Montenegro’s longest-serving president Djukanovic loses the presidential election
Montenegro’s decades-long serving president, Milo Djukanovic, lost the presidential election race to a 36 years old ex-banker, Jakov Milatovic, who has pledged to root out corruption and organised crime present in the country on Sunday, April 2.
Leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists, Milo Djukanovic, was defeated in a presidential run-off after holding power for 32 years when he was first appointed Prime Minister in February 1991. Djukanovic lost the election by a large margin to a political newcomer, Europe Now candidate Jakov Milatovic who had the support of ruling majority parties.
In the first round of the elections, on March 19, Djukanovic won 35.7% while Milatovic won 28.9%. In the second round of voting, polls put Milatovic far ahead of Djukanovic Milatovic with about 60% of the vote. The turnout was higher than that of the 2018 presidential elections, with 70,07% of the eligible voters showing up.
Djukanovic reacted to the defeat in a respectful manner, saying: “Montenegro chose, and I respect that choice. I wish Milatovic to be a successful president and that Montenegro continues to be a successful country”. His party, the former ruling DPS, has been following a downward trend since the August 2020 parliamentary elections when it lost power to a coalition of three former opposition blocs. Moreover, DPS lost control of 10 out of 14 municipalities, including the capital, Podgorica, last October.
Civic activist Stefan Djukic and many other analysts said Milatovic’s victory showed that Montenegrins want to see new faces rule at the top. “The old authorities no longer attract the masses as they once did. Anyone who still wants to compete in the political spectrum needs to change if they want to survive,” he said. Therefore, it was very likely for the pro-European economist to appeal to a large number of voters desperate for change after decades of rule by Djukanovic. He also added that after the fall of Djukanovic, it’s hard to expect another party to have such strong control among the electorate, which definitely opens up a new way for new political elites.
The Europe Now movement emerged as a rising political star focusing on the economy and reforms last September when it managed to oust Djukanovic’s DPS party in the 2020 parliamentary elections.