We Invite the President of the Parliament of Montenegro, Darko Pajovic, to open sessions of the Collegium of the President of the Parliament to the public. The Collegium of the President is the only working body of the Montenegrin Parliament the work of which is completely confidential, while key decisions affecting the role and dynamics of the legislature are made at its sessions.
Recently, Montenegrin public, has been witnessing more frequent, daily changes of the work plan of the Parliament on the basis of the agreement with the Collegium, and most often neither the MPs themselves, nor the Montenegrin public that monitors the work of the Parliament are informed about them. For this reason, MPs cannot adequately prepare for the debate, the work of the plenum does not comply with the work of the Committee, the debate on important legislation are connected without any reason, deadlines are often missed, MPs discuss information about the work of the assembly in the hallways, and all this is detrimental to the quality of discussion, as well as to the quality of the final documents adopted by the Assembly.
Such work of the Collegium is completely opposite to the Rules of Procedure, which stipulates that the work of the Parliament, including all its working bodies, is public, with the occasional exception of sittings of the Security and Defense Committee, which is closed to the public if the agenda contains acts that are classified as confidential. All the other bodies have to be open to the public, including the Collegium of the President of the Parliament, especially when matters of public interest are being discussed.
Particularly curious is the fact that the Collegium of the President is the only working body of the Parliament that does not reveal, even later on, any information, records or reports from its sessions, nor any conclusions or resolutions that the Collegium might have made. Therefore, neither public nor MPs who are not members of the Collegium regularly get elementary information on what the Collegium decided or agreed upon at a particular session, so they cannot tell for certain when a law will be discussed by the plenum.
The President of the Parliament, Darko Pajovic, who chairs the Collegium and who has the authority to make the work of the Collegium public, is the main to blame for its utterly non-transparent work.
That is the reason MANS has proposed to the Parliament to amend the Memorandum of Cooperation, that the President of the Parliament plans to sign with non-governmental organizations, with a provision that would oblige the President to make the Collegium meetings open to the public and allow interested non-governmental organizations to monitor the work of the body, while all the relevant act from the meetings would be published on the Parliament’s website.
Still, Pajovic lacked the political will to make the work of the Collegium transparent and to provide at least basic information about plans and dynamics of the Parliament’s work to the public and MPs. Consequently, these proposals submitted by MANS were rejected and are not included in the final memorandum delivered to non-governmental organizations.
This is the reason why MANS will not sign the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Parliament and non-governmental organizations in the existing form, as one of MANS’s conditions to sign the Memorandum is to amend it by means of an essential provision which would ensure that the work of the Collegium is open to the public in the future.
The point of signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation is not to adopt an act which will not improve a thing and with the only goal being free marketing in the pre-election campaign, but the point is to improve the current work of the Parliament. Therefore, MANS invites the President of the Parliament to postpone the signing of the Memorandum, which is scheduled for tomorrow, until it is amended with essential proposals by the adoption of which the work of the Collegium would be open to the public, and only then to deliver the amended Memorandum to non-governmental organizations to sign.
Monitoring Program Director