The likelihood of the opposition party in the tiny state of Montenegro gaining power after 30 years in opposition stands in sharp contrast with the situation in Belarus, where the incumbent almost certainly fiddled the result to stay in power after 26 years.

Montenegro’s president, Milo Djukanovic, and his Democratic Party of Socialists did not help themselves by quarrelling with the pro-Serbian Orthodox Church in the run up to the poll, and allegations of graft and corruption added to the public mood for the need for a clean sweep.

The exact power balance after Sunday’s election is still unclear after the DPS gained a majority of votes but appeared to fall one seat short of a parliamentary majority.

A new administration will be markedly pro-Russian in its policies, an anomaly as the country joined NATO three years ago.

The BBC’s Balkans Correspondent Guy de Launey was prompted to comment that in the wake of international criticism of the country’s lack of democracy earlier this year, the likely change of government is “an eloquent riposte.”

PHOTO: Metropolitan Amfilohije, the church’s top cleric in Montenegro casts a ballot at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Cetinje, Montenegro, August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic