Montenegro remains on track for NATO and EU membership, said longtime Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic early Monday after securing a win in parliamentary elections the day before.
Djukanovic, 54, and his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) - in power since the first multi-party polls in Montenegro in 1991 - expect to control the majority in the 81-seat parliament.
“With our 36 seats and ... our traditional partners, the coalition for the European future of Montenegro will doubtlessly have at least 42 seats,” he told supporters celebrating the win.
“As soon as official results are declared, we will start negotiations with partners and soon establish the new government,” Djukanovic added.
Official results were not yet in Monday morning, but, according to final projections by the Centre for Monitoring and Research (CEMI), the DPS will have 35 seats, one less than Djukanovic said.
The allies Djukanovic referenced took six votes: two each for the Social Democrats of Montenegro and the Muslim Bosniaks, and a single vote each for the Albanian and Croatian minority representatives. By this math, the DPS would have a razor-thin, single-vote majority.
In the opposition, the Democratic Front has 18 seats, according to the projection, the Kljuc (key) coalition and Democrats of Montenegro nine each and the Social Democratic Party five.
The DPS achieved the win against the combined opposition, a part of which is pro-Russia and had challenged the course towards NATO and EU membership Djukanovic has set for Montenegro.
“It wasn’t easy ... but we did it. We can say tonight with pleasure that Montenegro safely remains on path to its European future,” he said.
In his words, Podgorica will ratify the decision to join NATO – it received the invitation to become a member 10 months ago –and intensify membership talks with the European Union.
The multi-party opposition has, however, not conceded defeat and has urged minority representatives to join their ranks to form the new cabinet.
That would, however, require a common platform for a handful of parties and groups with little in common aside from the goal of toppling Djukanovic.