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New leader of Montenegro needs to normalize relations with Serbia, Russia

Ljubomir Radinovic. Photo from his personal archive

Montenegro will see presidential election on April 15. On March 19, the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) nominated its presidential candidate Milo Djukanovic, who previously run for president and prime minister. Montenegro’s accession to NATO in the spring of 2017 is believed to be the key result of the country’s policy. To avoid the mistakes of the previous parliamentary elections, opposition has united around a single candidate. Most of the opposition parties are going to support presidential candidate Mladen Bojanić. The Central Election Commission has registered another three candidates: Hazbija Kalač (Justice and Reconciliation Party), Vasilije Miličković (independent candidate) and Marko Milačić Prava Crna Gora (True Montenegro).

Ljubomir Radinovic, chairman of the Society of Russian-Serbian-Montenegrin Friendship and head of the Motherland Party regional office in Voronezh, presented his forecasts of the upcoming presidential race in Montenegro to EADaily.

It is hard to forecast the situation. I’d say that that the candidate of DPS and candidate of the united opposition Mladen Bojanić have almost similar chances for victory. The signature campaign will end within the current week and Bojanić’s candidature will become official. He represents at once several opposition parties: Democratic Montenegro, Democratic Front, Socialist Peoples’ Party and Movement URA. It is at least 90% of the opposition voters.

Besides Bojanić, another two opposition candidates are running for president. These are Goran Danilović of United Montenegro and Marko Milačić Prava Crna Gora. These are quite promising politicians, but I believe that they cannot reach the second round. For instance, Milačić, is a young politician who will yet appear in future political processes, but his hour has not come yet.

As regards Mladen Bojanić, judging from publicly accessible information and talks with the people from his team, he seeks to reconcile two factions in the Montenegrin policy (pro-Western and Patriotic). At present, his candidature may well become an average solution. If he wins, he can have a positive impact on political processes in Montenegro, contributing to normalization of relations with Russia. He is a pro-Russian politician, but he has no strict anti-Western stance either. Therefore, his candidature appears to be the best choice for a certain concession-based solution in the current political situation. Although I do not know him personally, we have common neighbors and friends, since Montenegro is a small country. He is known to be an honest, intelligent person, a man of principle who cares for his political stance and will not sell it in the political fight. I hope, he will reach the second round and get a real chance for victory.

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Of course, much depends on DPS candidate Milo Djukanovic. He was nominated at the last moment. We do not know if there are different factions inside the party, or the party leadership acted at the request of the West or there is a third reason. Nothing of the kind had happened before. Lack of an official candidate until the last moment speaks of some problems inside DPS.

It is worth mentioning that this presidential election in Montenegro is held in shadow of the parliamentary elections of 2016. Then the Montenegrin government accused opposition of a coup attempt that was allegedly to be made on the voting day. The Montenegrin government declared that Russia and Serbia were behind the “coup” and the attempt on Milo Djukanovic. Anyway, I think, victory of an opposition candidate would lead to positive changes in the political life of Montenegro, of course, if the new government forgets about revenge. The new government should tackle the issue of national reconciliation, first, and then start improving relations with Serbia and Russia. Official relations of Montenegro with these countries are at a very low level. The future government should bring it in line with the people’s will, which greatly differs from what we see in mainstream media or official reports of the Montenegrin government.

For DPS it is time to leave power gradually, including through democratic mechanism of presidential election. Of course, it needs to meet democratic procedures and avoid revenge by all means possible. Montenegro is fed up with division and conflicts. No matter who participates in these conflicts, the responsibility of the government is much higher, as it should not have let the conflict reach such a high stage. It is time to leave all this in the past and it is time for Montenegro to return to its historical hierarchy. We do not need to invent anything new – we know who our blood brothers are, who our friends are, and who our enemies are. The rest are just empty words that cost high to Montenegro and will cost even higher, unless changes begin gradually.

I’d like to reiterate that no matter who will come to power and what faction he will represent. It is important that he refuses from political revenge against dissident politicians. People have been suffering for their political views for years. It should be changed and in this sense I pin hopes with Mladen Bojanić, who manifested himself as a moderate politician devoted to traditional values of Montenegro.

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