New local governments depend on post-election coalitions

New local governments depend on post-election coalitions

 

By Adnan Prekic – Podgorica

The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists has won the local elections in 12 municipalities in Montenegro. Although they achieved the best result in almost every municipality, the party can only be certain for the government in four of them. In other cities they will have to enter into a post-election coalitions. DPS failed to win absolute power in Podgorica, where it’s missing one term. The biggest loser of the election was the Social Democratic Party which participates in government at the national level. Although they announced 10 to 15% of support, the Social Democrats together in a coalition with positive Montenegro won only 9% of the vote. With their election capacity having been reduced, this party will have to decide who will be the new government in the capital. There a possibility that despite the sharp mutual accusations they relent and accept a coalition with the Democratic Party of Socialists. Another option is a coalition with the rest of the opposition, which would mean the announcement of early parliamentary elections at the state level.

The local elections in Podgorica and another eleven towns in Montenegro have brought new uncertainty to the political scene. Only in four municipalities is evident who will rule,  while in the other eight, one of which is Podgorica, it will be decided by post-election negotiations for the formation of coalitions. The biggest burden is on the Social Democratic Party, a junior member of the coalition at the state level, which needs to assess whether they will make an alliance on local level with Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists or with the opposition parties.

The Democratic Party of Socialists failed to achieve absolute power in Podgorica, as was their strategic political goal, lost in Rozaje and Kolasin and provided simple majority in Danilovgrad and two small northern municipalities Savnik and Zabljak. The future of the local governments in six cities – Kolasin Pljevlja, Rozaje, Bar, Plavu and especially in Podgorica will largely depend on the the Social Democratic Party. Podgorica is strategically the most important city with a third of the population of Montenegro living there.

During the campaign the Democratic Party of Socialists and the Social Democratic Party have put forward very serious accusations, while the opposition parties expressed their hope that the Social Democratic Party will form local governments in coalitions with them.

Democratic Party of Socialists and the Social Democratic Party are the parties that form the coalition government at the state level and for more than a year now they are in silent conflict. The two parties have a totally different approach to the development of Montenegro and its relation to corruption and organized crime. The rest of the opposition have lately often outvoted the decisions proposed by the government and called for the Social Democrats to leave the coalition government and form a technical government. They refused, explaining that for them the most important priority is gaining membership in NATO, for which they do not have the support of the rest of the opposition. If after the elections the Social Democrats form local governments with the rest of the opposition in Podgorica and in other cities, it will be a prelude to early parliamentary elections.