Montenegro’s long-time leader, President Milo Đukanović, has been unseated from power following a second-round runoff loss against his rival, former economy minister Jakov Milatović. The 37-year old Milatović, whose background includes being the EBRD’s principle economist for Southeast Europe, achieved a landslide 60% of the vote, becoming one of the world’s youngest Heads of State.
Just months ago, Milatović co-founded a pro-Western civic platform, Europe Now, with fellow exbanker and former finance minister, Milojko Spajić. The movement placed economic reform at the core of its programme, promising to raise minimum salaries and pensions and to accelerate the country’s EU accession bid. Crucially, while it remains committed to the country’s NATO membership and foreign policy objectives, Europe Now has also found widespread support from Montenegro’s sizeable Serbian minority, soothing recent tensions between nationalist camps on both sides of the ethnic divide.
Having already secured the capital, Podgorica, in local elections held in October 2022, Europe Now has now become a major political force in Montenegro. Buoyed by Milatović’s stunning presidential success, the party will now look ahead to snap parliamentary elections in June 2023 full of confidence. Other political groups – not least the Montenegrin nationalist Democratic Party of Socialist (DPS), which has effectively run the country for the past three decades – will face a major test of their political relevance going forward.
Below, Aretera provides further insight into the second round of the presidential elections.