22/12/2002 - D-7
Eleven political personalities are officially candidates for the Montenegrin presidential election that is to take place on 22nd December. Filip Vujanovic, vice-president of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), out-going Prime Minister and new president of the Parliament since 5th November, is the great favourite especially since the main opposition movement, the Popular Socialist Party (SNP) decided to boycott the election on 30th November. Its leader Predrag Bulatovic, who was supposed to face the candidate appointed by the Social Democrat Party, has finally given up fighting for the supreme office.
The Popular Socialist Party, the Popular Party (NS) and the Serb Popular Party (SNS) are the three main opposition movements in Montenegro. United in a coalition called "Together for Change" during the early general elections on 20th October they won thirty seats in Parliament (against thirty-nine for the coalition "Democratic List for a European Montenegro" comprising the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), the Social Democrat Party (SDP), Popular Harmony and the Civic Party). The Montenegrin opposition is in favour of maintaining close links with Montenegro and Serbia.
In addition to this Miodrag Zivkovic leader of the Liberal Alliance (LSCG) announced just a few days ago that his movement would also abandon participation in the next presidential election. The liberal leader, whose party failed massively during the last general elections on 20th October when they only won four of the 73 seats in Parliament thereby losing its position as the lynchpin indispensable in the creation of the government, also declared that the MP's in the Liberal Alliance would no longer be taking part in the election.
Therefore on 22nd December Filip Vujanovic will be facing six unknown independent candidates and four politicians presented by small movements such as the Party of Yugoslav Communists, the Party of Natural Law and the ultra-nationalist Serb leader Vojislav Seselj's Radical Party (SRS), who was a candidate on 8th December in the presidential election of Serbia.
The Democratic Party of Socialists therefore preferred Filip Vujanovic to Svetozar Marovic, the other vice-president of the DPS to go out in conquest of the supreme office. Miodrag Lekic's candidature, with the support of the partners of the Democratic Party of Socialists was not retained just like the hypothesis forecast by some political analysts at one time, that the DPS would present a candidate from without the party.
The Popular Socialist Party obviously took a dangerous path by counting on the boycott. On the one hand the SNP endangered the coalition that it is part of in Parliament with its two political partners: Bozidar Bojovic (SNS) and Dragan Soc (NS) who admitted publicly that they did not understand Predrag Bulatovic's choice and called voters to go to vote in spite of this on 22nd December to choose their President. On the other hand the result that Filip Vujanovic succeeds in obtaining will influence the future of Montenegrin opposition. Since although two months after his party's landslide victory in the general elections the President of Parliament is still the easy victor of the presidential election, the future of the Montenegrin opposition will be comprised at least as it stands today.