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2009 parliamentary elections in Montenegro

29. March 2009. | 08:36

Source: EMportal

Author: Nikos D.A. Arvanites

The most recent poll by CEDEM credits the coalition "European Montenegro" with 51.2% of the vote, the Socialist People's Party (SNP) with 16.8%, New Democracy 12% and the Movement for Change 6.3%.

Political parties wrapped up their campaigns Friday (March 27th) ahead of Sunday's snap parliamentary elections.

The ruling coalition European Montenegro, led by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), initiated the early vote, arguing it needs more time to speed up reforms that would lead to EU accession.

On 27 January 2009, the day after Parliament voted to shorten its mandate, the Presidentcalled parliamentary elections for 29 March 2009.

494,289 people are eligible to vote in Montenegro, or 3,877 people more in comparison with the previous elections. On April 6th 2008 at the presidential election in Montenegro 490,412 people were eligible to vote. According to the statistics of the Information Society Ministry, the largest number of voters, 135,325, is registered in Podgorica, and the smallest in Savnik, 2,140.

In the period between 26 March 2008 and 18 March this year, 18,181 new voters were registered and 10,288 removed from the voters’ list. No entries, removals, changes and corrections to the electoral list can be made ten days before the election day.

1,226 observers – 227 foreign and 983 Montenegrin – will monitor the poll, the State Electoral Commission has announced. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ODIHR – the election-monitoring arm of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe , OSCE will send the highest number of foreign observers, 126. Representatives of the Council of Europe, ambassadors and foreign non-governmental organisations are to monitor the election as well.

As of 2 March, the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission (EOM) began its mediamonitoring of six national television stations and three print media.

The State Election Committee is required to publish the final number of registered voters eight days before the elections

 Political Background

The most recent poll by CEDEM credits the coalition "European Montenegro" with 51.2% of the vote, the Socialist People's Party (SNP) with 16.8%, New Democracy 12% and the Movement for Change 6.3%.

The DPS promises to fight the economic crisis with ambitious infrastructure projects such as construction of a north-south highway and by investing generously in the tourism and energy sectors.

The opposition, though, warns against the danger of entrenching the DPS as a ruling party and opening Montenegro to the risk of corruption and organised crime. Last October, Italian prosecutors charged seven of Djukanovic's associates and seven Italians with cigarette smuggling.

Such are the warnings of Andrija Mandic's New Serbian Democracy (and Nebojsa Medojevic's Movement for Changes. Mandic and Medojevic also assure the public that they have their own remedies for Montenegro's ailing, import-dependent economy, while Milic's SNP insists on welfare benefits for the country's most vulnerable residents.

All other opposition parties are at the lower end in the poll ratings, unable to obtain the necessary number of votes to win seats in parliament, or are far too small to entertain such a hope.

Parties need to gain 10,000 to 13,000 votes to win any seats in parliament in a country of 500,000 registered voters.

Social and Economic Situation

Because of a sharp drop in foreign investments, Montenegro's economic growth of over 10 percent in 2007, one of the highest in Europe, is expected to drop to 2 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund estimates.

Montenegro's main source of revenue, tourism on its spectacular Adriatic Sea coastline, faces another bad season amid global financial woes and canceled foreign investments, such as a multibillion euro marina project.

Montenegro's main exporter, aluminum maker KAP owned by embattled Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, faces possible closure. Thousands of its workers have been protesting to demand a government bailout.

Montenegro split from much larger Serbia in a popular referendum in 2006 and held its first parliamentary election later that year. Djukanovic's coalition, which had been in power in the Montenegrin republic when it was joined with Serbia, won that first election.


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