PODGORICA, MONTENEGROAUGUST 31, 2020SOURCE: AFPTV
1. Wide shot Milo Djukanovic at beginning of his speech2. Wide shot activists applaud
3. SOUNDBITE 1 - Milo Djukanovic, President of Montenegro (male, Serbo-Croatian, 13 sec): "Whatever our position will be tomorrow in the Montenegrin Parliament, the Democratic Party of Socialists remains an unwavering advocate of Montenegro's European future."
4. Wide shot activists of the coalition "For the Future of Montenegro" applaud to greet Zdravko Krivokapic, its leader and head of the list, who arrives in the hall to address5. Pan right Zdravko Krivokapic takes the stand
6. SOUNDBITE 2 - Zdravko Krivokapic, Montenegrin opposition leader (male, Serbo-Croatian, 11 sec): "If we look at the results, they are such that the opposition will have 42 MPs (out of 81) and all the others will have 39."
7. Cutaway: Wide shot front pages of several Montenegrin daily newspapers
8. SOUNDBITE 3 - Mileta Lutovac, English translator (male, 67 years old, Serbo-Croatian, 5 sec): "As a citizen, I am not at all happy. I am disappointed and even a little afraid."
9. SOUNDBITE 4 - Bojan Tosic, Pensioner (male, 55 years old, Serbo-Croatian, 16 sec): "I am very happy with the result of the elections because we will change the power after thirty years through a vote, without violence, without revolution, without counter-revolution, without coloured revolution. It's important that we witness the changes. And all this is the result of the fact that this people, before believing in the nation, in politics, in a party, believes first in God."
10. Cutaway: Wide shot the photo inside a newspaper showing the pro-Serb opposition leader Zrravko Krivokapic at the end of his speech on Sunday evening
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newseriesMontenegro pro-West party risks ouster after three decades By Olivera NIKOLIC
ATTENTION - ADDS analyst ///Podgorica, Montenegro, Aug 31, 2020 (AFP) - Montenegro's pro-West ruling party could be knocked from power for the first time in three decades after a close election gave a slight edge to opposition camps, results showed on Monday.The Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) led by President Milo Djukanovic is still the biggest party after winning just over third of the vote, according to official results from Sunday's election.But it was their worst performance in Montenegro's history.If their main pro-Serb rivals join forces with two other opposition blocs, DPS could be ousted in what would be a political earthquake for the small Adriatic nation of 620,000 people.The DPS has never lost an election, with Djukanovic leading Montenegro since the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s to independence from Serbia, and more recently into NATO and towards the EU.But this year the party faced a stiff challenge from an emboldened right-wing and pro-Serb camp that wants closer links with Belgrade and Moscow.Projections by election monitor CeMI gave the three main opposition parties a lead of just one seat -- 41 in the 81-member assembly.A period of intense talks are expected to follow, with Djukanovic, in his role as president, ultimately responsible for handing down the first mandate.While the opposition's success is not a "done deal", the results were a "watershed" moment for the country and "good news for democracy", said Florian Bieber, an expert on the Balkans.
- 'Tensions inevitable' -
It remains to be seen if the opposition coalitions, which range from far-right Serb nationalists to a civic-minded liberal camp, can forge a working alliance."The range is so wide that tensions are inevitable and the question is whether a new government would be able to survive these tensions," Bieber told AFP, adding that any small defections could bring DPS back to power.In addition to long-running frustrations at a government accused of corruption and clientelism, analysts attributed DPS's weak showing to a law that sparked intense controversy with the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC).Passed in late 2019, the religion law opened a path for hundreds of SPC-run monasteries in Montenegro to become state property.This ignited huge anti-government protests, led by priests and backed by the pro-Serb opposition who accuse Djukanovic of trying to erase their heritage. While Montenegro declared independence from Serbia in 2006, a third of its population identify as Serb and the SPC remains its largest religious institution, making debates around identity highly sensitive.Throughout the Church row, Djukanovic sought to present himself as the guardian of Montenegrin nationhood, saying it was threatened by Serb nationalist forces.Speaking at the party's headquarters late on Sunday, Djukanovic underlined that DPS had the "strongest" finish in the poll and that the "struggle for the majority is still on".
- Church fireworks -
But Zdravko Krivokapic, the leader of the main pro-Serb alliance, announced triumphantly that "the regime has fallen".Supporters celebrated Sunday night in the streets of Podgorica, waving Serbian flags and setting off fireworks outside the largest Orthodox church in the capital.Leaders of the other main opposition parties were also ecstatic, with Dritan Abazovic from the liberal Black on White party declaring that "Mafia will no longer rule Montenegro".Djukanovic, who is now serving his second term as president after four stints as premier, will not face election himself until 2023.While he has won plaudits for making Montenegro a front-runner in the Balkans on its path to joining the EU, Djukanovic's critics accuse him of turning Montenegro into a personal fiefdom built on graft and crime links.The US-based Freedom House rights group recently downgraded Montenegro from a democracy to a "hybrid regime" under Djukanovic's "strongman" rule.str-ssm/wdb