Podgorica, Montenegro, August 31, 2020
According to preliminary results, President Milo Đukanović of Montenegro’s ruling coalition, which has been in power for 30 years, did not win a majority of Parliamentary seats in yesterday’s election that drew massive turnout.
The leader of the For the Future of Montenegro opposition coalition, Zdravko Krivokapic, announced that the new government’s first move will be to repeal the prejudiced “Law on Religious Freedom” that was passed in December giving the state the authority to confiscate property from the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro.
The law drew the ire of the nation, as hundreds of thousands took to the streets in peaceful cross processions that were held regularly throughout the nation, interrupted only by the coronavirus pandemic. The negative response to the law and the firm stance of the Serbian Church hierarchy were undoubtedly factors leading to 74% of Montenegrins coming out to the polls yesterday.
On the eve of the election, His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro called on everyone to vote “in defense of God’s holy places.”
“The first step, of course, will be the repeal of the Law on religious freedom… This will be fair and just and will be a warning to all who go into politics that politics is not the most profitable job,” Krivokapic said in commentary for TASS.
While there is the possibility of unrest in the transition to the new government, Krivokapic believes that Montenegro needs “peace and tranquility” and that “Christian love, which sees its brother in every person, will prevail.”
At the same time, the opposition does not intend to cooperate with Đukanović, whose presidential mandate expires in 2023. “I do not want to cooperate with a president who isn’t the president of all citizens of Montenegro,” Krivokapic says.
The president’s Democratic Party of Socialists won 29 of 81 seats in yesterday’s election, while the opposition coalition, consisting of three parties, won 42 seats, giving it the right to form a cabinet. The Social Democrats also took 3 seats.