Djukanovic Set to Win Montenegro Presidency

Montenegro elections likely to mark closer relations with both Russia and the West

Djukanovic Set to Win Montenegro Presidency

Milo Djukanovic, the candidate for Montenegro's ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), has returned from self-imposed retirement to clinch a landslide win in presidential elections.

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.

The win marks Djukanovic's return to the office he already held from 1998 until 2002. "This is a great victory, a historic victory".

The victory is a major boost for Djukanovic, who defied Russian Federation to take his country into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation a year ago.

Because the military alliance was joined by Montenegro in December, the vote Sunday is your initial.

"Milo Djukanovic is the new president of Montenegro", said Milos Nikolic, of the DPS.

Challenger Bojanic, who was backed by several opposition groups, including pro-Russian ones, vowed to continue his struggle against Djukanovic, describing him as "the man holding Montenegro and its institutions hostage". His main opponent, Mladen Bojanic, won 33 percent.

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Djukanovic, the country's dominant politician, and his party have ruled Montenegro for almost 30 years.

Djukanovic is set to replace incumbent President Filip Vujanovic, whose mandate expires in May.

Approximately 530,000 voters can choose among candidates.

He was prime minister during a tense October 2016 parliamentary election when authorities said they thwarted a pro-Russian coup attempt created to prevent the country from joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Moscow, which opposed Montenegro's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership bid, has dismissed suggestions that it backed the alleged coup.

"I understand this election result as a confirmation of Montenegro's evolution to achieve European values, European standards and full membership in the European Union", Djukanovic said before opening a bottle of champagne.

According to some reports, this included a Russian plan to assassinate Mr Djukanovic. The Kremlin has denied involvement.

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