Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Milo Djukanovic's DPS claims victory in Montenegro presidential election

Milo Djukanovic's DPS claims victory in Montenegro presidential election

Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) declared him the victor on the evening of April 15. None of the remaining six candidates reached double digits.

Preliminary projections show six-time prime minister and onetime president Milo Djukanovic as the victor of Montenegro's presidential election.

The win marks Djukanovic's return to the office he already held from 1998 until 2002.

Djukanovic is the best-known candidate in the race, with his campaign slogan declaring him a "leader, statesman and president of all citizens".

Earlier test polling by CEMI, which is tasked with releasing the first results, gave his main rival, Mladen Bojanic, 34.1 percent.

Monitoring agencies have confirmed Djukanovic's election win.

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

The opposition says Djukanovic has ties to the mafia, an accusation he has denied.

"I agree with Djukanovic that the state is stronger than the mafia".

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

About 530,000 voters were eligible to vote in the election. Djukanovic challenger will be Mladen Bojanic, backed by resistance groups, for example types that are pro-Russian. The average salary in Montenegro sits at around €500 ($615) and unemployment is more than 20 percent.

For Djukanovic, however, the choice between Brussels and Moscow is crucial to Montenegro's development.

All candidate countries are strongly encouraged to align their foreign policy with the European Union, including regarding Russian Federation.

But for the 620,000 people in Montenegro, their votes may have been swayed by what work prospects are offered by the candidates rather than ties to the West or Russian Federation.

Biljana Popovic from the Centre for Democratic Transition, one of the NGOs monitoring the vote, said there were "a few irregularities that so far are not likely to affect the election".

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