Montenegro holds election which could determine EU path

Montenegro Holds Election Which Could Determine Eu Path
Woman casts ballot, © Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Share this article

By Predrag Milic, Associated Press

Montenegro is holding an early parliamentary election in a vote that could put an end to deep political divisions and years of instability that have hampered its route to joining the European Union.

Some 542,000 voters are eligible to choose among 15 parties and coalitions fielding candidates, ranging from groups that are staunchly pro-Western to ones that are pro-Serbian and pro-Russian.


Unlike in previous elections, when the focal point of campaigning was whether the country should be leaning towards the EU or closer to Russia and Serbia, the economy and living standards dominate the issues this time.

As she cast her ballot in the capital Podgorica, voter Tanja Bojovic, 38, said: “Finally, we are deciding on the quality of life, rather than on the East or West. I expect the victory of those who will lead us to a better life.”

Election billboard
Europe Now, led by Milojko Spajic, is expected to win the most votes – but not enough to govern alone (Risto Bozovic/AP)


The election is Montenegro’s first in more than 30 years that does not feature Milo Djukanovic, who served almost continuously as the country’s prime minister or president since 2001. He lost a presidential election in April and has now taken a back seat in national politics.

Polls and analysts predict Europe Now, a newly formed centrist movement, is most likely to win the most votes – but not enough seats in the 81-seat parliament to form a new government on its own.

The Democratic Party of Socialists, the party formerly led by Mr Djukanovic, experienced a decline in popularity after three decades of dominance but its new leadership is now looking for a chance to make a comeback.

Also running are candidates from the pro-Serb and pro-Russian Democratic Front, a party considered likely to emerge as a kingmaker in the formation of a future coalition government.


Election billboard
A woman walks past a pre-election billboard promoting the pro-Serbian and Russian coalition For the Future of Montenegro (Risto Bozovic/AP)

Mr Djukanovic led Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2006 and defied Russia to join Nato in 2017.

But an alliance dominated by parties seeking closer ties with Serbia and Russia ousted the Democratic Party of Socialists from power in the previous parliamentary elections, held in 2020.


The new ruling alliance, however, soon plunged into disarray, which stalled Montenegro’s path towards the EU and created a political deadlock.

The government fell in a no-confidence vote last year but remained in office for months because of the stalemate.

Montenegro, a picturesque Adriatic Sea country of about 620,000 people, was once viewed as the country first in line to join the EU from the Western Balkans.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by