Saturday, 21 April, 2018

Milo Djukanovic's DPS claims victory in Montenegro presidential election

Djurica Djurica
Ellis Copeland | 16 April, 2018, 06:14

He led Montenegro to independence from much-larger Serbia in 2006 and was behind the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bid. "He is the best statesman, the best prime minister and the best and smartest Montenegrin giant".

If this economist of almost 2 meters wins, the now honorary position of president will become the real seat of power.

Pro-European Union candidate Milo Đukanović and his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) are expected to garner more than 50 percent of the vote, reported Reuters. But if the veteran leader is forced into a run-off, it will be held on April 29.The opposition accuses Djukanovic of being linked to the mafia, which he denies."As president, I will do everything in my power.to give the police the authority that would allow them to protect citizens from those who put their lives in danger", Djukanovic said during the campaign.Djukanovic's strongest rival is Mladen Bojanic, who has the support of most opposition parties, including pro-Russian factions. Djukanovic challenger will be Mladen Bojanic, backed by resistance groups, for example types that are pro-Russian.

"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.

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.

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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Sunday's vote was seen as test for the long-time leader Djukanovic, who favors European integration over closer ties to Montenegro's traditional ally, Moscow.

His presidential candidacy is supported by the ruling coalition partner Social Democrats, as well as Bosniak, Croat and Albanian minorities.

For its part, the opposition has attacked the weight of organized crime in Montenegrin society, against the backdrop of settling scores between traffickers. The average salary in Montenegro sits at around €500 ($615) and unemployment is more than 20 percent.

Sunday, he will face the eternal accusations of electoral fraud. "But your father has been dead for twenty years ..."

The turnout was 64 per cent out of nearly 530,000 eligible voters in the small Adriatic country of some 650,000 people.

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