Montenegro holds snap parliamentary vote that might decide its EU path


PODGORICA, Montenegro — PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Montenegro is holding an early parliamentary election Sunday, a vote that might present indications of whether or not the small NATO member within the Balkans will overcome the deep political divisions and instability which have hampered its path to becoming a member of the European Union.

Some 542,000 voters are eligible to decide on amongst 15 events and coalitions fielding candidates, starting from teams which can be staunchly pro-Western to ones which can be pro-Serbian and pro-Russian.

The election can be Montenegro’s first in additional than 30 years that doesn’t function Milo Djukanovic, who served virtually repeatedly because the nation’s prime minister or president since 2001. He misplaced a presidential election in April and has taken a again seat in politics.

Polls and analysts predict that the centrist Europe Now motion, led by monetary skilled Milojko Spajic and the present president, Jakov Milatovic, is almost definitely to be the highest vote-getter however with out sufficient seats in parliament to kind a brand new authorities by itself.

Spajic, 37, a former finance minister who in 2021 created financial reforms that included will increase in common wages, now guarantees additional wage hikes, in addition to a seven-hour working day as a substitute of the present eight hours.

“I’m very fascinated about realizing the plan that I offered to the residents,” Spajic, who might turn into the nation’s subsequent prime minister, mentioned at one in every of his pre-election rallies. “I’ll resign if I fail to comprehend it.”

The Democratic Social gathering of Socialists, the get together previously led by Djukanovic, skilled a decline in recognition after three a long time of dominance and has new management searching for an opportunity to make a comeback.

Social gathering chief Danijel Zivkovic accuses the nation’s present authorities of jeopardizing Montenegro’s EU path and guarantees to unblock it if DPS returns to energy. Montenegro, a picturesque Adriatic Sea nation of about 620,000 folks, was as soon as thought of the primary in line to affix the EU from the Western Balkans.

Djukanovic led Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2006 and defied Russia to affix NATO in 2017. An alliance dominated by events searching for nearer ties with Serbia and Russia ousted DPS from energy within the earlier parliamentary elections in 2020.

The brand new ruling alliance, nonetheless, quickly plunged into disarray, which stalled Montenegro’s path towards the EU and created a political impasse. The federal government fell in a no-confidence vote final yr however has remained in workplace for months due to the stalemate.

The Sunday election may even function the United Reform Motion coalition that features performing Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic, and a pro-Serbian and Russian coalition referred to as For the Way forward for Montenegro.

Abazovic, who offered himself because the anti-mafia chief in a rustic ripe with crime and corruption, additionally guarantees a number of steps for enhancing voters’ dwelling requirements.

“Once we defeat the mafia, there can be (cash) for everybody,” Abazovic mentioned just lately. “We are going to set up a justice fund, which might return the stolen funds to the funds of the state and all residents.”

The lukewarm election marketing campaign was shaken this week by Abazovic and Europe Now get together chief Spajic buying and selling accusations over South Korean “crypto king” Do Kwon.

Kwon was arrested in Montenegro in March on a world arrest warrant together with one other South Korean citizen in reference to a $40 billion crash of his Terraform Labs’ cryptocurrency that devastated retail traders all over the world.

Each South Korea and the US have requested his extradition from Montenegro, the place he’s on trial for allegedly utilizing a solid passport.

Abazovic has claimed that Spajic had shut enterprise contacts with Do Kwon.

Spajic referred to as Abazovic’s allegations “political persecution” and accused him of abusing Montenegro’s establishments whereas creating an election week controversy “out of worry of shedding energy.”

Political analyst Daliborka Uljarevic mentioned that such claims and counter-claims proved that the primary election concern is not becoming a member of the EU however “financial populism,” evidenced by a lot of the events promising larger wages.

“That (EU) path has stopped. We’re not transferring in direction of the EU. The EU was neither a subject nor a pre-election promise, it was fully misplaced in that half,” Uljarevic mentioned.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.