Election authorities in Montenegro have named incumbent Filip Vujanovic as the winner of Sunday’s presidential election, with 51.21 percent of the vote. The opposition have cried foul, calling for an EU investigation. The election commission in Montenegro named incumbent Filip Vujanovic as the narrow winner late on Monday, after both candidates claimed victory in the presidential poll. However, the commission cautioned that these were preliminary results, still subject to change. Both sides had complained about the length of time it took to publish the results in a small country with around half a million eligible voters, only 60 percent of whom cast their ballots. Vujanovic, running for a third term in office, secured 51.2 percent of the vote, according to the official results. Vujanovic, president since 2003, represents the same Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) that control the country’s legislature. Although Montenegro’s constitution states that a president can serve only two terms, the Constitutional Court ruled prior to the vote that Vujanovic’s first term did not count because it began before Montenegro’s 2006 independence from Serbia. PDS official Caslav Vesovic said the election commission’s result “removes all doubt over who the citizens chose as president of Montenegro, and they chose Filip Vujanovic.”
Articles about voting issues in Montenegro.
Montenegro’s opposition refused on Monday to accept a third term for President Filip Vujanovic, a stance that could trigger instability in the tiny Adriatic state seeking European Union membership. Montenegrins were still awaiting the official results of Sunday’s closely fought election for the largely ceremonial post that both sides said they had won. Both Vujanovic and his opposition challenger, former diplomat Miodrag Lekic, claimed victory. The state electoral commission has until 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Tuesday to announce the official result. The dispute looked set to usher in an unstable period for the ex-Yugoslav republic of 680,000 people, which last year embarked on the long process of membership talks with the EU.
Both sides claimed victory in a presidential election in Montenegro on Sunday, raising the prospect of a dispute over the largely ceremonial post in the tiny Adriatic country as it bids to join the European Union. With no independent exit poll or official word from the state electoral commission, both incumbent Filip Vujanovic and opposition challenger Miodrag Lekic took to the airwaves to announce they had won. Lekic compared his rival’s claim to a “coup d’etat”. The president is largely a figurehead for Montenegro’s 680,000 people, with real power vested in the prime minister. But a Lekic victory would set up an awkward cohabitation and deal a significant blow to the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) after more than two decades in power.
According to the Commission, the 2012 parliamentary elections in Montenegro need to be investigated due to allegations about election irregularities. On 28 February, the European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neigbourhood policy Štefan Füle met with leader of the Montenegrin opposition party Movement for Changes Nebojsa Medojevic in Brussels. According to the Commission, the main focus of their meeting were the recent publications of audio recordings indicating irregularities in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in 2012 as well as alleged intentions to influence unduly the voters’ list. Mr. Füle commented, “we expect the authorities to fully investigate any allegations in this context and we will continue to monitor this matter closely, notably in the context of the upcoming presidential elections.”
Most big parties completed their lists of candidates for parliament on Monday, marking the moment when the campaign kicked off, ahead of the October 14 vote. The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, will submit on Wednesday its list of potential candidates for parliament ahead of the October 14 general election. The list is headed by country’s longtime leader, the party leader, Milo Djukanovic. Igor Luksic, the Prime Minister, is in second place, followed by Svetozar Marovic, the former president of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Miomir Mugosa, mayor of the capital, Podgorica, is on the list in the fifteenth place.
Montenegro’s president called a parliamentary election on Tuesday for October 14, some six months ahead of schedule, as the ruling coalition seeks a fresh mandate for talks on joining the European Union. The announcement by President Filip Vujanovic followed a vote by lawmakers last week to dissolve parliament and head to early polls after the EU opened accession talks late last month with the Adriatic ex-Yugoslav republic of 680,000 people.
The Presidency of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, on Monday said it had decided to initiate a shortening of parliament’s term in order to pave the way for early elections. The party had also reached a broad agreement with its Social Democrat coalition partners on their joint participation in the election, it added. Caslav Vesovic, DPS spokesperson, said early elections were needed for the next steps in the EU accession process, which must be dealt with by a new government over a full term in office. Montenegro started membership talks with the EU at the end of June.
Montenegro’s president said on Thursday his party might seek an early parliamentary election this year rather than next if the European Union, as expected, launches membership talks with the Adriatic state in June. The ex-Yugoslav republic of 680,000 people is due to hold parliamentary polls around March 2013, but President Filip Vujanovic suggested the government could seek a fresh mandate from voters in autumn this year if the EU opens talks. Vujanovic, a senior member of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, said other countries bidding to join the EU had also sought a clean slate before tackling the demanding process of negotiation, which in Montenegro’s case will include dealing with the country’s deep-rooted organised crime and corruption.
The Montenegrin parliament must pass a new election law in order to continue on the path towards EU membership. The EU has been very clear in it’s message — without a revised election law there will be no EU membership.
Nonetheless, the Montenegrin parliament has failed to pass the needed law — after seven attempts. Unfortunately, there is little reason to hope that this attempt will fare better.
Serbian nationalist parties within the Montenegrin parliament are refusing to allow the EU membership to move forward unless Montenegro agrees to change it’s national language to Serbian and returns to teaching Serbian in Montenegrin schools.
Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament and Rapporteur on Montenegro Charles Tannock has stated that the non-adoption of the election law may slow down Montenegro on its way to the EU.
The adoption of the election law will affect the report by the European Commission (EC) on the implementation of recommendations for the beginning of talks and if the law is not adopted quickly, Montenegro’s EU approach may be slowed down. The things are quite clear. You do not have time to waste, Tannock said.