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MONTENEGRO: Djukanovic’s Ousting Shows ‘Language of Division’ No Longer Works in Montenegro

Samir Kajosevic Podgorica BIRN April 3, 2023 12:49

Courtesy of Balkan Insight []

di Emanuele G. - martedì 4 aprile 2023 - 1688 letture

Analysts say Milo Djukanovics’s defeat by a political newcomer shows Montenegrins want ’new faces’ at the top, and that ’the old authorities no longer attract the masses as they once did’.

The defeat of Montenegro’s long-ruling strongman Milo Djukanovic in Sunday’s presidential elections has opened the way for new political elites in the country, analysts say.

The longest-serving leader in Europe lost the presidential elections by a large margin to 36-year-old political newcomer, the Europe Now candidate, Jakov Milatovic.

In the second round of the election, preliminary results put Milatovic far ahead on 60 per cent of the counted votes while Djukanovic won 40 per cent.

Milatovic had the support of the ruling majority parties, while Djukanovic was supported by the smaller opposition Bosniak Party and two ethnic Albanian parties.

Civic activist Stefan Djukic said Milatovic’s victory showed that Montenegrins want new faces at the top after almost three decades of rule by Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS.

“The old authorities no longer attract the masses as they once did. Anyone who still wants to compete in the political spectrum needs to change if they want to survive,” Djukic told BIRN.

“The language of division and insisting on national differences no longer produces a political effect,” he added.

Formed only last September, the Europe Now movement soon emerged as a political rising star, focusing on the economy and reforms.

The movement was founded by Milatovic and Milojko Spajic, both former ministers of the so-called expert government formed after the August 2020 parliamentary elections which ousted the DPS.

In October, the new movement won the mayoral races in the capital, Podgorica, and in the town of Danilovgrad.

DPS continues downward Trend

A supporter of Jakov Milatovic celebrates after the early results of the second round of the presidential elections in Podgorica, Montenegro.Photo: EPA-EFE/BORIS PEJOVIC

Belgrade University professor Milos Besic said on Sunday that after Djukanovic’s defeat, governments in Montenegro will be changed more easily in the future.

“The citizens have sent a clear message that they want changes and a new political elite which takes care of their needs. I am convinced that in any similar situation, citizens will change the government much more easily than was the case until now,” Besic told the public broadcaster.

“After their leader’s defeat, the DPS must initiate party reforms if they want to remain a political player in the country,” he added.

According to Sunday’s results, the former ruling DPS continued its downward trend among voters; Djukanovic was their last senior state official following the loss of parliamentary elections in August 2020.

The party that dominated Montenegro for almost three decades lost the August 2020 parliamentary elections to an uneasy coalition of three former opposition blocs.

The political fall in the fortunes of the party continued in the local elections last October when the DPS lost control of 10 out of 14 municipalities, including the capital, Podgorica.

On Sunday, Djukanovic said Montenegro should elect a new government in June 11 early elections in order to restore stability.

Montenegro is led by an outgoing minority government after Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic’s cabinet was ousted last August by the opposition and ruling Democratic Montenegro.

The previous so-called experts government was toppled last February by votes of the opposition and ruling civic movement URA and pro-Serbian Socialist People’s Party, SNP.

Stefan Djukic said that after the fall of Djukanovic, it’s hard to expect another party to have such strong control among the electorate.

“The deeper message of the presidential elections is the speed of voters’ punishment of politicians. Voters now belong far less to the parties, and are less loyal. So far that loyalty meant the citizens were there for the parties, instead of the other way around,” Djukic said.

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