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Exclusive: Montenegro Earthquake Poll—Waiting for ‘Europe To Arrive Now’ in the ‘Post-Milo Era’

Written by Mihail Murgashanski & Tobias Gerhard Schminke

Redfield & Wilton Strategies has conducted the first post-election poll in Montenegro that Europe Elects is exclusively presenting.

The latest Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll relating to the 11 June national parliament election in Montenegro shows an earthquake shift in favour of the new centrist Evropa Sad! party of President-elect Jakov Milatović, which in the poll wins 44%. It is the first time the party will contest a national parliament election.

The centre-right multiparty Democratic Front (DF, ~ EPP) multiparty alliance is polling at 17%. The centre-right DCG (~ EPP) and the environmentalist URA (G/EFA) are polling at six per cent each. All other parties are polling below the three per cent threshold. Among those who are set to lose parliamentary representation are several centre-left parties—including the SNP (~S&D), SDP (S&D) and SD (*)—who each win one per cent of the vote.

Bošnjačka stranka (BS-EPP), a designated Bosnian minority list, is polling at one per cent but is exempt from the threshold.

A likely government coalition could consist of Evropa Sad! , DCG and URA. Besides these parties, the DF alliance might join this coalition as well, or supply support in the Parliament, as this alliance is trying to improve its troubled international reputation. URA currently occupies the Prime Minister’s post. Montenegro has been plagued by government instability since the collapse of DPS (S&D) in the 2020 election. The current caretaker minority government under Dritan Abazović involves the above-mentioned SNP, URA, and BS, as well as two designated Albanian minority parties and the liberal Civis party.

Asked who Montenegrin voters prefer as their future Prime Minister 24% answered Milojko Spajić, the leader of Evropa Sad!; 11% favoured the incumbent, Dritan Abazović (URA). Outgoing President Milo Đukanović (DPS) received eight per cent. Other candidates received even less than that. 40% think that Spajić (Evropa sad!) will become the new prime minister. In that scenario, 32% say they would be excited and optimistic, which is almost double what the second-highest achiever, Dritan Abazović (17%), receives in this category.

Employment and wages is the most important issue for 28% of respondents; 23% name economic development. Corruption (eight per cent), education (four per cent), healthcare and joining the EU (each three per cent) follow suit in the ranking of most important issues. 43% describe the state of the Montenegrin economy as bad or very bad; only 10% describe it as good or very good.

Voters believe that these issues can best be tackled by Evropa sad. About 40% believe they’re the best party to manage or fix the economy, and just below 30% think they’re the best party to support the healthcare and education system. None of the other parties receive more than 15% in these categories. However, only 22% believe Evropa Sad! will tackle corruption; 18% say that URA is the best party to do so.

Overall, voters are more optimistic (32%) than pessimistic (15%) about the general direction in which Montenegro is heading.

When asked about foreign relations, Montenegrins are more split than their NATO membership and EU aspirations would suggest: Serbia is seen as the country’s most important international partner. 48% of voters consider the country to be Montenegro’s ally. This is followed by Russia (39%), China (38%), and the EU (37%). The US is seen as an ally by 21%, while 25% see it as a threat. Just above 10% see the EU or Russia as a threat. That value drops to only six per cent for China.

Besides, Serbia, Montenegrins see North Macedonia (37%) as their most important ally in the region.

While Montenegro is facing serious economic difficulties, the likely new Evropa Sad! -led government will have a difficult task in overcoming the current economic challenges and move forward with the EU accession negotiations, as the nation desperately waits for ‘Europe to arrive now’ in the ‘post-Milo (Đukanović) era’.


2 April 2023 will undoubtedly be one of the most significant dates in the modern political history of Montenegro. After the crucial parliamentary election on 30 August 2020 when DPS (S&D) together with its traditional coalition partners lost the majority in the parliament after 30 years of power, a wave of political and economic changes came to the country, but also a wave of new uncertainties. The three key alliances ZBCG (~ EPP|ECR), MјNN (~ EPP) and CnB (G/EFA) agreed on forming a technocratic government led by Zdravko Krivokapić. Three names were particularly significant after its formation: Dritan Abazović (URA-G/EFA), Milojko Spajić and Jakov Milatović.

As a Deputy Prime Minister in charge of coordination of the security sector and national security, Abazović investigated and revealed several scandals involving key political figures such as the current President Milo Đukanović (DPS-S&D) which led to rise of his popularity. However, after the government crisis and fall of the government, he made a controversial move in proposing a minority government led by himself with the support of DPS. Entering such a coalition had a negative effect on his personal and party ratings. Shortly after the vote of no confidence of his government, he slowly started to improve the relations with his former coalition partners resulting in support for Aleksa Bečić (DCG~ EPP) in the first and Jakov Milatović (Evropa Sad!-*) in the second round of the recent presidential elections.

Jakov Milatović and Milojko Spajić were completely unknown for the broader Montenegrin public before they entered the ministerial positions regardless of their impressive international careers and education. As Ministers for Economic Development (Milatović) and Finance and Social Welfare (Spajić) they implemented the stimulus economic reform programme ‘Europe now!’. Among other things, the programme included raising the minimum salary from 250 to 450 euros per month, as well as imposing progressive taxation. Since presenting the reform, their approval rating skyrocketed in both CeDem and NSPM polls. After the fall of the Krivokapić government, encouraged by their growing popularity, Spajić and Milatović formed a new political movement named after their already well-known economic programme – Europe Now! (Evropa Sad!).

The DPS (S&D) party of outgoing President Milo Đukanović is set to win 20%. DPS has won a plurality of votes in every national parliament election so far and has ruled the country either by holding the Presidency, the premiership, or both over the past 30 years. After losing the presidency last month, it would be the worst polling result in the history of the party, which was founded in the early 1990s. In the last election 2020, the DPS-led multiparty list won 35% of the vote.

The continued surge of the rating of Evropa Sad! led to an electoral success for the movement in the nation’s capital Podgorica local election last year resulting with the first post-DPS and first female mayor Olivera Injac (Evropa Sad!-*) who was inaugurated last week. It continued with a historic victory for Milatović over Đukanović whose first direct defeat signals the end of an era in the upcoming parliamentary election on 11 June. The Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll provided exclusively to Europe Elects only vindicates this impression, leaving questions for Đukanović in the weeks of campaigning ahead.

Redfield & Wilton Strategies provided this self-commissioned poll exclusively to Europe Elects. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is an accredited member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s Transparency Initiative and the British Polling Council and abides by both organizations’ rules.

Download the full data of the poll as a PDF here.