Milo Djukanovic wins Montenegro's presidential election

Milo Djukanovic wins Montenegro's presidential election

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

Mladen Bojanic, a businessman backed by an alliance of parties, including some wanting closer ties with Russian Federation, was set to come second with 33 percent, according to a projection by the Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI) pollster, based on a representative sample of polling stations.

Montenegro's ruling party leader Milo Djukanovic swept a presidential election on Sunday, preliminary results showed, and he pledged to keep the small Balkan country firmly on a European path after it joined North Atlantic Treaty Organisation previous year in defiance of Russian Federation.

"After this overwhelming and superior result you should reconsider your political position", he said in a direct message to opposition leaders.

Approximately 530,000 voters can choose among candidates. "I see this result as a proof of Montenegro's determination to move forward along the European path".

During the campaign he said: "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".

Previously served as prime minister and once as a president, 56-year-old Djukanovic is returning to active politics after a brief break.

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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.

Mladen Bojanic, the second ranked candidate supported by larger part of opposition parties, won 32 percent, while Draginja Vuksanovic from the Social-Democratic Party of Montenegro won 8 percent.

The opposition accuses Djukanovic of being linked to the mafia, which he denies.

Mr Bojanic said Mr Djukanovic "cannot be the solution because he is the creator of the instability and chaos that we witness in the streets of Montenegro". The average salary in Montenegro sits at around €500 ($615) and unemployment is more than 20 percent.

Djukanovic has pared back his anti-Russian rhetoric saying he wanted "normal relations with Russia if it is prepared to do the same", but he has also said he wants the country to "remain on its road of development", which would be better achieved through ties with Brussels.

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

No significant election irregularities had been reported.

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