Monday, April 07, 2008

Montenegro: President Vujanovic wins reelection

From early returns in Montenegro, it appears that President Filip Vujanović has handily won reelection, taking a majority of votes cast (around 52%). Vujanović is a part of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, the party of PM Milo Đukanović (the Milosević ally-turned-enemy also known for allegedly smuggling into Italy and backing NATO during the Kosovo crisis for, perhaps, his own opportunistic ends; Đukanović quit in 2006, then decided he couldn't stay just in private business and returned to office in February).

At any rate, this is a pretty resounding mandate for the ruling coalition, which has been in control since the early '90s. A quickly growing economy--especially since leaving the union with Serbia--may have much to do with that. The pro-Serb opposition candidate appears to have received just over 20 percent, and a liberal candidate around 17 percent. The president is a typical European ceremonial president, so the significance of this is essentially as a voter endorsement for Đukanović's resumption of power and the ruling DPS (whose continued stranglehold over Montenegrin government is, however, a little worrying).

One interesting/misleading quote from the AP article is:
"Ethnic Serbs, who make up about 30 percent of the population, opposed the split."
Note that the difference between "ethnic Serbs" and "ethnic Montenegrins" is political; they speak the same language (be it "Serbian" or "Montenegrin") and are the same in everything except for their ethnic self-definition. Compare to the "Moldovan" and "Romanian" languages, or perhaps "Valencian" and "Catalan." Therefore, the definition is somewhat tautological; "ethnic Serbs" by definition consider Montenegro and Serbia one country.

See also election article at Wikipedia.

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