Prime Minister’s question time and MP’s questions through the prism of statistics

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) has published the review Prime Minister’s question time and MPs questions through the prism of statistics which provides an insight into the application of this institute of parliamentary supervision during the last convocation of the Parliament of Montenegro from the numerical point.

The statistical review indicates that MPs of the 26th convocation of the Parliament of Montenegro have asked 1016 questions, out of which 125 have been directed to the Prime Minister and 891 questions to his ministers. Looking at it on year by year basis, the MPs have asked most of the questions in 2019, when 402 questions were submitted, and the least questions were asked during in 2017 when there were only 52 questions.

Questions were submitted by the MPs that support the Government more than by the opposition, which in certain sense is a result of the boycott of the Parliament by the part of the opposition within a longer period. That has decreased the efficiency of this supervisory function of the Parliament because most of the questions asked were in direction of the promotion of Governmental policies and not to problematize the decisions and actions of the government.

The numbers indicate the interest of the MPS which has varied depending on portfolios of ministers, hence, some ministers got close to 100 questions and the others twice less. Most frequently Zoran Pažin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice was in the Parliament and he answered 94 questions. Pažin was mainly asked about the fight against corruption, judicial independence, as well as the negotiations concerning Chapters 23 and 24 which refer to the rule of law. Osman Nurković, who was heading a ministry in charge of the biggest infrastructural project, received 87 questions.

On the other hand, MPs were less focused on the questions from the domain of human rights, youth policies and sport, science, public administration, and defense. Thus Mehmed Zenka, Minister for Human and Minority Rights, during the fo four years term of office got only 10 questions while Nikola Janović, Minister of Sports and Youth of Montenegro, got only 12 questions.

Issues linked to the area of economy and investments have prevailed in questions submitted to the Prime Minister making almost half of all the all asked questions (44%). This is followed by the questions related to the fight against corruption and organized crime (15.2%), and MPs are also found as equally important religious and identity issues (7.2%) and the questions concerning EU integration (7.2%). A significant portion of questions consists of current political affairs (17,6%), which in the analysis have been categorized as „others“. It is worrying that questions pertaining to education or youth were at the bottom of the barrel representing almost a statistical error within this research.

The Parliament, as a legislative branch of government, within its main function has the one of supervision and control of the executive.  There are multiple instruments of parliamentary supervision,  include a motion for censure, interpellation, parliamentary investigation as well as MPs questions. These MPs questions were the most frequently applied in the Parliament of Montenegro. 

Parliamentary questions are defined as the right of an MP to directly ask the minister in order to get the necessary information from the government about its’ work. Also, President or Head of the MP Group has a right to ask the Prime Minister about the government’s activities. Parliamentary questions are submitted during a special session of the Parliament at least once in two months.

Vasilije Radulović, Programme Associate