By Chris King •
Updated: 03 Apr 2023 • 0:42
Image of Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic.
Credit: Wikipedia - By UNCTAD - Global Investment Game Changers Summit I 2018, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75720338
The thirty-year era of Milo Djukanovic as his country’s leader ended in Montenegro this Sunday, April 2. He had led the republic in various guises since 1991, but for the first time in his political career, Djukanovic suffered a personal defeat in the elections. He lost to a ‘random candidate – economist Yakov Milatovich, who only entered politics three years ago.
To the main slogan of Djukanovic’s election campaign: “Lovely. Who else?”, the people of Montenegro answered: “Anyone, but not Milo!”, as reported by tass.ru.
Confirmation that, for the people of Montenegro, Djukanovic’s defeat was long overdue was seen in the massive spontaneous celebratory marches across the country. People launched fireworks, lit firecrackers, and chanted insulting shouts against their former leader.
According to observers, the former Minister of Economic Development in the government of Zdravko Krivokapic, Yakov Milatovic, a representative of the Europe Now movement, won the Montenegrin presidential election with about 60 per cent of the vote, while Djukanovic won 40 per cent.
However, Milatovich’s victory will not affect the pro-Western foreign policy of Montenegro. While still a minister, Milatovich supported the imposition of sanctions against Russia, and in an interview with Western media he promised to fully implement all international obligations assumed, including freezing the property of Russian citizens.
Milatovic is a pro-Western politician; he considered joining the EU a priority for the country, as well as fulfilling all the country’s obligations to NATO.
In his speech after the results of the elections, Milatovic promised that before the end of his presidential term, Montenegro would join the European Union. He also stated that the rule of law, the economy, and European integration, will become priorities for him.
Clearly referring to Djukanovic’s antagonism with Serbia, Milatovic also assured that the era of strife with neighbouring countries is a thing of the past, along with the Djukanovic regime.
Milo Djukanovic, who, after the results of the second round, nevertheless gained a significant 40 per cent of the votes, does not intend to give up. He will continue his struggle for power.
Before the presidential elections, Djukanovic dissolved parliament, calling new parliamentary elections for 11 June. It is on June 11 that Djukanovic will try to retake the post of prime minister, playing on the contradictions of his opponents and using the long-term honed party mechanisms of his party – the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) of Montenegro.
However, even if the DPS loses, Djukanovic will enter parliament and receive parliamentary immunity. Some analysts believe that he will need it very much in connection with the numerous accusations of contract killings, smuggling, and corruption by his political opponents.
In the early hours of Monday 3, Djukanovic admitted defeat and congratulated his rival Jakov Milatovic on his victory. Questions from opposition journalists about whether he would run in parliamentary elections on June 11 as party leader were silenced by shouts and insults from his supporters.
The journalist tried four times to ask a question, shouting over the crowd, to which Djukanovic replied: “I can’t hear you.” After that, he left the podium without answering the question that had been posed.
After becoming the head of the country in 1991, Djukanovic served as prime minister five times and was also president twice – from 1998 to 2002 and from 2018 to the present.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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