Pro-Western Djukanovic sweeps back into power in Montenegro
Pro-Western Djukanovic sweeps back into power in Montenegro
Pro-EU Milo Djukanovic favourite to win Montenegro's presidential election
16 Апреля, 2018, 06:17
Podgorica. The people of Montenegro began voting Sunday in polls expected to see pro-Western former prime minister Milo Djukanovic elected as president of the tiny Balkan nation that is aspiring to join the EU, AFP reported.Having dominated politics in the former Yugoslav republic for almost 25 years, Djukanovic stepped down as prime minister in October 2016. The pro-European leader defied Russian Federation past year by taking the Balkan State into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
A projection by the Centre for Election Monitoring (CEMI) on Sunday evening gave Djukanovic 53.9 per cent of the votes and his main challenger, Mladen Bojanic, 33.4 per cent.
Current incumbent Filip Vujanovic is a close associate of Milo Djukanovic, a member of his Socialist Democrats Party (DPS).
The likely victor is Milo Djukanovic, who has led the government as prime minister six times since 1991 and was president from 1998-2002.
The presidential position is largely ceremonial, but Đukanović has been at the fore of Podgorica's shift towards the European Union in his previous stints as prime minister and president of the country.
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.
His strongest rival is Bojanic, who has the support of most opposition parties, including pro-Russian factions, and is expected to secure around a third of the vote.
If Mr Djukanovic wins the presidency - now a ceremonial post - it is expected to become the real seat of power in the country of 620,000 people.
The country has also been marred by organized crime, with about 20 people killed by assassinations or vehicle bombs over the last two years.
Because the military alliance was joined by Montenegro in December, the vote Sunday is your initial.
Mr Djukanovic has been accused by the opposition of being linked to the mafia, which he denies.
He had accused Djukanovic of being "the creator of the instability and chaos that we witness in the streets of Montenegro". "But the problem is that I do not know which side he is on", he added. The pro-Russian candidate, Marko Milacic, came fourth with 2.7 per cent of the votes.
As Montenegro has joined the West in sanctioning Russia over its annexation of Crimea and recently expelled a Russian diplomat given Britain's nerve agent attack, Russia may need to rethink its strategies in the Balkans if it seeks to maintain influence. Local newspapers have already raised this week cases of presence on the electoral rolls of deceased persons.
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