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news 23 Nov 17

Djukanovic Hints at Return to Politics in Montenegro

Despite having retired from frontline politics, veteran leader Milo Djukanovic has recently signaled that he might stage yet another come-back – ‘if the country needs his help’.

Dusica Tomovic
Montenegro's former PM might run for the ocuntry'spresidency. Photo: go.me.

Montenegro’s veteran political leader Milo Djukanovic, who stepped out from running the government last year, might run for the country’s presidency in 2018, some analysts are forecasting.

Djukanovic stepped down last October after being prime minister or president for almost three decades. He has played a prominent role in the campaign for the local elections due on November 26 – which some see an an indication of his likely return to high office.

The presidential election is planned for March or Apil next year and Djukanovic’s party, the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, has yet to confirm its candidate for the race.

In an interview for local Pink TV, Djukanovic said that he could not say right now who the DPS presidential candidate would be because the issue remained open.

Asked then what he would do if he was not the presidential candidate, he responded: “politics and business.“

“When you spend 20 years in serious politics, it is logical that you will engage in politics for the rest of your life,” he said, hinting also at his future engagement in the international politics

In two other recent interviews for the local media, he also declined to exclude a possible return to public office, “if needed to help the country”.

Boris Raonic, a Podgorica-based political analyst, said Djukanovic’s possible return to political life would be influenced by the current strength of his party.

Despite his break from daily politics and stated desire to develop personal business, Raonic believes that the DPS leader is well aware that the success of his party and personal significance and comfort depend on his engagement.

“Without his presence, the DPS is incapable of winning, so all the election campaigns, from local, parliamentary to presidential, where the candidates were other people, were placed on his shoulders,” Raonic told BIRN.

Djukanovic led Montenegro to independence in 2006 and led his party to victory again in the latest general election last October.

He then stepped down after almost three decades in power, but remained the head of his party.

Still only 55 years old, he has been in power as premier or president since 1991, when he was just 29.

He served three consecutive terms as prime minister from 1991 to 1998 before becoming president of Montenegro from 1998 to 2002.

The last year’s withdrawal was the third time he quit politics; he had two two-year breaks in 2006 and 2010 – but even then he remained a powerful influence, and was widely believed to be pulling strings from the backstage.

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