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Datum objave: 20.05.2018

Milo Dukanovic sworn in as Montenegro president

Milo Đukanović since 20 May 2018

PODGORICA, Montenegro - PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) - Montenegro's ruling Democratic Party of Socialists declares leader Milo Djukanovic winner of presidential election.

Incumbent  Milo Đukanović  since 20 May 2018

Milo Dukanovic sworn in as Montenegro president

CETINJE, MONTENEGRO - MAY 20: Montenegro’s former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic attends swearing-in ceremony as Montenegro President in Cetinje on May 20, 2018. (Footage by Milos Vujovic/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Montenegro's Milo Djukanovic: The eternal president

After three decades in charge, Montenegro's Milo Djukanovic is looking to reaffirm his grip on power in the country's upcoming presidential vote. Can a fractured opposition unite to unseat the strongman incumbent?

Montenegro for years has been plagued by corruption, while journalists critical of the government have been put under pressure. These longstanding issues are in part due to the lack of political diversity in the small western Balkan country: The Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), with Milo Djukanovic at the helm, has been ruling Montenegro since 1991.

The strongman president has weathered his share of storms, from the bloody wars of the 1990s, to his opposition to Serbian autocrat Slobodan Milosevic, to accusations from Italy and Germany of largescale cigarette smuggling. He has served as either prime minister or president nearly uninterrupted since 1991, and whenever he did step back from the political scene, he was quick to return. As DPS leader, he has always been able to pull the strings of power, even from behind the scenes.

Milo runs again

And now he's ready to stand for office once more when Montenegro holds its presidential election on Sunday, April 15. Pollsters expect Djukanovic to collect about half of the votes. However, it's not yet clear if he will be able to win outright on the first ballot, or whether the country's fragmented opposition — featuring six different candidates — can force a second round of voting.

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"I think Milo can win this time as well — unfortunately, I have to say, because a democracy needs change," Tufik Softic, a Montenegrin journalist critical of the government, told DW. "He has been there forever. My children have studied in the meantime. They have never experienced another party in power. The country urgently needs democratic renewal. But the opposition is still too weak."

Who will lead the opposition?

There are two candidates who could pose a danger to Djukanovic. Draginja Vuksanovic, a respected university professor, is representing the Social Democratic Party (SPD). "Djukanovic is creaking under the strain of his misdeeds," she told Montenegro's top-selling Vijesti newspaper. "After three decades in power, 'divide et impera' (divide and rule) is the only option for him. He views anyone who doesn't want to plunder the country with him as a traitor." Those are strong words coming from a candidate representing a party that for many years formed a coalition with Djukanovic's DPS.

Economist Mladen Bojanic has also thrown his hat in the ring. The 56-year-old was a parliamentarian in Montenegro until 2016, initially representing the small party Positive Montenegro. He later became an independent when his party began adopting pro-government positions. Bojanic pushed for Montenegro's entry into NATO to be decided in a national referendum, and took part in opposition protests against the government. Viewed as incorruptible and honest, he was chosen as a compromise candidate to represent the country's disparate opposition. Opinion polls predict he can win 35 percent of the vote in the first round.

"The one who caus ed this situation is now saying that the state is stronger than the mafia," Bojanic said during the campaign. "I agree, the state is stronger. I just have one problem — the answer to the question of which side Djukanovic is on — the side of the state or the mafia? He should leave on April 15, so that we no longer have to ask ourselves that question."

The opposition is hoping to at least force a second ballot on April 29, and, in the case of a victory, a domino effect. If Djukanovic begins to wobble, they could push for new parliamentary elections and with that, a change to the decades of DPS dominance.

President of Montenegro

Montenegro's new president sworn in

Cetinje Milo Djukanović sworn in as the President of Montenegro photosć+sworn+in+as+the+President+of+Montenegro&client=opera&hs=szT&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiahMSz2pTbAhWHaFAKHdlYDRwQsAQIQw&biw=1880&bih=943

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