Djukanovic Wins Montenegro's Presidential Election

Pro-EU Milo Djukanovic favourite to win Montenegro's presidential election

AFP: Pro-Western Djukanovic set for victory in Montenegro presidential vote

Voting began in Montenegro's presidential election on Sunday, with pro-European Union membership candidate Milo Djukanovic and his ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) forecast to get slightly more than 50 percent of the votes.

In March he announced his bid to return to frontline politics and the 56-year-old economist wants to take the predominantly Orthodox country - which has pro-Russia sympathies - into the European Union following its admission to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 2017.

The Monitoring Center (CeMI) says that Djukanovic has secured a victory winning 53.8% of the vote, Bojanic has garnered 33.6%, Vuksanovic has 8.1% and Milacic has 2.9%.

Elections by monitors from Montenegro's presidential elections have revealed that ruling-party leader Milo Djukanovic has swept the vote.

The likely victor is Milo Djukanovic, who has led the government as prime minister six times since 1991 and was president from 1998-2002.

Djukanovic, who has previously served as president and prime minister, faced off several other candidates.

Opinion polls predict a first-round victory but if the veteran politician is forced into a run-off he will have to face voters again on 29 April.

Supported by the main opposition parties, whether pro-Russian or not, he is credited with about a third of the vote.

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"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.

The country has also been marred by organized crime, with about 20 people killed by assassinations or vehicle bombs over the last two years.

Earlier in the campaign he accused Djukanovic of being "the creator of the instability and chaos that we witness in the streets of Montenegro".

Electing Djukanovic puts into question a historically strong relationship between the small Balkan state and Russian Federation along with domestic social stability. "But the problem is that I do not know which side he is on", he added.

For Djukanovic, however, the choice between Brussels and Moscow is crucial to whether Montenegro will "remain on its road of development".

With Montenegro's average salary at around 500 euros ($615) and unemployment at over 20 percent, the debate over the West versus Russian Federation is not the main concern of many Montenegrins.

But he toned down the anti-Russian rhetoric, saying he wanted "normal relations with Russia if it is prepared to do the same".

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