30/03/2009 - Results
Milo Djukanovic, who has dominated the Montenegrin political scene for the last twenty years made another landslide victory in the elections and retains his position as Head of Government for the fourth time running.
The coalition "European Montenegro" - formed by the Democratic Union of Socialists (DPS) the outgoing Prime Minister's party, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) led by Ranko Krivokapic, the Bosniak Party (BS) led by Rafet Husovic and the Croatian Citizens' Initiative – won the election with 51.1% of the vote, the absolute majority and took 49 of the 81 seats in Parliament. The main opposition party, the Socialist People's Party (SNP) led by Srdjan Milic won 16.1% of the vote (15 seats), New Serb Democracy (NOVA) 9% (8 seats), the Movement for Change (GZP) 6.1% (4 seats) and the coalition formed by the People's Party (NS) and the Serb Democratic Party 3% (2 seats). The Albanian-speaking parties are due to have three seats.
Turn out rose to 66% i.e. below the level recorded during the previous general elections on 10th September 2006 (- 5.37 points).
"The Montenegrins clearly chose to vote for a safe life, for economic prosperity and for a European future," declared the outgoing Prime Minister after the announcement of the first results. "These results show that voters think that the European Montenegro coalition is able to face the economic crisis. We shall do all we can to establish rapidly a responsible, competent government which will undertake confidently the economic and democratic reforms and which will take Montenegro forwards towards its goals of joining the EU and NATO," he added.
President of the Republic Filip Vujanovic said he wanted "the future opposition to work with the government in the interest of the citizens and above all with the aim of overcoming the effects of the world economic crisis."
The fragmented opposition forces could not win, since their division prevented them from planning the formation of a government coalition. "We warned people not to scatter their votes between the small parties but the opposition lost because the vote was too fragmented," indicated New Serb Democracy leader, Andrija Mandic. This analysis was confirmed by the editorialist Drasko Djuranovic who stressed that the Montenegrins have deemed the outgoing government coalition as being safer in the face of the international economic crisis. "This result will be seen in Europe as a sign of stability," he declared.
"Undoubtedly it is the most convincing victory in the last ten years by an outgoing coalition and the Democratic Union of Socialists," stressed Srdjan Darmanovic, professor at the faculty of political sciences of Podgorica adding, "now it is vital to see how the new government formed by the outgoing coalition manages the economic crisis and the obligations it has after integration into the EU and NATO. A result like this gives total freedom to the ruling coalition to lead the State. We are entering a period of major challenges"
Milo Djukanovic justified these early general elections because of his wish to improve Montenegro's preparations for accession to the EU – a subject which finds consensus amongst the political classes. The outgoing government coalition says it is in the best position to manage the effects of world economic crisis weighing over the country. The opposition parties rejected this argument saying that the government wanted to avoid facing the population's discontent and the decline in its popularity which the international economic crisis would only worsen.
GDP growth that rose to 8% in Montenegro last year is due to fall in 2009. The Prime Minister who says that his government will fight the crisis, save the economy, support companies and guarantee retirement pensions, declared that zero growth represented a certain amount of "success". He is due to announce austerity measures and negotiate a rescue plan with the IMF. "The lack of liquidity is the State's biggest problem," indicates economy professor Milenko Popovic. "The lack of liquidities is becoming increasingly evident. But our problems are structural because the system has favoured easy profit, speculation on the stock exchange and risky investments," confirms Deputy Prime Minister Zarko Rakcevic.
The country's most important company KAP, which works in the aluminium industry, employs 4,000 people and represents around half of Montenegro's exports and 20% of the country's GDP, is experiencing difficulties. Its managers have just admitted that they are unable to foresee the future of the company beyond the next few months. KAP owner, Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska did however refuse the 20 million euros which Milo Djukanovic's government offered him. Tourism, another very important sector for the country, is extremely affected by the international economic crisis.
Now 47 Milo Djukanovic entered politics early joining the Communist League of Yugoslavia in 1979 – this was the dominant political party in former Yugoslavia. Just over ten years later he founded the Democratic Socialist Party of Montenegro (DPS) with his friends Momir Bulatovic and Svetozar Marovic and took leadership of Montenegro in 1991 when he was 29 years old – the youngest Head of government across the whole of Europe. After having supported Slobodan Milosevic for many years Milo Djukanovic broke away from the Serb dictator in 1997, then later he broke away from Communist ideology. In 1998, he became President of the Republic of Montenegro and signed the Belgrade Agreements with Serbia on 14th March 2002 thereby uniting the two Serb and Montenegrin entities in the State of Serbia and Montenegro; this obliged him to wait at least three more years before being able to organise a referendum of which he had dreamt and which led his country back to independence. He became Prime Minister in May 2003, the referendum on 21st May 2006 in which Montenegro became an independent country comprised Milo Djukanovic's moment of glory. Four months later he easily won the general elections and started his third term in office as head of government, the first in independent Montenegro. Rumours regularly run with regard to his political retirement. Most analysts agree that Igor Luksic, outgoing Finance Minister will be appointed Deputy Prime Minister and that in all likelihood he will be Mr Djukanovic's successor. The name of Branimir Gvozdenovic, who works closely with Milo Djukanovic and who has been the craftsman of the country's privatisations has also been put forward as successor.
Source: Strategic Marketing Institute and The Monitoring Centre CEMI