lunedì 17 ottobre 2016
Montenegro's pro-West ruling party has won the most votes in the small Balkan nation's parliamentary elections on October 16, according to unofficial results, but without securing an absolute majority. The tense vote was marked by the arrest of 20 people late on October 15 suspected of planning politically motivated attacks after the polls closed.
Montenegro's pro-West ruling party has won the most votes in the small Balkan nation's parliamentary elections on October 16, according to unofficial results, but without securing an absolute majority.
The tense vote was marked by the arrest of 20 people late on October 15 suspected of planning politically motivated attacks after the polls closed.
The independent CeMI election monitoring group said that with 100 percent of the vote counted, the pro-Western Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic had won around 41 percent of the vote.
Meanwhile, two opposition parties -- the Democratic Front alliance and the KLJUC (The Key) -- won around 20 and 11 percent, respectively. The monitoring group used its own vote count at the polling stations.
Official results by the state election authority were expected in the coming days.
The election results leave Djukanovic, who has led Montenegro as president or prime minister for more than 25 years, scrambling to build a majority in a deeply divided parliament.
In a midnight address to his supporters, Djukanovic said he would seek a coalition with parties of national minorities, Bosniaks, Croats, and Albanians and the Social Democracy party to secure enough seats to form a coalition.
"Immediately after the announcement of the official vote count, we will start negotiations ... We will form the government," Djukanovic told his supporters in the capital, Podgorica.
Voters turned out in record numbers, driving turnout to 73 percent, according to the Center for Democratic Transitions.
The vote was billed as a choice between Russia and the West.
Djukanovic’s party faced pro-Russian and pro-Serbian opposition groups that strongly oppose the country's NATO bid and path toward joining the European Union.
"Montenegro is continuing towards its European future. We will ratify NATO membership and complete EU accession talks by the end of the [fresh] mandate. We will bring new investments, improve living standards," Djukanovic told supporters during his midnight address.
WATCH: Montenegrins Go To The Polls
The opposition has accused Djukanovic of trying to scare voters by suggesting that chaos will prevail if his party loses the elections.
"The only chaos will be within Djukanovic's cabinet," said Andrija Mandic, leader of the pro-Russian Democratic Front, after he cast his ballot on October 16.
"I have no doubt that the opposition will show its strength and that the Democratic Front will become the future framework of the Montenegro government," Mandic added.
Meanwhile, National Police Director Slavko Stojanovic said on October 16 that the 20 people arrested late on October 15 came from neighboring Serbia.
Stojanovic said the group planned to "pick up automatic weapons" to attack state institutions, police, and possibly state officials.
He did not provide further details.
Montenegro's 530,000 registered voters voted for 17 lists, including a total of 34 parties.
Djukanovic’s party is expected to face a difficult task in forming a ruling coalition.
Montenegro is deeply divided between those who favor and oppose integration with the West. After seceding from Serbia in 2006, the country, which had been an ally of Russia, has taken a strong turn toward Euro-Atlantic integration.
The Democratic Front organized huge and at times violent anti-NATO protests late last year, calling for unrest if the government joins NATO without a referendum.
Strahinja Bulajic, a leading Democratic Front official, told AFP that if his party won the elections “we will abolish sanctions against Russia and develop the closest economic and political ties [with Moscow].”
Relations between Russia and Montenegro cooled in March 2014 when Montenegro joined the EU sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.
Its relationship with Moscow took another turn for the worse in May when Montenegro signed an accession agreement with NATO to become its 29th member in the coming months. The government and other member states have yet to ratify the agreement.
The opposition has demanded a referendum on the divisive issue. Opinion polls show that less than 40 percent of Montenegrins want to join the military alliance.
Analysts say the election campaign had focused less on the programs the parties had to offer and more on whether Djukanovic should stay or go.
The opposition accuses Djukanovic of corruption, nepotism, and economic mismanagement.
In 2003, Djukanovic was named a suspect in an Italian cigarette trafficking inquiry dating back to the 1990s. He denied the allegations and the Italian court dropped the case in 2009 because of his diplomatic immunity.
Djukanovic’s political ideology has undergone several transformations over the last two and a half decades in power. He first shed his communist, then nationalist, past to become a leading voice for EU and NATO integration.
Djukanovic had also accused the Kremlin of meddling in the election campaign by secretly financing the opposition parties in order to keep Montenegro from joining NATO.