Jakov Milatovic, who won the Montenegrin presidential election in April, was sworn in and officially took office.
As Radio Liberty Europe reported, in his inaugural speech to the Montenegrin parliament, Milatovic promised to be “a true president of all citizens, regardless of their national, political, or religious affiliation.”
Image: screenshot from the inauguration ceremony
The new president of Montenegro also promised not to deviate from the country’s commitments on the path to European Union membership while maintaining good neighbourly relations.
“The global context is largely set by Russia’s attack on Ukraine. There should not be and will not be any deviation from our strategic commitments, which include Montenegro as part of the Euro-Atlantic family,” Milatovic emphasized.
The inauguration of the Montenegrin president was attended by about two hundred honoured guests, including foreign ambassadors, European Commissioner for Neighborhood Oliver Vargey and U.S. Special Representative for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar.
The candidate from the newly formed “Europe Now” bloc, 36-year-old Jakov Milatovic, won the support of more than 60% of Montenegrin voters in the second round of the presidential election in early April, defeating longtime head of state Milo Đukanović.
Throughout the election campaign, Milatovic avoided being specific about his views on foreign policy. In particular, his position on the Russian-Ukrainian war was not highlighted. Now, it’s become clear that he acknowledges the war as Russia’s attack on Ukraine, unlike Serbian ultranationalists who’s got a pro-Moscow stance.
At the same time, both Western diplomats (for them, it looks like a symbol of Montenegro’s acceleration on the path to EU membership) and Serbian ultranationalists are rejoicing at his victory. For the latter, the triumph of an ethnic Serb who emphasizes his loyalty to the Serbian Orthodox Church will bring closer ties with neighbouring Serbia.
On June 11, Montenegro will hold early parliamentary elections, which will result in the “Europe Now” party, founded last year and co-founded by the new president, Milatovic, having every chance of entering parliament and becoming the largest faction.