Election in Montenegro: Opposition parties jointly win a tight majority of seats

Parliament of Montenegro; Photo: Parliament of Montenegro

PODGORICA – According to the 89% of the data in the sample of Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI), three opposition coalitions have won 42 out of 81 seats in the Assembly of Montenegro. The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) has achieved the worst result in its history and could relinquish power for the first time since the establishment of the multi-party system in 1990.

President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović, who is also the leader of DPS, remains in office regardless of the result, with his mandate expiring in 2023.

According to CeMI, DPS has won 34,8% of the vote and 29 seats, 7 less than in 2016. The coalition around the Democratic Front, “For the Future of Montenegro”, is closely behind with 32,7% and 28 seats.

In order to form a ruling majority, the Democratic Front, which is mainly representing ethnic Serbs and Serbian Orthodox population in Montenegro, will have to reach a coalition agreement with a pro-EU Democratic Montenegro, which has won 10 seats, as well as progressive URA movement, which has won 4 seats, according to the projections.

Coalition partners of DPS, the Social Democrats, are projected to win 3 seats, while the Bosniak and Albanian minority parties, which also support the current government, are expected to have 5 seats altogether.

The Social Democratic Party, which was a coalition partner of DPS until 2016, is projected by CeMI to win 2 MPs. Even with their support, a possible coalition around DSP currently has 39 seats, two short of a majority. Coalitions around the Democratic Front, Democratic Montenegro and URA have excluded post-election cooperation with DPS.

If a government is formed without DPS, it would be the first such case in 30 years. MP Slaven Radunović, a member of the Democratic Front, announced that the “Berlin Wall has finally fallen in Montenegro”, referring to the fact that DPS is a successor party of the Yugoslav Communists in Montenegro.

The turnout was high, with 75% of the voters going to the polls, 3 points more than in 2016 and 11 points more than at 2018 presidential election.

Montenegro has been experiencing a political turmoil ever since December last year, when DPS majority adopted a controversial Law on Religion, fiercely opposed by the Serbian Orthodox Church, which invited its members to vote against DPS. The coalition around Democratic Front seems to have profited the most from the polarisation caused by the Law.

DPS has also experienced serious anti-corruption protests in 2019.

CeMI and Center for Democratic Transition, which have monitored the election day, have reported a number of irregularities.