European Western Balkans

Jakov Milatović declares victory in Montenegro presidential elections

Photo: Instagram / Jakov Milatović

PODGORICA – Ex-economy minister Jakov Milatović defeats longstanding incumbent Milo Đukanović, ending more than three decades of his rule in Montenegro.

Milatović, who is backed by Montenegro’s governing majority, won about 60 percent in the vote on Sunday while Đukanović won about 40 percent, according to predictions released by the Centre for Monitoring and Research and based on the vote sample.

“Tonight is the night we have been waiting for over 30 years,” Milatović told cheering supporters of his right-centrist Europe Now Movement at its party headquarters in the capital, Podgorica. “Within the next five years, we will lead Montenegro into the European Union,” he said.

Đukanović, who has been a political mainstay in Montenegro for decades, rotating through various positions – including multiple stints as both president and prime minister, acknowledged his defeat to Milatovic.

“Montenegro has made its choice. I respect that choice, and I congratulate Jakov Milatović,” Đukanović told his backers at the headquarters of his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) in Podgorica.

The state election commission is expected to announce official results in the coming days, on the completion of complaints procedures.

The run-off came two weeks after the first round, where Đukanović beat back a range of opponents hoping to shake up the political scene. In that race, Đukanović garnered 35 percent of the vote compared with 29 percent for Milatović.

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