11/09/2006 - Results
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic's party, the Democratic Union of Socialists (DPS) won the absolute majority in the general elections which took place in Montenegro on 10th September. This was the first election in the State that recently separated from Serbia to become independent (since 3rd June).
The Head of Government's party won 50% of the vote and 41 of the 81 seats in Parliament (unofficial results). The main opposition party, the Popular Socialist Party (SNP) led by Predrag Bulatovic which still has not officially acknowledged the referendum results of 21st May last, suffered a severe setback and won 15% of the vote (11 seats). The Movement for Change (GZP), a party created on 15th July in Cetinje by Nebojsa Medojevic, former chairman of the NGO Movement for Change, won 14% of the vote and also took 11 seats. For its part the Serb List (comprising the Serb Popular Party (SNS) led by Andrija Mandic, the Serb Radical Party (SRS) led by Tomislav Nikolic, the Democratic Unity Party (DSJ) which was recently created by Zoran Zizic, the Socialist Popular Party (NSS) led by Novo Vujosevic, the Serb National Council (SNV) led by Momcilo Vuksanovic and the Academic Alternative led by Vojin Grubac) won 12 seats. Finally, the alliance bringing together the Liberal Party (LP), led by Miodrag Zivkovic and the Bosnian Party (BS) led by Esef Husic won three seats.
The participation rate rose to 70% i.e. 16.6 points less than in the referendum on independence on 21st May last and 7.2 points less than during the last general elections on 20th October 2002.
"Victory is not the adequate word to express what we achieved today. It is a triumph for Montenegro's European policy", declared Prime Minister Djukanovic when the first results were announced. "These elections have shown that Montenegro is stable and firmly committed on the European road", he added. Over the last days of the electoral campaign the Head of Government was particularly confident. "I expect absolute victory. I want to be able to say that we have enough representatives in order to form a government", he maintained. "I am expecting these elections to be democratic and that they enable the appointment of a government that meets with the requirements that Montenegro must now fulfil", said Milo Djukanovic just after voting.
The opposition parties which fell victim to their differences of opinion were unable to recover from their failure in the referendum on 21st May last hence they did not succeed in throwing out the "Father of Independence" who is still bathing in the light of his success. The Popular Socialist Party was challenged by both by the Serb List, and by the Movement for Change. "The ruling coalition must go over to the opposition to enable the democratic process finally to start in Montenegro", declared Nebojsa Medojevic during the electoral campaign. Although his wish was not granted the new party did however make a breakthrough during these elections and may well turn out to be a true alternative over the next four years.
Milo Djukanovic the 44 year-old Prime Minister and former President of the Republic (1997-2002), has already a long career to his name. Entering politics in the 1980's he became Prime Minister when he was 29 in 1991. After having supported Slobodan Milosevic for a long time he broke off from the Serb dictator in 1997 then in the years that followed he also broke from communist ideology. In 1998, he took over the highest office of President of the Republic. On 14th March 2002 Milo Djukanovic signed the Belgrade Agreements with Serbia uniting the Serb and Montenegrin entities in the State of Serbia and Montenegro; this obliged him to wait at least three years before being able to organise the popular consultation of which he had been dreaming, thereby enabling his country to win back its independence. After becoming Prime Minister in May 2003 the referendum on 21st May 2006 comprised the peak of his political career, now confirmed by the electoral success on 10th September.
During the electoral campaign rumours said that the Prime Minister might withdraw from political life. "Until now I have not thought of it nor spoken to anyone about it", the Head of Government stressed adding however"an electoral campaign is not the best time for personal plans. I am very tired. It has been difficult to lead the country over the last fifteen years. If I allowed myself to be led by personal interests I would undoubtedly have questioned my career because personally I think I could have made much more pleasant choices", he continued. In the past Milo Djukanovic has mentioned a "career in business, especially tourism".
During the electoral campaign Milo Djukanovic also half mentioned the possibility of a government alliance with some opposition parties. "Europe is waiting on Montenegro. The government and opposition are focused on belonging to the Union. Might this lead to the government and opposition co-operating in Parliament? We might even be able to foresee co-operation on government level? Why not? We have shown that we want to widen the post-electoral coalition front with all of those who the share European values that we are promoting", he said at the end of July. At the time this proposal was firmly rejected by the main opposition party the Popular Socialist Party. "A grand coalition would stabilise Montenegrin society. Montenegro is unique because around 30% of the population is still in a dilemma about whether the country did the right thing by becoming independent. It would be a good thing if these people were represented in Parliament", maintains the director of the Institute for Strategic Studies Borut Grgic. According to another political analyst, Svetozar Jovicevic, the Popular Socialist Party would not enter government without negotiating certain things. "The SNP will probably demand that Milo Djukanovic be removed from the executive posts. But it remains to be seen how realistic such a request is", he declared.
The Prime Minister would like Montenegro to sign a stabilisation and association agreement with Brussels before the end of the year; this would be a first step towards possible integration into the EU. "It will be necessary to undertake major reform to adapt our criteria to those of the EU. We shall have to continue to attract foreign investors without whom economic growth would slow down. We need stability to ensure that Montenegro is Europeanised", stressed Milo Djukanovic on the day of the election.
These general elections that were monitored by over 2000 observers (including 200 foreigners) took place without any particular incident. However the day before voting fourteen people of the Albanian community (including three of American nationality) were arrested in the town of Tuzi by the police who suspected they were preparing terrorist acts.
General Elections Results of 10th September 2006 in Montenegro
Participation rate : 70%