The people of Montenegro go to the polls this Sunday for what will be the first presidential election since the split from Serbia in 2006. The last presidential election was held in 2003. The incumbent, Filip Vujanović, is standing for re-election.
There are four candidates in the election. There is a two-ballot system with candidates needing to win an absolute majority at the first ballot, or a simple plurality at the second. Vujanović seems to be the front runner, though it is not clear whether he will be in a position to win at the first ballot.
The constitution of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro was parliamentary. The president was elected by parliament. However, the two member states – Serbia and Montenegro (!) – both had semi-presidential constitutions. So, the dissolution of the State Union in 2006 added two new semi-presidential countries to the list. Montenegro has a premier-presidential form of semi-presidentialism.
President Vujanović is a member of the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (DPS). The government is headed by Prime Minister Milo Đukanović from the same party. There is a coalition government, but the DPS party is far and away the dominant partner in the coalition.
In 2003, the presidential election in Montenegro was held three times. This was because for the first two elections there was a minimum participation requirement and the threshold was not reached. This requirement was abolished prior to the third election. Vujanović won each election, but was only legally elected at the third election.
By the way, prior to his election as president in 2003, Vujanović was prime minister. So, this is another case of a prime minister moving to the presidency, although Montenegro was not an independent state at the time.