February 28, 2024

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

Montenegro elections: old leader Milo Djukanovic suffers defeat

Montenegro elections: old leader Milo Djukanovic suffers defeat
  • Written by Thomas Mackintosh
  • BBC News

photo caption,

Pro-Western Milo Djukanovic has held power in Montenegro for more than three decades

Longtime Montenegrin leader Milo Djukanovic suffered a resounding defeat in the presidential election.

Jakov Milatović, the 36-year-old centrist former economy minister, claimed victory Sunday night after the presidential runoff.

He will replace Mr Djukanovic, who has held power as Montenegro’s president or prime minister for more than three decades.

Early parliamentary elections are scheduled for the summer.

“Tonight is the night we have been waiting for over 30 years. I wish you a happy victory,” Milatović told Europe Now supporters in the capital, Podgorica.

He promised to lead his tiny Balkan country into the European Union within the next five years.

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Yakov Milatović celebrated on Sunday after the announcement of the first results of the presidential elections in Podgorica

Official results are expected later in the week – but two reputable election-monitoring organizations predict a Milatović victory.

The Center for Monitoring and Research’s polling group said Milatović had 60% of the vote.

Djukanovic was Europe’s youngest prime minister when he came to power at the age of 29 in 1991 – the beginning collapse of Yugoslavia. Led Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2006.

As the scale of Milatović’s victory became clear on Sunday night, Djukanović conceded his defeat, and wished Milatović success as president.

“He chose Montenegro, and I respect that choice,” he told his supporters.

During the election campaign, Milatović promised to reduce corruption, improve living standards, and strengthen relations with the European Union and neighboring Serbia.

The 37-year-old has received support from parties close to Serbia, Russia and the Orthodox Church.