Montenegro’s centrist “Europe Now” movement (PES) won, 25.6%, of votes on Sunday in a snap election.
Although they did get more votes than the other 15 parties and coalitions on the ballot, they did not secure enough votes alone and will have to seek partners from the 81-seat parliament. The pro-European Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and another group of small allied parties came second with 23.7% of votes.
"This is a great victory ... we will speak with everybody who shares our values," Milojko Spajic, the PES leader, told Reuters reporters in his party headquarters.
The unofficial results come from the Center of Monitoring and Research (CEMI). It was determined by analyzing numbers from individual polling stations and pollster samples. The state commission will announce the official results later this week.
Montenegrin President Jakov Milatovic, a member of the Europe Now movement, said in the Associated Press he hopes that “following the parliamentary elections, the new Assembly of Montenegro will reflect what is currently a new political reality in the country.”
This election came in the wake of years of political division and instability in the Balkan region. Since the former president and longtime leader, Milo Djukanovic, was ousted in April the small Balkan country has been in upheaval. Voter turnout was unusually low according to the CEMI, with only 56.4% of registered voters participating in the election.
“Tomorrow is a new day,” Spajic said in AP. “We are not going to be arrogant, and we will sit down with anyone who shares our values. We will obviously form a new pro-European government.”
Montenegrins hope the new administration will bring the NATO state member closer to an EU membership. Promises to improve the country’s infrastructure and economy were made to voters during the campaign process.
“Finally, we are deciding on the quality of life, rather than on the East or West,” Tanja Bojovic, 38, a voter who cast her ballot in the capital Podgorica, said to AP. “I expect the victory of those who will lead us to a better life.”
The Pro-European Union movement wants to create closer ties with neighboring Serbia as well as Russia and hopes to secure a seat by doing so but it could be difficult. The former Yugoslav country joined NATO in 2017, a year after a failed coup in which Serbia denied any involvement. The previous government blamed Russian agents and was met with backlash from the Kremlin which called the accusations “absurd”
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Montenegro sided with Ukraine, unlike Serbia. Montenegro sent aid to Ukraine, expelled several Russian diplomats from the country, and even participated in NATO sanctions against Russia. Now, the country is on a list of “unfriendly countries” to the Kremlin.
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