Serbia Denies Meddling In Tense Montenegro Election

Serbia Denies Meddling In Tense Montenegro Election

Serbian officials have denied that Serbia and its president have interfered in Montenegros parliamentary election that was narrowly won by proBelgrade and proRussian political groupings.

BELGRADE, Serbia: Serbian officials have denied that Serbia and its president have interfered in Montenegros parliamentary election that was narrowly won by pro-Belgrade and pro-Russian political groupings.

Though Montenegros long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists garnered the most votes in Sundays election, a coalition of three opposition parties together won 41 seats in the 81-seat national parliament, enough for them to try form the next government.

Montenegros President Milo Djukanovic, who heads the ruling DPS party, has accused Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his powerful state propaganda mechanism of interfering in the election that was held after months of protests by supporters of the influential Serbian Orthodox Church over its property rights in Montenegro.

Djukanovic said that since the church-led protests started in December, Belgrade has launched a strong media and political aggression against Montenegro.

President Vucic and the current state politics in Serbia have shown two very problematic intentions, Djukanovic told Nova.rs television late Tuesday. The first is the desire to interfere in the internal political life of other countries, and the second is an attempt to revive the policies of the greater Serbian nationalism.

Some 150,000 people died and millions were left homeless during the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia in clashes that started in Slovenia and then spread to Croatia and Bosnia and later to Kosovo. Former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic is generally blamed for stoking the bloodshed through a desire to create a Greater Serbia via the capture of nearby lands where Serbs lived.

Vucic, who once served as information minister in Milosevics government, has repeatedly denied meddling in Montenegros affairs and the election. His political allies on Wednesday joined him in the denials.

There is no way that Montenegro is in any form threatened by Serbia, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said.

She added that such claims could be seen as threats on Vucics life as they are drawing a target on his forehead

Djukanovic, who has ruled Montenegro for 30 years either as president or prime minister, has been a key Western ally in pushing the volatile Balkans toward a more pro-Western orientation. Djukanovic defied Russia in 2017 to lead his country into NATO after gaining independence from much larger Serbia in 2006.

There have been fears that an opposition-led government would mean a change in Montenegros stance and turn it away from NATO toward traditional allies Serbia and Russia.

The opposition leaders have sought to alleviate those fears. They have said they want to unify the divided nation by forming a government that would respect all international agreements and continue the reforms necessary for joining the European Union.

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  • First Published: September 2, 2020, 5:45 PM IST
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