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May 4, 2001
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 489

Miodrag Zivkovic, political leader of the Liberal Alliance (LS) of Montenegro

by Dragoslav Grujic

Basic facts: Born on Sept. 20, 1957 in Kotor. Father Djordjije (teacher), mother Vojislava (housewife). He completed his elementary and high school education in Kotor. Enrolled in the School of Law in 1976 in Belgrade, graduated in 1981 in Podgorica. He trained water polo in his younger days. Now, due to politics, he doesn’t have enough time for sport, jazz, a good book and travel which he loves. Married to Milica, they have a daughter Sanja.

Career: After graduating in 1982, he got a job in the municipal court in Kotor. Following the “anti-bureaucratic revolution”, he became a lawyer in 1990. He immediately took up political cases. He defended clients others didn’t want to or didn’t dare to represent, and in 1992 he defended a few Croats who disregarded their army draft papers, without a fee.

Political biography: A member of the Liberal Alliance. He was practically unknown to the wider public until January 1999, when Slavko Perovic resigned as LS president (due to the bad election results), and he was elected to be the party’s political leader. He was head of the LS parliamentary group (as of June 15, 1998) and member of the Board for Constitutional Issues in the Montenegrin parliament.

According to data of the center for Democracy and Human Rights in Podgorica, Zivkovic was a “champion” in reiteration. At the parliamentary sessions, from February of last year until the same month this year, there were 2547 retorts, and Zivkovic holds first place with 227 retorts.

Of temperamental character, he received a lot of publicity due to the incident when he hit the parliamentary speaker Predrag Popovic in 1999 in his chest with his fist because he refused to allow him to speak further.

He also received blows. When he stated in parliament that some petty criminals received uniforms of the reserve units of Montenegro’s police force, he was hit by one of the people he named.

Prior to the early elections in April (January 2001) he made a call for all political powers to unite who have “a sovereign Montenegro at heart”. “We have to save Montenegro for future times. This is our last chance, because those who are currently in power have refused all our suggestions on calling a referendum”, he warned then.

How to achieve an independent Montenegro: “In order to achieve an independent state, which the world might unwillingly yet unconditionally recognize, the referendum question must be: are you in favor of an independent and internationally recognized Montenegro – and, naturally, that the majority of the answers is ‘yes’. That is the only way, and for a free referendum, a democratic environment is needed, for which all conditions now exist. There is no other way nor course. The original and now innovated Democratic Party of Socialist’s (DPS) platform is only a hoax for statehood for all those who are naïve at heart.”

About a referendum moratorium: “Independent Montenegro is the most valuable project of this generation of politicians. No calculations should be made with this project. Otherwise, the story of a referendum moratorium in Montengro for a period of one to two years is nothing new. This offer was first flirted with in private, the governments of Serbia and Montenegro secretly negotiated on it, they are negotiating on it even now. The idea of a moratorium is acceptable to the majority of the Serbian government. Unfortunately, it wasn’t born in Belgrade but in Podgorica, which even Mr. Kostunica admits.”

On the current government: “A coalition with three parties which have different program determinations, especially with regards to the issue of the state-legal status, can be a transitory and short-lived government, which was formed out of necessity and which has only one task, and that is to ensure and conduct democratic elections. Such a diverse coalition cannot govern. However, as we, obviously, aren’t part of the world, especially not the democratic one, except in domestic media, anything goes here. To rule is more important than anything else for Tito’s former exemplary youth officials in all three parties.”

The patriotic bloc: “Our offer is patriotic, honorable and above all honest, it’s high time and we suggest that the Montenegrin bloc has to be headed by Mr. Djukanovic. As Mr. Perovic said, Djukanovic has to raise Montenegro’s banner high in which he will write a single sentence, which goes ‘Independent and internationally recognized Montenegro’, and Montenegro’s liberals will unconditionally support that move.”

Predictions: “If DPS doesn’t win the majority in parliament, then they will have to seek Montenegro’s LS as its coalition partner. Our conditions will remain unchanged: the platform will be taken off the agenda, a referendum will be called immediately with a clearly stated question and we will have a state.”

He won’t be a minister: He denied that he would be the new Montenegrin police minister. “That is pure misinformation.”

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