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news 13 Feb 17

Montenegro Opposition Backs ‘Pro-Moscow’ Tycoon for Mayor

Millionaire businessman Miodrag Daka Davidovic is likely to be the pro-Russian opposition’s mayoral candidate at the upcoming local elections in Monetenegro’s second city Niksic.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
Miodrag Daka Davidovic receiving a medal from Serbian Patriarch Irinej in 2012. Photo: spc.rs

Several anti-NATO opposition parties are to endorse businessman Miodrag Daka Davidovic as the leader of a joint electoral list to challenge the pro-Western ruling Democratic Party of Socialists of former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic at local polls in Niksic on March 12.

Local media reported that Davidovic, often described by pro-government media the Montenegrin opposition’s ‘Moscow connection’, will be formally confirmed as the joint candidate at a meeting on Tuesday, after the parties made an agreement to back him on Sunday.

The local elections in Niksic, the second largest city in the country, will test the strength of both the Democratic Party of Socialist and their opponents who oppose the country’s NATO membership bid and advocate closer ties with Russia.

The still-powerful former premier Djukanovic will reportedly lead his party’s election campaign in Niksic, which is his hometown, after the opposition took over power in several municipalities in elections in October last year.

This led the pro-Russian opposition to decide to endorse Davidovic as its strongest chance to challenge Djukanovic.

The opposition coalition in Niksic will include the Democratic Front, the main opposition alliance in the country, and five other smaller anti-NATO parties.

Davidovic reportedly agreed to head the list for the polls only after the six parties reached a deal on a joint list for the elections.

Davidovic, once a close friend and business partner of former Yugoslav PM and Montenegrin president Momir Bulatovic, has a major construction business both in Montenegro and in Russia.

He is believed to have influence in Moscow and arranged high-level meetings for Montenegrin opposition leaders at the Kremlin in recent months.

He has been accused by pro-government media and some politicians from the ruling party of supporting and financing the Democratic Front during massive anti-government demonstrations in 2015, of having close ties with the Serbian Orthodox Church, and even of having a role in the alleged coup attempt on election day last October.

Montenegrin outlets of the Belgrade-based Pink TV and tabloid newspaper Informer, which are considered to be mouthpieces for Djukanovic and his party, reported in November that Davidovic is under investigation by the Special Prosecution over suspicions he financed the alleged plot to overthrow Djukanovic’s government on October 16.

Davidovic however denied the claims.

In a rare public statement, in a comment article which was published by daily newspaper Vijesti on November 4, he wrote that the only thing that has been said about his that is true is that he supports the opposition.

“I am not ashamed to say that I was among a few from the business sector who had the courage to stand with the opposition,” Davidovic wrote in the article.

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