Pro-Russian & Serb oppositionists take to the streets to contest Montenegro election result

Possibly in an attempt to recreate the divisions and instability that followed the contested Belarusian elections, thousands took to the streets in Montenegro on Tuesday night as the country's pro-Serbian and pro-Russian opposition movement claimed victory in the weekend's parliamentary elections.

Official results from the election on Sunday showed the tiniest of majorities to opposition parties, as the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), which has run Montenegro for 30 years, won the biggest share of the vote (35%) but fell one seat short of a majority, Euronews reports.

That was enough for opposition leaders and supporters to call time on President Milo Djukanovich's party's government.

"I came here to celebrate this historic victory of the people of Montenegro over a criminal regime," one woman celebrating in the centre of Podgorica told reporters on Monday evening.

Montenegro joined the Western NATO alliance in 2017 and has moved steadily closer towards the West under Djukanovich since gaining independence from Serbia in 2006.

Serbo-Croat Mileta Lutovac, 67, is an English translator. He is worried that progress could be derailed. "I am afraid because I think that what is happening directly jeopardises the path that Montenegro has taken, namely the path towards Western democracies and Western value systems."

Jamie Shea, a senior fellow at Friends of Europe in Brussels and a former Deputy Assistant of NATO, told Euronews it was too early to assume the next government will chart a different course regarding NATO and the West.

Shea said that due to the opposition's slim lead, the next government is unlikely to have the mandate to dramatically change Montenegro's relationship with the West. Djukanovich himself does not face re-election until 2023.

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