Montenegro holds parliamentary vote to secure reforms and EU path

PODGORICA (Reuters) – Montenegrins go to early general elections on Sunday. Many hope a new government will be installed to implement economic reforms, improve infrastructure and bring the NATO member closer to European Union membership.

The parliamentary vote is the first in the tiny former Yugoslav republic since Milo Djukanovic, former leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), lost the presidential election in April and resigned after 30 years in power.

Polling stations for the 540,000 voters open at 07:00 (05:00 GMT) and close at 20:00 (18:00 GMT).

According to the State Electoral Commission, 15 parties and alliances will fight for 81 seats in parliament in the country of just over 620,000 people.

Over the years, Montenegro has been divided between those who identify as Montenegrins and those who identify as Serbs, opposed to the country’s secession from the union with neighboring Serbia in 2006.

Political cartoons about world leaders

A poll by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) last month showed that the pro-European Movement Europe Now (PES) party, which also favors closer ties with Serbia, came out on top with 29.1% of the vote.

Jakov Milatovic of the PES won the presidential election in April.

During the election campaign, PES leader and former finance minister Milojko Spajic pledged to revitalize an economy plagued by mismanagement and bribery that is heavily dependent on revenues from Adriatic coastal tourism.

“We’re the only ones talking about infrastructure, about tax reforms,” ​​he said last week.

In the CEDEM poll, the pro-EU party DPS under incumbent leader Danijel Zivkovic came second with 24.1% support, while the Serbian-nationalist, pro-Russian Democratic Front (DF) came first with 13.2% finished third.

Zivkovic said his party will seek to end a period of political paralysis in which two governments that came to power as a result of protests backed by the influential Serbian Orthodox Church in 2020 were overthrown by no-confidence votes.

Montenegro is an EU candidate but first needs to root out corruption, nepotism and organized crime.

In 2017, the country joined NATO, a year after a botched coup attempt that the government at the time blamed on Russian agents and Serbian nationalists. Moscow dismissed such claims as absurd, and the Serbian government denied involvement.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, unlike Serbia, Montenegro joined the EU in sanctions against Moscow. The Kremlin put Montenegro on the list of unfriendly states.

(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade and Stevo Vasiljevic in Podgorica; Editing by Helen Popper)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

Brian Ashcraft is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button