(Un)fair elections in Montenegro

This fall is not only the election season not only in the U.S. but also in a tiny country in Eastern Europe called Montenegro. And the elections there are pretty interesting and intriguing too.

Current Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic has been in power more than 20 years and today he is facing a tough battle with opposition leader Andrija Mandic. News sources call it a battle between the West and Russia.

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Goran Danilovic, Minister of Interior Affairs of Montenegro, said Friday that he finds allegations about Russia’s involvement in the country’s election process highly doubtful.

“Neither the minister nor the government, nor me know anything about these possible provocations, and it would be logical to inform the public about it,” – said Danilovic.

Opposition parties have also weighed in and objected that Milo Djukanovic, the prime Minister of Montenegro, has been wrongfully speculating about Russia’s influence: contrary to Djukanovic’s rhetoric, opposition parties are not being funded by Russia; instead, the current government tries to distract attention and cover its own cronyism and organized crime, perpetuating through Djukanovic’s 30-year-long tenure.

“Djukanovic has ruled Montenegro for 30 years, but that’s not because he won elections. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and other organizations which monitor elections have demonstrated that the elections were falsified. That is the only explanation why the opposition can’t beat Djukanovic. He can’t beat us in elections, he is stealing from us, and that’s how he manages to get the required number of delegates on the basis of which the government is later elected,” opposition leader Andrija Mandic concluded.

Right now, while the election is being held, activists report that multiple cases of electoral fraud have been registered. The activists have seen a lot of vehicles with EU plates, people are arriving by buses. All of them enter the polling stations.

What’s more, For example, Montenegro’s population as of August 1, 2016 was 622,833 and 465,974 of them were above 18 y.o. which is the voting age limit.

Following the simple logic one can presume that these are the citizens that compile the electoral register, but, according to Montenegro’s Ministry of Internal Affairs there are 529,993 citizens included in the list. So, there are almost 64,000 nonexistent citizens of voting age living in Montenegro.

This battle looks so pathetic. NATO invited this tiny country of 620K people to join last year, and those who support it, say it will bring more security and prosperity to Montenegro, but let’s not forget about the fact that NATO bombed Montenegro when the alliance intervened in 1999 to end a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo by Serbia, with which Montenegro was then in a state union.

Anyway, we’ll see how these falsifications will work out at the end of the day, since there are no reliable polls there. But, it there really was voter fraud, it casts a giant shadow on NATO and the EU, but who is surprised here anyway, right?

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