Several elections will be held in 2023, which may have a decisive impact on the future of Europe and the world. One such election is expected in Montenegro. At first glance, Montenegro is a small country in Southeastern Europe, and only approximately 620,000 people reside there. However, the devil is in the details, and that is why the potential role of Montenegro in European political life should not be underestimated.
The presidential election will be held in April. Having served six terms as the prime minister of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović won the presidential election in 2018. He will be participating in the 2023 election to get a new mandate. Moreover, the country may also need to hold a parliamentary election at the beginning of 2023.
The governing coalition experienced the collapse in August, and since then, Dritan Abazović has served as the Prime Minister in a caretaker capacity. The new coalition has not been formed yet, and Milo Đukanović has been calling for an early election, hoping that it will help his Democratic Party of Socialists in returning to the office.
However, both presidential and parliamentary elections may be highly turbulent for Milo Đukanović and his party. Recalling the results of the 2020 Montenegrin parliamentary election, it is significant to note that the “anti-Đukanović” alliance, consisting of 3 parties, won 41 seats in the 81-seat assembly of Montenegro. The opposition “For the Future of Montenegro” was led by the Democratic Front, leaning more towards Serbia and Russia rather than the EU.
The Democratic Front is a conservative and right-wing populist political alliance comprising the Democratic People’s Party, Movement for Changes, and New Serb Democracy. Political experts assert that the Democratic Front is strongly affiliated with politicians, expressing anti-European sentiments. Moreover, the Democratic Front cooperates with the right-wing populist Serbian Progressive Party led by President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić. Saying his thoughts regarding the relationship of Serbia with then-Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić, Aleksandar Vučić called leaders of the Democratic Front, true representatives of the community of Serbs in Montenegro.
Montenegro is a member of NATO and is in the process of joining the EU. Since officials of EU members express widespread support for the accession of Montenegro to the EU, this process will be completed by 2025. However, it depends on the political stability in the country, which may be undermined in the case of victory of the Democratic Front in the 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Furthermore, if the Democratic Front wins these polls, it will jeopardize the decision-making process within NATO. The country may resemble Hungary, notorious for incessantly blocking political meetings between NATO and Ukraine. Leaders of the Democratic Front may undermine the support for Ukraine within NATO and prevent alliance members from helping Ukraine defeat the Russian Federation. Apart from these possible actions, the Democratic Front may ally with Serbia, becoming another pillar of support for the Russian Federation in the Balkan peninsula. All EU members may feel this alliance’s consequences in this scenario.
All these circumstances indicate that these upcoming elections in Montenegro may play a substantial role in European politics, influencing the whole world. That is why pro-European parties in Montenegro should unite to defeat the pro-Russian right-wing populist alliance. The unity is vital not only for Montenegro but also for Europe, NATO, and Ukraine.