Culture&Arts

Early results show Djukanovic sweeping Montenegro vote

Early results show Djukanovic sweeping Montenegro vote

The Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), the ruling party of Montenegro, declared victory of their leader Milo Djukanovic in the presidential elections on Sunday, who promised to continue to pursue country's future membership in the European Union (EU).

Djukanovic, the country's dominant politician, and his Democratic Party of Socialists have mastered Montenegro for almost 30 decades. "This is a great victory, a historic victory".

"Just as we said, we have received 54% of the vote in the first round of the election and left the other six candidates behind", Djukanovic said at his election headquarters.

With 80 percent of ballots counted, the Center for Monitoring and Research said on Sunday that Djukanovic had won about 53 percent of the vote, ahead of his main opponent Mladen Bojanic with 34 percent. Djukanovic oversaw Montenegro's application and invitation to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 2016, to which pro-Russian Montenegrins reacted with a coup attempt before the legislative elections that year.

Mladen Bojanic, a businessman backed by an alliance of parties, including some wanting closer ties with Russian Federation, is seen trailing Djukanovic, who has dominated politics either as prime minister or president of the Adriatic country of only 620,000 people, with 30 percent of the votes in opinion polls.

Djukanovic challenger is Mladen Bojanic, supported by resistance bands, for example pro-Russian kinds.

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Although the presidential role is largely ceremonial, if Djukanovic wins and replaces his ally Filip Vujanovic, he is expected to wield considerable power and influence policy through the ranks of the DPS.

He said that the fact that such large percent of voters opted for him is a strong confirmation that Montenegro should continue along the path towards the EU.

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

Although Bojanic — who is predicted to garner some 35 percent of the votes — has promised to honor Montenegro's global position, his victory could trigger political uncertainty.

During the campaign, the opposition's main argument has been a recent spike in crime-related violence and killings in the country, which they blame on Djukanovic's government.

Two Russian military intelligence officers also have been tried in absentia for the failed plot that prosecutors said included plans to assassinate Djukanovic and take over power. The Kremlin has denied involvement.


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