Millennial economist Jakov Milatovic wins Montenegro election

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An Oxford-educated economist received Sunday’s presidential runoff in Montenegro, rallying voters fed up with greater than three a long time of political dominance by incumbent Milo Djukanovic.

Jakov Milatovic, a 36-year-old former banker, bought 60% of votes, in contrast with 40% for Djukanovic, state broadcaster RTCG reported. It cited the Podgorica-based Middle for Monitoring and Analysis, which carried out a parallel depend from a nationwide pattern of polling stations. 

A relative newcomer who co-founded a political occasion solely final 12 months, Milatovic promised renewed financial reforms and pledged to root out corruption to deliver the NATO member state of 620,000 folks nearer to European Union membership.

“This can be a victory of reconciliation, a triumph for all of us,” Milatovic advised supporters within the capital Podgorica late Sunday. “Montenegro has made a step ahead to a European, extra stunning and extra simply Montenegro.”

If confirmed by official outcomes anticipated on Monday, the victory units the stage for common elections in June which will additional erode the affect of Djukanovic, who has served nearly repeatedly as president or premier since 1991. It might additionally resolve a political impasse within the tourism-dependent financial system, which suffered one in all Europe’s worst financial contractions through the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Two successive governments collapsed final 12 months amid infighting amongst lawmakers in Montenegro’s parliament, and the nation has been run by a caretaker cupboard for greater than six months.

Milatovic, who has labored for Deutsche Bank, the EBRD and Slovenia-based NLB, additionally pledged to maintain Montenegro aligned with EU insurance policies, whilst he wooed voters who cherish the nation’s historic ties with Russia. 

The influential Serbian Orthodox Church, the most important denomination in Montenegro, additionally endorsed him after recurring disputes with Djukanovic. 

Initially a Communist and an ally of Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic, Djukanovic turned a pro-Western chief who ditched shut ties with Russia and now helps sanctions imposed on the Kremlin over the invasion of Ukraine. 

Throughout his marketing campaign, Djukanovic warned of threats to Montenegro’s sovereignty from nationalism towards Serbia, whilst Montenegro’s former federation companion and far larger neighbor stays his nation’s prime buying and selling companion. 

With related messages to voters in 2020 parliamentary elections, his occasion misplaced that poll to a motley alliance starting from conservative and pro-Serbian to pro-Western and liberal teams.

Djukanovic conceded defeat however indicated that he received’t be quitting politics as his political occasion stays a key participant in Montenegro.

“A multi-ethnic, civic and European Montenegro stays my love and what I’ll be devoted to till the tip of my life,” he advised reporters late Sunday.

A parliamentary election on June 11 will pit Djukanovic’s Democratic Occasion of Socialists in opposition to Europe Now, co-founded final 12 months by Milatovic with former finance minister Milojko Spajic, as soon as a Goldman Sachs credit score analyst.

Whereas in authorities from late 2020 till April 2022, the 2 oversaw a tax reform and an increase in public wages, regardless of criticism that it could undermine state funds.

–With help from Jasmina Kuzmanovic.

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