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Montenegro - Presidential Election

As expected victory for the main favourite Filip Vujanovicduring the presidential election in Montenegro

As expected victory for the main favourite Filip Vujanovicduring the presidential election in Montenegro

11/05/2003 - Results

After the invalidation of two presidential elections, of which he was easily the victor within just five months, Filip Vujanovic was finally elected President of the Republic of Montenegro on 11th May.

The candidate of the ruling coalition in Montenegro, "The Democratic List for a European Montenegro" that brings together the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), the Social Democrat Party (SDP), Popular Alliance and Civic Party, and the Prime Minister's right-hand man (and former President of the Republic) won more than 65% of the votes cast according to estimations given by Zaltko Vujovic, director for the NGO, the Centre for Election Supervision (CEMI).

His adversaries Miodrag Zivkovic, the Liberal Alliance candidate (LSCG) and Dragan Hajdukovic, an independent ecologist physician won 30% and 40% of the vote respectively. The participation rate was slightly lower than in the presidential elections on 22nd December and 9th February, bordering on 48% of those registered; but this did not prevent the election from being validated, since the restrictive obligation of a minimal 50% participation level had been deleted from the Montenegrin electoral law. The many hundreds of NGO's and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), who were responsible for observing this presidential election announced that were no irregularities to announce.

Filip Vujanovic, who is 49 years old, has therefore reached the supreme office. This lawyer started his political career in 1993 as Minister of Justice (1993-95), then Home Minister (1996-98) in the government led by Milo Djukanovic. In 1997, when the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) split into two factions, one led by Momir Bulatovic, a close ally of the former Serb President Slobodan Milosevic, and the other led by Milo Djukanovic, Filip Vujanovic remained loyal to the latter. In 1998, he was appointed Prime Minister, a position he was to occupy until the last general elections in October last year before becoming President of Parliament. "The Montenegrin population's priorities include all activities that lead Montenegro towards the European Union , the way towards the Partnership for Peace (NATO) as well as the economic and social reforms," declared the new President as soon as the results were announced. During his campaign he emphasised his desire to organise a referendum on the country's independence "in order that citizens might express themselves on the future they want for Montenegro". The Belgrade Agreement, that led to the birth of the State of Serbia and Montenegro on 4th February in replacement of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, authorises both the Serb and Montenegrin entities to express themselves by referendum for separation and therefore for independence after three years of life together. Filip Vujanovic maintained that he would lead a European policy and that he would respect the Belgrade Agreement "including, of course, the measure concerning the referendum."

In spite of their positions that are also pro-independence the two adversaries of the coalition "Democratic List for a European Montenegro" candidate had no hope of disquieting the main favourite in the presidential election. "I can assure you that as President I will know how to make Montenegro into an independent State, developing with Serbia within a kind of European Union," Dragan Hajdukovic, the independent ecologist physician, had declared. For his part the Liberal Alliance candidate (LSCG), Miodrag Zivkovic, maintained that he would re-establish law and order. Promises that were not sufficient to cause Filip Vujanovic any worry.

After a five month gap with no Head of State, Montenegro finally managed to find a President of the Republic. The election of Filip Vujanovic consolidates the Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic's position, who since his rise to power has undertaken a vast programme of economic reforms in order to lead his country on the road to joining the European Union.
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN
The authors
Corinne Deloy
Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).
Fondation Robert Schuman
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