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Kommersant:Montenegro Votes for Investment

Published date: 13.09.2006 17:21 | Author: Kliping inostranih medija

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Montenegro Votes for Investment
Yesterday preliminary results in Sunday's parliamentary elections in Montenegro were announced. A decisive victory in the elections was scored by the ruling coalition headed by prime minister Milo Djukanovic, which will thus maintain its absolute grip on power in the republic. This means a stable government for newly independent Montenegro, and also that there will be no review of privatization outcomes, which may herald a boom in foreign investment, including Russian.
Election results in tiny Montenegro are usually available an hour after the polls close, at 10 PM local time. This time, however, no information appeared until well after midnight.

The victory of the ruling party in Montenegro's first independent elections was hardly unexpected. The party headed by prime minister Milo Djukanovic played a key role in securing independence and ensuring international recognition for Montenegro in record time. The main intrigue of the election concerned whether Djukanovic would win an outright victory, thus maintaining his grip on power, or whether he would be forced into a messy coalition with the opposition.

The ruling coalition was up against eleven other parties in the elections, making chances for a coalition distant. What is more, the ruling party's main opponents had called, among other things, for privatization audits, particularly of a deal in which the Russian company Rusalom bought a Montenegrin aluminum plant. This echoed noisy demands from a new group, "Movement for Change," which has based its political platform on criticism of authorities "who are linked with dirty Russian capital" and on general antipathy towards anything Russian.

On the eve of the elections, the opposition assailed the government for raids in predominately Albanian regions of the country, in which police arrested more than ten people (including three American citizens of Albanian descent) who were suspected of planning violent disruptions to coincide with the elections.

Thus, a lack of success at the polls for Djukanovic, who has been in power in one way or another in Montenegro since the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, would have inevitably threatened serious political upheaval in Montenegro, making it not surprising that things went his way.

The outcome became clear around one o'clock in the morning, when Filip Vujanovic, Montenegro's president, appeared at Djukanovic's office and the champagne began to flow. At 2 AM, Djukanovich announced that his coalition had won 42 out of the 81 seats in Montenegro's parliament, compared to eleven or twelve for each of its three closest competitors. The prime minister's tenure remained unchallenged.

All of this means that there will be little trouble with the adoption of a new constitution for independent Montenegro. The process of Montenegro's accession to the EU is slated to begin before the end of the year. It is also expected that Europe's newest nation will join NATO at November's summit in Riga. However, the most foremost thing on many experts' minds is the expected boom in foreign investment that will follow the election, a topic that made up a significant portion of the talks between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Djukanovic last month in Sochi.