Montenegro Local Elections Pose Test for Ruling Party

Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic has set May 25 as the date for local elections, which will be held in accordance with the new EU-backed electoral law.

Elections will duly take place in Podgorica, Bar, Bijelo Polje, Danilovgrad, Zabljak, Kolasin, Plav, Pluzine, Pljevlja, Rozaje Savnik and Gusinje, Vujanovic said.

Analysts say the spring elections in Podgorica are a key test for the ruling Democratic Party of Socialist-led coalition at national level, as well as for the opposition, which took power in two municipalities this year.

The importance of the Podgorica election for the ruling DPS is shown by the fact that the Prime Minister, Milo Djukanovic - the leader of the party - will personally coordinate DPS activities in the election in the capital.

The DPS has already replaced the controversial mayor of Podgorica, Miomir Mugosa, who is held responsible for the break-up of a coalition with the Social Democratic Party at city level.

The Social Democrats, who are still in coalition with the DPS at national level, have since formed an alliance with the opposition Positive Party for the local elections in the capital.

The DPS has meanwhile named the Minister of Education, Slavoljub Stijepovic, as head of its list in the Podgorica election.

On Monday, the main opposition Democratic Front announced that its leader, Miodrag Lekic, will head the Front's list in the capital. Lekic was the Front's presidential candidate in the 2013 elections.

The election was marred by controversy, when both the incumbent president, Vujanovic, and Lekic declared themselves victors.

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