Montenegro Due To Call Presidential Election

Facing a Sunday deadline, Ranko Krivokapic, speaker of Montenegro’s parliament, is expected to call elections for a new head of state on Friday.The mandate of President Filip Vujanovic expires in May and by law elections need to be called at least 120 days before the expiration of Vujanovic’s mandate, which means January 20 at the latest.

It is still uncertain, however, which candidates Montenegrins will get to choose from in the presidential campaign.

Statements by leaders of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, suggest that the party may put forward the current head of state.

“A man who actively participated in the creation of the state and used his presidential mandate… for the people’s best interests is certainly one of the possible candidates”, Caslav Vesovic, the DPS spokesman, said on Tuesday.

Although opinion polls suggest that Vujanovic is the most popular public figure in the country, he may have difficulty running again.

This is because he is now serving a third term, and the 2007 constitution stipulates that the same head of state can be elected only twice.

There are different interpretations, however. Some say that since the country only restored its independence in 2006, Vujanovic is only now completing his first full term as President of an independent country. Thus, they say he should have the right to run again.

Media reports on Thursday said that Vujanovic had consulted the president of the Constitutional Court about his eligibility to run in the election again.

The Social Democratic Party, the junior coalition partner of the DPS, has said it would oppose a Vujanovic candidacy because of the legal issues, but also because it disagrees with some of his attitudes.

In the past, Vujanovic was a vocal opponent of the current Montenegrin national anthem.

Like many in the opposition, he wants the deletion of two verses, written by Sekula Drljevic, who was declared a war criminal by the Communist authorities after the World War II.

The SDP, on the other hand, has built up an image as a guardian of Montenegro’s national symbols.

The largest opposition formation, the Democratic Front, has said that its leader, Miodrag Lekic, will stand as its candidate.

The front is trying to attract support for Lekic’s candidacy from the rest of the opposition as well.

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