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.
Facing economic slowdown and dogged by allegations of high-level graft, the DPS is likely counting on a spike in support with the launch of EU talks, a milestone for the country just six years after becoming independent, political analysts say. “We should wait and see if the mandate of the parliament is shortened after Montenegro gets a negotiation date,” Vujanovic told reporters when asked if an election was possible this year. “I think it would make sense, since almost all countries entering the process of EU integration followed this pattern,” Vujanovic said.