The structure of the new Government should not be a victim of party appetites

Centre for Civic Education (CCE), following the formation of the new Government and the announcements that it will be accompanied by a significant increase in the number of ministries, indicates that the Government, which will certainly have a fixed one-year term, should keep the existing structure to avoid unnecessarily administratively slowdown, which would have a negative impact on its effectiveness.

The CCE emphasizes that the existing structure, which was created without any prior analysis, is not a good solution. However, it would be equally bad under these circumstances, and again without adequate needs assessment and strategic approach, to enter the uncontrolled increase in the number of ministries just to satisfy party appetites, which the CCE has already warned about through the example of one planned ministry.

The CCE proposes that, when voting on the new Government, the amendments to the Law on Public Administration should also be adopted, which would introduce the possibility for the Minister to appoint as many State Secretaries as needed for individual ministries of more cumbersome or less logical structure. These State Secretaries would in fact be ‘deputy ministers’ and their work could unblock those departments that were neglected by the ministers who had a too wide portfolio in the Government of Zdravko Krivokapić. At the same time, it would not be necessary to form new ministries, which would avoid numerous, often invisible to the public, but important administrative problems in the work of these ministries. In that manner, there would be a disburdening within the Government and an effective reallocation of competencies, and the focus would be on priority issues, rather than on a number of internal alignments that even the outgoing Government did not address by the end of its term.

In the meantime, during its duration, the new Government should initiate broad consultations with all stakeholders and conduct accompanying analyzes for the preparation of the Law on Government, which will systematically resolve the organizational structure of the Government.

Even 16 years after the restoration of independence, Montenegro does not have a legally regulated work of the legislative and executive branches, in terms of the existence of the Law on Government and the Law on Parliament. This was often pointed out by the non-governmental sector, but it seems that it suits all party entities that these issues remain unregulated so they could use this space for party trade and to the detriment of the public interest. The adoption of these laws would determine a clear relationship between these two branches of government, strengthen the control role of the Parliament over the Government, and ensure the balance of power, which is the core of any developed democratic system.

Additionally, this would put an end to the situation of uncertainty we have before each formation of the Government, where its structure is not known in advance, and which is continuously abused for the sake of different interests. Such irresponsible experiments do not contribute to the modernization, professionalization or efficiency of public administration, but provide fertile ground for feeding party appetites, even though they swear loudly by the public interest.

CCE believes that the position towards the governmental structure will be one of the first indicators of how much the new Government wants to work in a quality, efficient and systematic manner, and not just continue bad practices based on narrow-party and personal ambitions.

Milica ZINDOVIĆ, Programme Associate