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May 19, 2024 3:16 pm

Montenegro goes to the polls as president seeks re-election

Montenegro held its presidential elections on Sunday, with incumbent President Milo Djukanovic seeking re-election against a field of opposition candidates.

Djukanovic, who has been in power for almost 30 years, is running on a platform of continuing the country’s path towards EU membership and promoting economic growth. He has faced criticism, however, for alleged corruption and authoritarianism.

The opposition, led by economist Dritan Abazovic and supported by a coalition of parties, has campaigned on promises of fighting corruption, reducing government spending, and improving living standards for Montenegro’s citizens.

The election has been closely watched by both the EU and Russia, as Montenegro’s geopolitical orientation remains a point of contention. Djukanovic has pursued closer ties with the West, while the opposition has expressed a desire for more balanced relations with both the EU and Russia.

Polling stations across Montenegro opened at 7am local time and closed at 8pm, with initial results expected in the coming days. The election was conducted amid strict COVID-19 safety protocols, including mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing.

The outcome of the election could have significant implications for Montenegro’s future direction, both domestically and internationally. A victory for Djukanovic would likely result in continued progress towards EU membership, while an opposition win could signal a shift towards a more neutral foreign policy.

Montenegro, a small Balkan country of just over 600,000 people, has been an independent state since 2006, after gaining independence from Serbia.

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