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Former economy minister Jakov Milatović set to become next president of Montenegro

Jakov Milatovic, leader of the Europe Now movement, celebrates in his headquarters in Montenegro's capital Podgorica
Jakov Milatovic, leader of the Europe Now movement, celebrates in his headquarters in Montenegro's capital Podgorica Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AP
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Former economy minister Jakov Milatović wins the presidential runoff election in Montenegro on Sunday, defeating longtime incumbent Milo Đukanović.

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For the first time in more than three decades, Montenegro has a new president. Former Economy Minister Jakov Milatović declared victory in a presidential election run-off on Sunday after getting the backing of almost all political parties.

He defeated the country's incumbent Milo Đukanović who has been in power as prime minister or president since 1991 in the small NATO member nation in Europe.

"They will never divide us again, they will not impoverish us, and they will not entrap the state with crime and corruption," Milatović said after winning the election. "We now say that Montenegro is moving forward, moving towards wealth, towards equality, towards a land of justice, trust and togetherness."

Voting was peaceful in an election that appeared decided two weeks ago when it was clear that the political mathematics was on the side of the candidate of the Europe Now movement. 

Milatović won 60 percent of the vote, and Đukanović 40 percent of the vote, and which means his Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro lost the presidential election after losing the parliamentary elections in 2020

AP Photo
A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Montenegro's capital Podgorica, Sunday.AP Photo

Milatović’s victory is believed to reflect voter fatigue with Đukanović and disillusionment with established politicians. 

Đukanović is credited with leading his country to independence from Serbia in 2006 and defying Russia to steer Montenegro into NATO in 2017. But critics say Đukanović and his Democratic Party of Socialists have let crime and corruption engulf society.

After his defeat, he told a crowd of his supporters: "Montenegro chose, I respect that choice. I congratulate Jakov Milatović on the trust he received in the presidential elections.

"I wish him to be a successful president because if he is a successful president, it can mean that Montenegro will also be a successful country and that it will move forward towards its goal."

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