Montenegro will today hold elections for its unicameral parliament. Today’s elections, which are considered a referendum on President Milo Dukanovic
Montenegro will today hold elections for its unicameral parliament.
Today’s elections, which are considered a referendum on President Milo Dukanovic and his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), pose the greatest challenge to DPS control over Montenegrin politics yet. Although the party has maintained power since the formation of modern Montenegro in 1991, accusations of media censorship and authoritarian tendencies continue to mount, threatening the state’s ascension to EU membership.
A new right-wing political coalition, For the Future of Montenegro (ZBCG), has managed to siphon support by allying itself with the popular Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC). Although the church has historically remained apolitical, a 2019 bill threatened to seize religious assets, spawning anti-government protests and thrusting the SOC into the political arena. ZBCG now hopes to leverage anti-government sentiment, overthrow the political hegemony established by the DPS and boost ties to Serbia and Russia.
Expect today’s elections to produce major gains for ZBCG, as growing anti-DPS sentiment has risen precipitously in the past year. However, ZBCG is unlikely to capture a ruling majority in parliament given Montenegro’s shift towards stronger EU relations, divergent from Russian ties. As such, DPS and ZBCG will likely form a coalition government, within which the SOC will find new protections. In the long-term, expect ZBCG to build upon victories in the political arena as the long-standing political hegemony of the DPS wanes with each election.
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