Friday

21st Sep 2018

Montenegro's Dukanovic battling to stay in power

  • This weekend's parliamentary elections are seen as the most important poll since the picturesque Balkan republic voted to split from Serbia a decade ago. (Photo: SarahTz)

Montenegro’s ruling social democrats (DPS) won parliamentary elections on Sunday (16 October), according to an unofficial count, but failed to gather sufficient support to continue to govern alone.

The opposition also claimed to have obtained enough seats to form the next government.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Montenegro's long-standing prime minister Milo Dukanovic in a meeting with MEPs earlier this year. (Photo: European Parliament)

Political turmoil could cast a shadow on the small Balkan republic’s Nato and EU ambitions.

According to Associated Press, the DPS of prime minister Milo Dukanovic won 41 percent of the ballot, while two opposition coalitions - the Democratic Front and Key - gathered 20 percent and 11 percent respectively.

Small ethnic minority parties and the former ruling coalition partner SDP, which fell out with DPS in January, also made it to the 81-seat parliament.

Partial official results are expected for Monday, while complete results will be published on Tuesday.

The election was marred by the arrest of 20 people suspected of planning politically motivated armed attacks after the polls closed on Sunday.

A prosecutor said those arrested came from Serbia and planned to attack state institutions, police and possibly state officials after the vote.

Election observers furthermore said they would file complaints over numerous allegations of fraud.

DPS has been part of the government since 1991. The current prime minister and DPS leader, Milo Dukanovic, has served either as prime minister or as president for most of that time.

The Democratic Front is a coalition of parties whose main goal is to oust Dukanovic from power.

Last October, the alliance staged anti-government protests demanding that an interim government is formed to organise the elections in a fair way.

October’s protests eventually culminated in a violent riot, where Montenegrin police used tear gas and armed vehicles to chase away demonstrators.

DPS and its minor coalition partner, SDP, split in January over the issue of free and fair elections.

Dukanovic told EUobserver in July that Russia was actively working with “strongholds” of anti-EU and anti-Nato sentiment in the Western Balkans in order to compete for influence.

The Democratic Front opposes the government’s pro-Western policies, especially the effort to join Nato, but denies links to Russia.

The Balkan republic of 650,000 signed in May an accession protocol with Nato, and is set to become the 29th member of the military alliance as soon as its current members have ratified the document.

Interview

EU warned of Russian 'peril' in Western Balkans

Russia is actively working with “strongholds” of anti-Western sentiment in the Balkans to compete for influence, Montenegro’s prime minister has warned.

Opinion

EU should brace for a more authoritarian Erdogan

The new blend of religious nationalism will be more anti-West and anti-EU, as Brussels has anything but leverage on Turkey. The first signs of this strong rhetoric are already visible.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us