By Milena Milosevic
European Montenegro coalition led by Milo Djukanovic’s party has won the general election, according to first results, but will not have enough seats to govern alone.
Milo Djukanovic, the leader of the European Montenegro coalition declared victory in front of a cheering crowd of supporters gathered at the headquarters of Democratic Party of Socialists.
“Our ruling coalition is the only coalition in Europe that managed to keep the public trust in these difficult times“, he said noting that talks about the new government would start on Monday.
The European Montenegro coalition has won 45.5 per cent of the votes and 39 seats of the 81 seats in parliament, the Centre for Monitoring, CEMI, said, based on more than 90 per cent of counted ballots.
Montenegro’s early parliamentary elections on October 14 took place in a peaceful and pluralistic environment with respect for fundamental rights, although continued lack of confidence needs to be addressed, international observers said in a statement on Monday.
“Yesterday the citizens of Montenegro made their choice in a free way from a large number of political parties. The abuse of administrative resources and a lack of transparency in campaign and political party financing are a matter of concern that should be addressed by the authorities,” said Christopher Chope, the Head of the PACE delegation.
The opposition Democratic Front won 23.8 per cent of votes and 20 mandates. It was followed by the Socialist People’s Party, with 10.6 per cent of votes and nine parliamentary seats. Positive Montenegro can expect seven seats.
Of the smaller parties, the Bosniak Party won three seats while the Croat Citizens’ Intiative, and two Albanian parties – FORCA and Albanian Coalition – each won one.
The European Montenegro coalition is made up of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, and the Social Democratic Party, SDP, which together formed the last five governments, along with a new ally, the Liberal Party.
After winning 39 seats, they may have to reach out to one more ethnic minority party to obtain a majority in the 81-seat parliament.
Suljo Mustafic, of the Bosniak party, which won three seats, said it would be more realistic for his party to form a coalition with the DPS, but he did not exclude talks with other parties. “Our negotiation potential is bigger now,” he said.
According to the CEMI, voter turnout on Sunday was 70.3 per cent of the 514,055 Montenegrins named on the final version of the electoral roll.
No major irregularities were reported. CEMI reported minor irregularities, including several cases where people voted twice or polling stations were not opened on time.
The elections were monitored by 105 foreign observers, including representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Committee for Open Democracy. CEMI deployed 1,222 observers across the country.
The elections on Sunday were the ninth parliamentary elections held in Montenegro since 1990 and third since the country declared independence in 2006.
Parliament, whose mandate was supposed to expire in March 2013, called early elections in order to enable a new full-term government to conduct EU membership talks, which opened on June 29.
The election campaign started in mid-September. The OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, OSCE/ODIHR, described it as “democratically correct”.
The new election law, adopted last September, retains a variant of the proportional representation formula, which slightly favours whichever political force wins most electoral support.
However, it included some important changes. Ethnic Albanians, who make up 5 per cent of the population, lost their five guaranteed seats.
Instead, all ethnic minorities that comprise up to 15 per cent of the population were given preferential treatment. Those are, primarily, the Albanian, Bosniak [Muslim] and Croat communities.