Initiative for a more responsible Parliament

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) today filed the Initiative to the Parliamentary Working Group for Drafting the Draft Law of the Parliament to define with that text the legal obligation of a medical examination for members of the Parliament of Montenegro and employees in the administration of the Parliament of Montenegro, which also includes special testing of mental – psychological ability, as well as initial and later regular unannounced testing for psychoactive substances.

Earlier this week, the CCE sent such an Initiative to the Working Body for Drafting the Draft Law on the Government, which refers to the introduction of the same obligations for the members of the Government and the Secretary-General when taking office, as well as in later work.

CCE has already publicly pointed out the inequality before the law of the highest public officials, on the one hand, and civil servants and state employees, as well as other public officials, in the part of the (non)obligation to undergo a medical examination when entering employment or a position, and to submit the corresponding health certificate in order to fulfill the requirements for employment or appointment. Among those who do not have such an obligation are the MPs and the highest officials of the Parliament of Montenegro, and the Law on the Parliament is a real opportunity to correct this and establish mechanisms that follow contemporary needs.

The CCE assesses that the principle of equality before the law should be affirmed by the members of Parliament themselves, but also by acknowledging current affairs and harmonizing the legislative framework with them, all so that the highest public officials are undoubtedly ready to respond to complexity and responsibility of their function.

When drafting this Initiative, the CCE took into account good practices in the region and the EU. In this direction, we highlight again the initiative of SDP MP from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saša Magazinović, from the end of 2021. In addition, in mid-June 2022, the biggest opposition party in Slovenia presented a bill that includes mandatory testing of high-ranked public officials (MPs, ministers, state secretaries, prime ministers, president, etc.) on psychoactive substances. They propose to do this test once a year, whereas the officials would be notified 48 hours before the testing that would be done in front of the commission, and the results would be made public. Also, EU institutions have significantly introduced this as a rule in their functioning. Similar initiatives and petitions are launched several times in Great Britain, referring to members of the upper and lower houses, and currently are in the procedure.

CCE has been advocating for the adoption of the Law on the Government for years, and as well as the Law on the Parliament, and will carefully monitor the process of drafting these legal texts, to the extent of our capabilities and capacities, in order to try to contribute to meet the needs of the Montenegrin context in the best possible manner.

CCE believes that there is no reason why these initiatives should not be supported by decision-makers. Additionally, the public already expressed strong support and a positive attitude towards the first initiative, which was related to the Government.

Nikola Mirković, Programme Associate