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South Slavic: August 31, 2000

31 August 2000, Volume 2, Number 32

What Future For Montenegrin Politics? Part III

Zeljko Sturanovic: A so-called "weak president" is elected by the parliament. A directly elected president [as specified in the constitutional changes] is a so-called "strong president."

Vuksan Simonovic: What makes him "strong"? Has anything been changed in terms of his powers?

Zeljko Sturanovic: He will enjoy greater legitimacy. He will be elected by the citizens instead of by the parliament. Therefore, the parliamentary system has obviously been modified.

Vuksan Simonovic: Is that not a democratic breakthrough? According to the Montenegrin constitution, is not the Montenegrin president a "weak one," and still he is elected directly? Why not have a president of the federal state elected directly as well? All the more so, since the Constitution does not change a thing regarding his powers.

Zeljko Sturanovic: A federal president cannot be elected directly, since that would actually legalize the principle of "one citizen, one vote." That principle is basically democratic. But in a [federal state] like ours, with such a disproportion concerning the electorate, it becomes extremely undemocratic, since it favors the constituency with more voters at the expense of the one with fewer voters. Therefore, every comparison with the presidents of the federal units is inappropriate here.

Vuksan Simonovic: The two constituencies have nothing to do with the election of the federal president. There will be only one constituency for the election of the president--the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The principle of "one citizen, one vote" will be applied throughout in that case.

Zeljko Sturanovic: So, you find it fair if--according to the "one citizen, one vote" principle--one federal unit has 6 million votes and the other one 400,000?