Thursday, 19 April, 2018


Milo Djukanovic's DPS claims victory in Montenegro presidential election

Montenegro to elect new president on Sunday Montenegro elections likely to mark closer relations with both Russia and the West
Bennie Garza | 16 April, 2018, 04:34

Mladen Bojanic, a businessman backed by an alliance of parties, including some wanting closer ties with Russian Federation, was set to come second with 33 percent, according to a projection by the Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI) pollster, based on a representative sample of polling stations.

Montenegro's former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic on Sunday claimed victory in the presidential election, according to an NGO monitoring the polls.

The win marks Djukanovic's return to the office he already held from 1998 until 2002. He added that "this is a great victory, a historic victory".

However, the DPS and Djukanovic led Montenegro into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation a year ago and have pledged to complete talks for European Union membership.

The vote, the first since Montenegro joined North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in December, was seen as a test for Djukanovic, who favors European integration over closer ties to traditional ally Moscow. Djukanovic challenger will be Mladen Bojanic, backed by resistance groups, for example types that are pro-Russian. Party leader Milos Nikolic said at the party's headquarters: "Djukanovic is the new president of Montenegro... there will be no second round". Opposition member Mladen Bojanic came second.

"For so many years we are awaiting changes in Montenegro and I am assuming that will happen today in a democratic way that Montenegro deserves", Radmila Cagorovic, 66, a retired schoolteacher said after casting her ballot in Podgorica.

Djukanovic, the country's dominant politician, and his Democratic Party of Socialists have ruled Montenegro for almost 30 years. President Filip Vujanovic is maybe not running due to word limits.

About 530,000 voters were choosing among several candidates in the Adriatic Sea nation that used to be part of Yugoslavia.

Montenegro's last parliamentary vote in 2016 was marred by the arrest of a group of Serb nationalists who had allegedly plotted to assassinate Djukanovic and bring pro-Russian parties to power, to stop the country's accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

During the campaign, opposition candidates accused Djukanovic of fostering cronyism, nepotism, corruption and ties with organized crime, which he denied.

The fractured opposition parties supporting Bojanic include the pro-Russian Democratic Front, whose two main leaders are on trial for taking part in the alleged 2016 coup attempt.

According to some reports, this included a Russian plan to assassinate Mr Djukanovic.

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