PODGORICA – The Parliament of Montenegro, after an all-night session, elected the government led by Prime Minister Milojko Spajić of the “Europe Now” Movement (PES). Spajić’s government replaced the technical mandate of the previous government led by Dritan Abazović, which faced a vote of no confidence in August 2022.
The new ruling majority represents the PES, the parties united around the coalition “Together for the Future of Montenegro” – the ZBCG (formerly Democratic Front), the Democrats, the Socialist People’s Party (SNP) and the minority parties Albanian national.
The Spajić government’s first decision is to postpone the census scheduled for November 1, due to significant political polarization and the boycott announced by the opposition Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS). The census is postponed for a month.
After his election, the new Prime Minister Spajić declared that the reform program “Europe Now 2” would be fully implemented as promised during the election campaign.
“We look forward to achieving results for our country,” he said.
Milojko Spajić’s campaign focused on promising to increase the country’s average wage to 1,000 euros, raise the minimum wage to 700 euros, increase minimum pensions to 450 euros and shorten the working day from eight o’clock.
Spajić entered politics after the 2020 elections when he was appointed Minister of Finance in the government of Zdravko Krivokapić. During his term as minister, Spajić implemented the “Europe Now 1” program, which involved increasing salaries by removing health contributions from employees’ income. After the fall of that government in February last year, Spajić and Milatović founded the “Movement Europe Now” party, capitalizing on the popularity of the wage increase program.
In his presentation, Spajić said that Montenegro will pursue its foreign policy in accordance with its strategic national interests, focusing on four main priorities: full membership in the EU, active and credible membership in NATO , good neighborly relations and strengthening the country’s role in multilateral organizations.
Regarding European integration, Spajić highlighted that Montenegro is currently in a crucial phase of EU accession negotiations, aimed at fulfilling the remaining provisional criteria in the chapters related to the rule of law.
Spajić stressed the need to complete ongoing reforms in the judicial system, consolidate achievements in the fight against corruption and organized crime, improve the overall media environment by resolving attacks against journalists.
He considered that EU membership is now more realistic than ever and that citizens of Montenegro have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the single European market even before accession, thanks to the announced growth plan for the Western Balkans .
During yesterday’s session, MPs elected the new Speaker of Parliament, Andrija Mandić, from the ZBCG coalition. Mandić’s party’s foreign policy priorities include lifting sanctions against Russia, withdrawing recognition of Kosovo’s independence, and opposing Montenegro’s membership in NATO.
Mandić’s foreign policy positions have faced criticism from the largest opposition party, the Democratic Socialist Party (DPS). However, Mandić stated that his goal was reconciliation and stressed the need for dialogue within Montenegrin society.
“No one is more important than the citizens and the country. This is why we need dialogue. We need to start trusting each other,” Mandić said after his election as Parliament Speaker.