Montenegro Opposition to Boycott Poll Over 'Coup' Claims

The opposition announced its boycott ahead of a parliamentary session on Wednesday at which Montenegrin lawmakers are expected to vote on a motion to strip two opposition leaders of their immunity from prosecution over their alleged involvement in a coup attempt on election day, October 16.

MPs are to vote on the motion filed by the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime, Milivoje Katnic, which asks for the leaders of the pro-Russian opposition Democratic Front alliance, Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic, to be detained and put on trial.

The motion was approved by a Montenegrin parliamentary committee on Monday, and the ruling pro-Western coalition has a stable majority to enable it to have the decision confirmed in parliament.

But after an emergency meeting on Tuesday, all the opposition parties decided to boycott upcoming municipal polls on March 12 in Niksic, the second largest city in Montenegro, over the prosecution move to prosecute Mandic and Knezevic.

The opposition claims it has the chance to win the election in Niksic and accuses the prosecution of working in favour of former PM Milo Djukanovic's ruling Democratic Party of Socialists.

The opposition has already been boycotting parliament for over five months and refusing to recognise the results of October's general election, alleging vote-rigging.

The vice-president of the opposition centre-left Social Democratic Party, former finance minister Rasko Konjevic, urged Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic to withdraw the decision to hold the elections in Niksic next month.

"It would be normal that a person who should be the president of all citizens understands this decision [to boycott] and at the very least postpones the  Niksic elections," Konjevic...

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