Milo Djukanovic wins Montenegro presidential election

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

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

Montenegro's ruling party leader Milo Djukanovic swept to victory in 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.

Djukanovic who has served as the prime minister of Montenegro for six terms, and one term as president, told a press conference Sunday night at his party headquarters that "another valuable victory was achieved for the benefit of the European future of Montenegro".

Russian Federation launched a failed bid previous year to derail Montenegro's negotiations with the bloc.

The 56-year-old economist led Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2016 and into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation last year - now he wants to take the predominantly Orthodox country, a part of which has strong pro-Russia sympathies, into the European Union.

According opinion polls, the frontrunners were Djukanovic and Bojanic, the single opposition candidate.

"I also want to congratulate the victory to the newly elected president, Milo Djukanovic", Haradinaj wrote. In case neither of the seven candidates manages to win more than a half of votes, a runoff election between two candidates scoring the biggest number of votes in the first round will be appointed in a span of two weeks, on April 29.

Djukanovic 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.

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.

On Sunday Bojanic said he voted to "put an end to the reign of an autocrat who wants to turn Montenegro into a dictatorship".

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

The Center for Monitoring and exploration claimed following counting over 60 percent of the volatility though his opponent Mladen Bojanic won 34 percent which Djukanovic won approximately 5-3 percent.

Along with Serbia, Montenegro is the favourite to join the European Union next, possibly as early as 2025.

According to preliminary data, the turnout was 58.6%.

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