Montenegro’s snap election on June 11 witnessed the Europe Now Movement (PES) securing a substantial 25.5 percent of the vote, as reported by the Center for Monitoring and Research (CEMI), which based its findings on a projection derived from a sample of polling stations.
The former ruling party, the pro-European Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), took the second spot with 23.8 percent of voter support. Meanwhile, the conservative alliance known as “For the Future of Montenegro,” led by the pro-Serbian and pro-Russian Democratic Front, managed to garner 14.7 percent of the vote.
These pollster projections closely aligned with pre-election forecasts. Another pro-EU coalition, consisting of the Democratic Party and the URA movement led by outgoing Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic, secured the fourth position with 12.3 percent of the vote, according to CEMI, which based its assessment on 90.5 percent of ballots counted in a representative sample of 400 polling stations throughout the country.
In the June 11 election, Montenegro witnessed a competition among fifteen parties and alliances vying for 81 seats in the country’s unicameral parliament. The election held promise for stability after almost three years of political turmoil, during which two governments were ousted.
Voter turn out
The voter turnout appeared to be relatively low, just passing the 50 percent mark as of 7 p.m. local time, one hour before the polls closed. This marked a significant decrease from the 76 percent turnout observed in 2020. Official results are anticipated to be announced in the coming days.
This election follows the loss of the presidential election in April by former DPS leader Milo Djukanovic, who stepped down after three decades in power. Montenegro remains divided between those identifying as Montenegrins and those who consider themselves Serbs, objecting to the country’s separation from neighboring Serbia in 2006.
The outcome of the election could significantly impact Montenegro’s candidacy for European Union membership and the implementation of crucial economic reforms. To secure EU membership, Montenegro needs to intensify its efforts in combating corruption, nepotism, and organized crime.
Notably, the previous two governments, elected following protests in 2020 and supported by the influential Serbian Orthodox Church, collapsed due to votes of no confidence, with the most recent occurring in August. Montenegro joined NATO in 2017 and has supported Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in February 2022, earning a spot on Moscow’s list of unfriendly states.
A poll by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in May indicated that PES was leading with 29.1 percent of the vote. PES also advocates for closer ties with Serbia, and one of its members, political newcomer Jakov Milatović, secured victory in the presidential election in April.
According to the poll, the pro-EU DPS had 24.1 percent support, while the Serbian nationalist, pro-Russian Democratic Front polled third with 13.2 percent. In the capital city, Podgorica, voters expressed cautious optimism regarding the election’s outcome, with some hoping for a more stable government that could potentially bring positive change to the country.