Pro-Western economist beats longest-ruling Balkan leader in Montenegrin presidential elections

Former economy minister Jakov Milatović won over 60% of the vote in Montenegro’s presidential runoff this week, defeating the country’s long-standing incumbent, Milo Đukanović. Milatović campaigned on a pro-EU and anti-corruption platform. His victory is expected to boost his party’s chances in parliamentary elections in June. 

Although the president’s role is mostly ceremonial in Montenegro, the election result signals a substantial change in political leadership for the Balkan republic.

Milatović, an Oxford-educated economist, has been part of the current coalition government, while Đukanović has held various positions of power for the past three decades. Montenegro has been mired in political instability, most notably last year when the government collapsed over a controversial agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church.

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