Djukanovic Eyes Diaspora Vote as Last Resort to Stay in Power

A woman walks past campaign billboards for Presidential candidates Milo Djukanovic and Jakov Milatovic in Podgorica, Montenegro. Photo: EPA-EFE/BORIS PEJOVIC

In the first round of the elections on March 19, incumbent President and Democratic Party of Socialists leader Djukanovic and Europe Now movement candidate Milatovic both passed to the second round. Djukanovic won 35.7 per cent and Milatovic won 28.9 per cent of votes cast in round one.

On March 27, Djukanovic and ruling Bosniak Party leader Ervin Ibrahimovic met with diaspora organizations from Germany and Luxemburg in Hanover, calling on them to vote in the second round. Media reported that diaspora voters will come to Sunday's elections by buses and on organized charter flights, on trips reportedly financed by businessmen close to Djukanovic.

The Montenegrin constitution grants voting rights to all citizens aged 18 or over and who have been residents of Montenegro for at least two years before polling day.

The Law on Residence and Domicile Registers dropped a previous provision that automatically erased those living abroad from the list of eligible voters. Because of this, Montenegrin citizens who live in the EU and US and have state identity documents are on the electoral roll.

According to the State Statistical Office, there are 56,846 more registered voters than actual adults in Montenegro. In some municipalities, the number of voters is greater than the local resident population.

The municipalities of Petnjica, Plav, Gusinje and Ulcinj, where there are more registered voters than actual residents, are known for their large diaspora communities in Western Europe and the United States.

The head of the government's diaspora office, Arben Jakupi, on March 28...

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