest party in the coalition, was picked by his coalition partners to direct that bloc, and ought to eventually become Montenegro’s second prime minister.

He headed the effort for independence from Serbia in 2006 and 2017 controversially took Montenegro from the transatlantic NATO alliance to the terror of Moscow and at the face of large road protests at Podgorica.

Ahead of the election,” he also cautioned that a campaign orchestrated Serbia and Russia was actively trying to induce the DPS from the workplace and flip Montenegro’s gaze eastwards.

It wasn’t totally without honor. Back in October 2016, a scheme was discovered on the eve of the nation’s last parliamentary elections to kill Djukanovic and put in pro-Moscow authorities in Podgorica. In addition to two alleged Russian representatives, two Democratic Front politicians have been implicated in the scheme. The conclusion of the trial, which started in 2019, remains pending.

Even Montenegrins who affirm Djukanovic’s foreign policy – and balk in the Serb nationalism of a number of those opposition parties – sensed before polling day which three years are long enough to be dominated by one party, not least with one politician.

Input Krivokapic, that career-wise at least, is Djukanovic’s reverse. A professor of mechanical technology, Krivokapic just entered politics in 2020 throughout a furor over legislation that compelled the Serbian Orthodox Church to establish ownership of its vast landholdings in Montenegro.

The legislation, passed in ancient 2019, was translated by the church and its believers as an assault on religious freedom and contributed to mass street protests throughout 2020. Much over Europe or NATO, the laws was the most controversial issue throughout the election on August 30 and is considered to have been responsible for its DPS Communist defeat.

Over 120,000 people peacefully protested week against [it]. We will focus on changing the legislation to allow it to be fair,” stated Krivokapic.

While he explained as”a spiritual man”, Krivokapic explained he knew the need for the church to be dominated by legislation and law, but criticized the former government for not consulting with the Serbian Orthodox Church before tabling and passing it in 2019. His administration, he said, would make certain that all stakeholders were involved with the legislative procedure.

Despite anxieties both before the election and because an opposition win will visit Montenegro turn away from Europe and towards Russia – and its ally, Aleksandar Vucic’s Serbia – Krivokapic worried the path which the nation is currently on towards EU ascension would be the most suitable one.

Not only will the authorities continue to pursue Montenegro’s joining the European Union, states Krivokapic, however they’ll pursue it faster and tougher than the DPS have up to now, handling the most important two problems now holding the country back from European taxation, corruption, and organized crime.

“This info that we’re pro-Serbian or pro-Russian or that we’ll stop discussions. That we’re anti-NATO. It’s not accurate, and we’ll prove that quite shortly. We’re dedicated to our duties and everything that we’ve signed at the arrangement with NATO,” he explained.

“The pro-West, pro-EU orientation of this new government will probably be quite clearly defined. There’ll not be uncertainty about it.

Additionally, Krivokapic said that the authorities will participate with all the thousands of Montenegrins who don’t need the nation to connect Europe, using the latest polling putting service for EU membership at 55 percent, down from 67% just two decades back. Among the greatest failures of the preceding administration, he stated, is that the situation for Europe wasn’t made strongly enough.

“This talk of individuals who don’t think in EU integration represents [the failure] of this celebration that has been in strength […] to demonstrate the advantages [of] accession into the EU. […] Our folks here […] didn’t acquire sufficient info, accurate info, about the advantages of EU integration,” he explained.

“I can inform you as an engineer, the harmonization of the technical regulation of criteria: When there was nothing else but we would nevertheless benefit ardently.”

In terms of Russian influence in Montenegro, he considers it has been”overemphasized.”

Ask yourself who ushered in Russian shareholders and companies and tycoons into Montenegro, it had been MIlo Djukanovich. However, now it satisfies him to discuss Russian influence in Montenegro,” he explained.

“I have not been connected with any Russian officials so much – I can’t say any members of my coalition – however, I could say it is a large power, fantastic energy, and as each fantastic power it has its pursuits. However, what I will say is our principal interest is that the nation of Montenegro, which is quite evident in our orientation is western. We won’t give up this.”