Presidential elections in Montenegro

Presidential elections are held in Montenegro on Sunday, where seven candidates are competing.

These are the first presidential elections since the overthrow of incumbent Milo Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists, which had been in power for more than three decades, when in August 2020, the pro-Serb and pro-Russian Democratic Front, the Democrats and the URA movement won the majority in parliament.

The presidential elections are taking place in an environment of institutional and political crisis, when early parliamentary elections for June are announced two days before the holding of the presidential elections.

The well-known Montenegrin analyst and well-versed in legal issues, Velija Muric, estimates that this crisis is the result of political friction between supporters of independence and those who oppose it.

Mr. Muric says that Montenegro is divided into two groups, between those who identify as Montenegrins and those who see themselves as Serbs and oppose the country’s independence from the former federation with Serbia.

In this context, he points out the negative impact of the amendment of the Law on the President, which, according to him, had an even greater impact on the political situation in the country.

“The change of the Law on the President by the current majority in the parliament undoubtedly has a negative impact on political developments in the country. The Venice Commission criticized the law as a violation of the Constitution. This affected the growing polarization of society and the inability of the authorities to find a way out of the crisis”, says Mr. Muriq.

He estimates that this situation has diverted Montenegro from the European path and may have dangerous consequences for the country’s future.

Montenegro joined NATO in 2017, following a failed coup attempt a year earlier that Podgorica blamed on Russian agents and Serbian ultranationalists. Moscow rejected such claims as absurd.

Following the launch of Russian aggression in Ukraine last year, Montenegro has joined EU sanctions against Russia. The Kremlin in return placed Montenegro on the list of unfriendly states.

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