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Montenegro Leader Faces Fresh Battle in Capital

  • Source:www.balkaninsight.com
  • Date:2018-04-17 07:20

After a tight victory in the presidential race in Podgorica, Montenegro's leader, Milo Djukanovic, faces yet another test in the city’s local elections on May 27.

Still awaiting the final results of the Sunday's presidential election, both the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists party, DPS, and the opposition are hurriedly turning attention to the local election in Podgorica, which could be the most important poll this year.

Veteran leader Milo Djukanovic won 54 per cent of the votes in the presidential election on April 15, easily beating six opposition candidates.

However, preliminary results of the election in Podgorica gave him an advantage of less than 2,000 votes there compared to opposition runners.

Opposition parties in the April 15 vote united around the independent candidate, businessman Mladen Bojanic, who went on to win 33.4 per cent of the votes.

They have already started their campaign for the local election in the capital.

The first opposition coalition agreement between two moderate parties, the URA movement and the Democrats [Demokrate] was agreed on April 2, in the middle of the presidential campaign.

Critics, however, said it showed only formal rather than substantial support for Bojanic as a joint opposition candidate.

Political analyst Samir Kajosevic said the results of the presidential election in Podgorica show that the opposition has little time to find a sustainable model that will annul the difference of fewer than 2,000 votes in a month.

“The difference between Djukanovic and his opponents would probably have been smaller if the opposition parties had engaged their entire party networks in supporting Bojanic, and if they’d worked harder to reduce the number of abstainers,” Kajosevic told BIRN on Monday.

In the presidential election, more than a third of the country’s 530,000 registered voters did not turn out.

“Due to their poor experience with the presidential election, the opposition is unlikely to run with joint election list, but probably in three groups and later, through negotiations, try to oust Djukanovic and the DPS in the capital, as was already done in some other municipalities,” Kajosevic said.

“Meanwhile, Djukanovic has already said that he will seek the help of minority parties in the capital,” he noted.

Analysts say the Podgorica election will reveal whether the DPS is set remain equally strong in both the cities and the countryside, or whether its main base will be the country areas – in which case it might have to concede power in the cities to opposition parties.

Data from two NGOs that monitor elections, CEMI and CDT, show Djukanovic’s DPS lagging behind the opposition in urban areas like Podgorica.

In the last local election in the city in 2014, the DPS struggled to secure a majority in coalition with small ethnic Albanian and Bosniak parties.

Meanwhile, over 2015 and 2016, the DPS lost its majority in some other important towns in the country, allowing the opposition to take power in the resorts of Kotor, Budva and Herceg Novi, and in Berane, the biggest town in the north.

Some in Montenegro compare the situation ahead of the election in the capital with that in Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia in the mid-Nineties.

The strongman Milosevic had ruled Serbia unchallenged since the late-1980s. But, in late 1996, in a sign that the mood was changing, the opposition won important victories in local elections in most major cities, including Belgrade.

Those votes were a prelude to the outcome of the September 2000 presidential elections in Serbia, when the united opposition’s candidate, Vojislav Kostunica, defeated Milosevic, leading to the collapse of the then regime.

Read more:

Djukanovic Wins Montenegro’s Presidential Election

Montenegro’s Powerful ex-PM Hopes For New Election Win

  • Source:www.balkaninsight.com
  • Date:2018-04-17 07:20
Key Words:opposition,election,presidential,parties,DPS
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