Montenegro has received a letter by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg formally inviting the country to begin the process of accession to NATO. "According to the procedure, receiving of the invitation letter will be followed by the opening of accession negotiations which will last several months. Following their completion, alliance member states are expected to sign a protocol on Montenegro's accession and begin the ratification process. Completion of the protocol will enable Montenegro to take part in most NATO meetings" - says the official government website.
Country's accession to NATO as the 29th member appears inevitable in the nearest future. However, most of Montenegrin citizens oppose this process. Therefore, mass rallies have been continuing in the country for several months. Today the protesters are holding yet another one. Representatives of the Montenegrin opposition coalition "Democratic Front" declare their dissatisfaction with corruption and totalitarian regime, some protesters are angered by the government's plans to join NATO. Protesters believe that this issue has to be put to a referendum.
Montenegro's accession issue has created a deep rift in society. It would be a truly democratic decision if the authorities held a referendum. According to opinion polls results, in this case the government will fail to gain the majority of votes. Thus it's impossible to speak of "vox populi". The political elite supports joining the alliance because they believe it will create a good investment climate. According to Milo Djukanovic, "experience of all member countries shows a sharp inflow of investments after joining NATO." "It is a crucial factor for our economy. We are a tourist country so stability is of particular importance for us", - says Djukanovic. In addition, a lot of experts believe that Djukanovic wants to join NATO because it will further legitimize his regime. He is afraid of losing control of the country where the same party and the same people were in power for over 25 years.
Next parliamentary elections in the country are to be held soon. Therefore, joining NATO could seriously affect voting results and PM Djukanovic's fate. According to him, "if the opposition parties win the elections, the decision on accession to NATO will not pass through Parliament."
The political situation in the country is rapidly heating up, because people are against joining the alliance and demand resignation from PM Djukanovic and government and vote for holding early elections.