Montenegro voters oust president after 30 years in power

Montenegro voters oust president after 30 years in power

Montenegro’s longtime president Milo Đukanović conceded defeat on Sunday to Jakov Milatović, a 37-year-old banker who promised to hurry up the nation’s accession talks with the European Union.

Early ends in the run-off ballot for head of state confirmed Đukanović, who first got here to energy as prime minister 32 years in the past, misplaced with simply 40 per cent of the vote to round 60 for Milatović. The younger politician’s Europe Now! motion was based simply 4 months in the past however shortly galvanised voter discontent over alleged corruption and state seize.

“I’m satisfied that beginning tonight Montenegro is within the full sense of the phrase free,” Milatović mentioned on Sunday. Đukanović wished him success and mentioned he would respect the choice of the residents of the Balkan nation, which broke away peacefully from Serbia in 2006.

The exit of Đukanović, an iconic determine in Balkan politics, represents a sea change in Montenegro, the smallest nation within the area with a inhabitants of simply 620,000, the place the 61-year-old veteran has been president or prime minister for practically all the previous three many years. His Socialist celebration has been firmly in management for the reason that Eighties.

Newly elected president of Montenegro Jakov Milatović © AFP through Getty Photos

As one in all his final acts in workplace Đukanović known as parliamentary elections for June 11, a vote that can now decide the way forward for his celebration as effectively, with the presidential setback probably a harbinger of deeper change in Podgorica.

Miloš Damjanović, an analyst for the BIRN consultancy in Belgrade, informed the Monetary Instances that the heavy defeat of the president was “wind within the sails of centrist, pro-EU events” and an “alternative for a brand new begin for Montenegro”.

He added that the Socialist celebration would most likely be weakened considerably within the upcoming parliamentary polls.

Milatović had the backing of the influential Serbian Orthodox Church in addition to the help of a number of pro-Serbia events. The brand new president entered high-level politics two years in the past when he was chosen as economic system minister on the peak of the coronavirus pandemic and co-engineered reforms of wages and taxes.

Adnan Ćerimagić of the European Stability Initiative in Berlin mentioned that with the success of Milatović, Montenegro, which joined Nato in 2017 however continues to be negotiating its EU membership, was now “the EU’s greatest credibility take a look at”.

“If the EU is unable to maneuver past empty views for Montenegro, probably the most superior accession nation, dependable Nato companion, with full overseas coverage alignment — how will it ever be with different nations?”

Whereas Croatia joined the bloc in 2013, different Balkan nations stay in several levels of the method of becoming a member of: Serbia and Montenegro are the one ones at the moment in accession talks; Albania and North Macedonia are proper in the beginning of negotiations; and Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina haven’t but been given official candidate standing.

Ćerimagić mentioned Brussels ought to put together to supply Podgorica full membership by 2027, when each the EU’s present price range interval and the brand new authorities’s time period expire.

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