Montenegro to elect new president on Sunday

  • Montenegro to elect new president on Sunday

Montenegro to elect new president on Sunday

Montenegro's former Prime Minister and former President Milo Djukanovic, the leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, has claimed to have won the Sunday presidential election and pledged to ensure the country's European Union membership before the end of his five-year presidential term. 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.

The Center for Election Monitoring (CeMI) projected Djukanovic winning over 53 percent of the vote, which would give him an outright victory in Sunday's election.

The Balkan nation's ruling social democrat party declared its head Milo Djukanovic the victor after 90% of the votes were counted, winning 53% of the ballots.

"Djukanovic is the new president of Montenegro. there will be no second round", DPS leader Milos Nikolic told journalists at party headquarters.

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

His strongest rival is Mladen Bojanic, who has the support of most opposition parties, including pro-Russian factions, and is expected to secure around a third of the vote. President Filip Vujanovic is maybe not running due to word limits.

"I will win today", Djukanovic predicted after voting.

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

Sunday's vote passed off peacefully amid fears of disorder after 20 people were arrested and accused of trying to stage a coup during legislative elections in 2016. Djukanovic challenger will be Mladen Bojanic, backed by resistance groups, for example types that are pro-Russian.

The issue of organised crime has cast a shadow on the campaign, with some 20 people killed by assassination or vehicle bombs over the last two years. The average salary in Montenegro sits at around €500 ($615) and unemployment is more than 20 percent.

In the run-up to the vote, local newspapers have alleged electoral fraud, saying many dead people figured on voters' lists.