Health and stability of ministers as prerequisites for good government

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) today filed the Initiative to the Government to define the legal obligation of a medical examination for members of the Government (Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and ministers) and Secretary General in the draft Law on Government, which also includes special testing of mental and psychological ability to perform the highest public functions, as well as initial and later regular unannounced testing for psychoactive substances.

CCE has been advocating, for years, the adoption of the Law on the Government, as well as the Law on the Parliament, and hence, carefully monitors the drafting of the Law on the Government, so that we can contribute to the comprehensive and high-quality legal text.

The existing legislative framework stipulates that civil servants and state employees, as well as other public officials, are obliged to undergo a medical examination and submit a certificate of medical fitness when applying for a job or position, in order to fulfill the conditions for establishing an employment relationship or appointment. Such an obligation, however, does not exist for the highest officials of the executive power, and the Law on Government is the best opportunity to correct this, but also to make improvements that follow contemporary needs.

CCE assesses that there is no reason for the highest officials of the executive not to pass the basic medical examinations that are required of all officials and employees, as well as of other public officials, as bound by the principle of equality before the law, but also the complexity and responsibility of their functions.

The CCE points out that such initiatives have already been launched in the region by progressive politicians, and that we rely also on these good practices. In this direction, we highlight the initiative of SDP MP from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saša Magazinović, from the end of 2021. This initiative was adopted by the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of  B&H on 27 April 2022 and they tasked the Council of Ministers of B&H to submit the legal solution which introduces a mandatory medical examination for elected and appointed officials in B&H institutions, which includes special testing of mental and psychological ability to perform public functions, as well as testing for psychoactive substances.

The enactment of the Law on the Government opens up an adequate space for the members of the Government and the Secretary-General to be equalised with other civil servants and public officials when it comes to the conditions for joining the civil service or function, but also to set an example for others in the area of health ability checks to perform the job in the public interest.

CCE expresses the hope that this proposal will receive the support of the members of the Working Body and the Government, as well as the Parliament that finally adopts it. We also believe that it will have broad support from the public, which undoubtedly wants people in such positions who are capable of making decisions of public interest and for whom there is no doubt about their health capabilities or the inappropriate influence of any substances.

The CCE expects that the process of public debate on the Draft Law on Government will be effectively inclusive, transparent and responsible, which implies respect for the opinions of the critically oriented part of civil society so that Montenegro receives the highest quality and most complete Law on Government. CCE invites other subjects or individuals who consider this initiative of ours important to publicly determine about it.

Nikola Mirković, Programme associate