Montenegro’s Presidential Race Goes to a Runoff between Djukanovic and Milatovic | Beta Briefing

Montenegro’s Presidential Race Goes to a Runoff between Djukanovic and Milatovic

Source: Beta
Archive / News | 20.03.23 | access_time 15:10

Milo Djukanovic (BetaPhoto/Hina)

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, the president of the Democratic Party of Socialists since 1998, and Jakov Milatovic of the Europe Now party, were the most successful candidates in the first round of the country’s presidential polls held on March 19, the latter poised to win the second ballot, according to initial surveys and analysts.

According to NGO election observers, Djukanovic won 35 percent of the vote, and Milatovic 29 percent. Trailing behind are the Democratic Front’s leader, Andrija Mandic, with 19 percent, and a Democrat candidate, Aleksa Becic, who won around 11 percent of the voter support.

Djukanovic lost nearly 57,000 votes compared to the 2018 election, which he won in the first round. In the second round he can count on the votes that a Social Democratic candidate, Draginja Stankovic Vuksanovic, won in the first round, and on stronger support by ethnic minorities.

Milatovic, running a non-parliamentary party established less than a year ago, is the likelier winner in the runoff election, as the Democratic Front, Dritan Abazovic’s URA and the Socialist People’s Party have promised to support him. The Democrat candidate, Aleksa Becic, too, suggested he might join Milatovic’s supporters.

The Montenegrin president said he was satisfied with the result, describing his as “a considerable advantage” over his rival in the second ballot. Djukanovic explained that 36 percent of the voter support was “a solid basis for advancement” in the next 14 days, and a good entry point for the runoffs on April 2.

Milatovic sees the election result as “a triumph by all those carrying the torch of freedom in Montenegro over the past 30 years,” promising to “send Djukanovic to political retirement” in the runoff election, as the Europe Now party defeated him in a local vote in Podgorica last year.

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