Pro-EU group set to win snap parliamentary elections in Montenegro

A recently formed centrist group that supports Montenegro’s EU membership won Sunday’s early parliamentary elections in the small Balkan country, but not enough to form a government, independent election observers say. Europe Now won 26% of the vote, while former President Milo Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists-led alliance won 23%, according to pollsters from the Center for Democratic Transition.

Pollster estimates and representative samples of polling stations determined the unofficial results. The state election commission will reveal the official election results in the coming days. Sunday’s vote was expected to overcome deep political differences and years of instability that have hampered the small NATO member country’s EU membership. Without a clear winner and tough coalition talks, political instability will undoubtedly persist. “Tomorrow is a new day,” said Europe Now leader Milojko Spajic. We will sit with everyone who shares our values ​​and will not be pompous. We will form a pro-EU government. 542,000 voters could choose from 15 pro-Western, pro-Serbian and pro-Russian parties and coalitions. Turnout was just over 56%, the lowest since Montenegro gained independence from Serbia in 2006. Analysts say turnout was low because voters are fed up with regular elections that change little in municipal politics . Since 2001, Djukanovic has served as Prime Minister or President of Montenegro. He resigned from national politics after losing the April presidential election.

After three decades in power, the Democratic Party of Socialists, led by Djukanovic, has lost popularity and has a new leadership seeking a comeback. According to independent pollsters, the pro-Serbian alliance For the Future of Montenegro won 15% of the vote on Sunday and became a coalition government kingmaker. Political analyst Ana Nenezic, executive director of the Center for Monitoring and Research, said the economy “is good for society” but politicians’ pay rise promises “are not based on a real economy “. “I will be really surprised if we get a politically stable government,” she said, citing the latest election estimates.

Djukanovic led Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2006 and resisted Russia’s NATO membership in 2017. The Democratic Party of Socialists was defeated in the 2020 parliamentary elections by a coalition of pro -Russians. However, the new government coalition collapsed, blocking Montenegro’s EU membership and creating a political stalemate. The government survived a no-confidence vote last year due to a stalemate. Montenegro, a beautiful Adriatic Sea nation of 620,000 people, was once considered the first Western Balkan republic to join the EU.

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