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Montenegrin Parties Revamp Political Scene Ahead of Elections

The leaders of Montenegro’s ruling Democratic Front announced at the weekend that their political alliance has ceased to exist after 11 years.

They said on Saturday that pro-Serbian politicians Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic’s New Serbian Democracy and Democratic People’s Party will go to polls as a coalition, while Nebojsa Medojevic’s Movement for Changes will compete on its own.

“After [veteran Montenegrin leader] Milo Djukanovic’s electoral defeat, we decided to continue our political struggle individually. There is no conflict between us, but the constituent parties decided to take different paths towards the same goal,” Mandic told a press conference.

After the pro-Serbian bloc led by the Democratic Front took 32 per cent of the votes in the August 2020 parliamentary elections, it continued its electoral success by winning mayoralties in the towns of Niksic, Budva, Tivat, Mojkovac, Berane and Pljevlja.

In the presidential elections in April this year, Mandic won 19.3 percent, but newly-formed Europe Now movement candidate Jakov Milatovic defeated him and Djukanovic to became the country’s new president.

The executive director of NGO CEMI, Ana Nenezic, said that the Democratic Front’s political end was expected after Mandic’s relatively poor results in the presidential elections.

“Bearing in mind that this result was not satisfactory for the bloc, it’s politically logical for them to reposition themselves and return to their initial radical positions,” Nenezic told BIRN.

After Djukanovic’s resignation as the leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS on April 6, political changes have continued in the pro-Montenegrin opposition bloc.

On May 12, the DPS said it will contest the elections in a coalition with the Social Democrats, the Liberal Party and the Democratic Union of Albanians, stressing that its electoral list will be composed of young party officials.

The list will be led by interim DPS leader Danijel Zivkovic and vice presidents Ivan Vukovic and Jevto Erakovic, while former Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and ex-ministers Petar Ivanovic, Predrag Boskovic, Suzana Pribilovic, Branislav Gvozdenovic and Damir Sehovic will not run in the elections.

While the DPS was in power they were accused of abuse of office and corruption, and Special State Prosecution filed charges against some of them.

On May 13, opposition Social Democratic Party leader Rasko Konjevic announced he will quit politics after the early elections, also saying that young officials will lead the party’s electoral list.

Civic movement URA, part of the ruling coalition, announced that its MPs Bozena Jelusic and Suada Zoronjic will not be on its electoral list, but newly-appointed vice-president Milena Vukovic Sekulovic will run.

Nenezic said that the political veterans’ withdrawal from the electoral contest was the only way to stop the decline in support for opposition parties.

“After the previous three election cycles in which the voters sent them a clear message through a continual drop in support and votes, the opposition and some ruling parties have understood that any further involvement of veterans means a further drop in public support,” Nenezic said.

Montenegro’s early elections are scheduled for June 11 and the deadline for submitting electoral lists to the State Electoral Commission is May 16.

Source: Balkan Insight