20/10/2002 - Results
Milo Djukanovic's coalition are the victors of the general elections that were organised early on 20th October - with an absolute majority of 75 seats in Parliament. The "Democratic List for a European Montenegro" won 47.7% of the votes cast and 39 seats, taking the lead over its main rival, the coalition "Together for Change" led by Slobodan Milosevic's former ally, Pedrag Bulatovic of the Popular Socialist Party (SNP) that obtained 37.8% of the vote and 30 seats. The Liberal Alliance (LSCG) only won 4 seats. The other movements that took part in these elections (the Patriotic Coalition for Yugoslavia created by Slobodan Milosevic's supporters, comprising the Yugoslav Left (JUL) and led by the ex-dictator's wife Mira Markovic and the ultra-nationalist leader, Vojislav Seselj's Radical Serb Party (SRS); "Albanian's First", a minority Montenegrin Albanian speaking coalition, two Muslim coalitions, a communist coalition and two small parties) will not be represented in Parliament. Participation reached 77.2% and is higher than the opinion polls had forecast. Three thousand observers of whom 90 were from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) followed the election's progress.
On the announcement of the results President Milo Djukanovic, leader of the "Democratic List for a European Montenegro" declared "This is a victory for Montenegro taking it towards Europe". The president added that Montenegro would apply the agreement signed on 14th March in Belgrade hailing the birth of the State of Serbia and Montenegro. He hoped that for his country this victory would be synonymous to newly found stability and a sign of encouragement to their European partners and investors. Although he is not obliged to Milo Djukanovic is to offer the "Albanian's First" coalition to join the government. The Albanian speaking minority represents 7% of the Montenegrin population.
The "Democratic List for a European Montenegro" partly owes its victory to the defeat of the Liberal Alliance whose defection from Filip Vujanovic's government and their recent alliance with the coalition "Together for Yugoslavia", an alliance that caused the parliamentary crisis in the first place and that led to these early elections, do not seem to have been understood by the voters.
Voters did not therefore punish Milo Djukanovic for having signed the Belgrade agreement. The President in favour of independence - who justified his signature by the necessity to subscribe to the idea of the European Union and the inclusion of a clause that said that Montenegro might aspire to independence after a three year period - was followed by the Montenegrins, who are in favour of independence by a wide majority according to all the opinion polls. Since independence is no longer a topical subject the economic and social political situations comprised the main themes of the electoral campaign. In the end this enabled the various movements to distinguish themselves from one another, each offering almost identical solutions to escape from the economic quagmire.
A heavy task now lies ahead of the man who has promised to lead the Montenegrins to independence in three years time. The country's economic situation is in dire need of reform: the GNP has dropped by 60% over the last 10 years and more than 30% of the working population is unemployed. But the victory of Milo Djukanovic's coalition "Democratic List for a European Montenegro" is however a good start since his presidential mandate will be at stake on 22nd December next.
General Election Results 20th October 2002:
Participation : 77.2%
Source Agence France Presse