Ruling party wins presidential elections in Montenegro

April 7th, 2008 - 5:42 am ICT by admin  

Podgorica, April 7 (DPA) Incumbent Filip Vujanovic won re-election with a first-round triumph in Sunday’s presidential election in Montenegro, shattering opposition hopes that the authority of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) may be crumbling. In a repeat of the 2003 presidential vote, Vujanovic won more than 50 percent of the votes polled, according to unofficial results acknowledged by his rivals. He becomes the first president elected since Montenegro’s separation two years ago from Serbia.

With his supremo, the DPS chief and Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic at his side, Vujanovic promised to keep the country firmly on its pro-Western course.

“We’ll work together for our European future,” Vujanovic told a crowd of supporters. “Montenegro belongs to the European Union, and we’ll join it.”

Now, with the victory of close ally Vujanovic, Djukanovic has comprehensively re-established the grip on power that he has had since 1991, when he was just 29 years old.

“I see that the consensus behind pro-European policies of DPS continues to grow,” Djukanovic said Sunday night.

Andrija Mandic of the Serbian List had 19.2 percent, the Movement for Change (PZP) chief Nebojsa Medojevic 17.3 percent and the Socialist People’s Party runner Srdjan Milic 11 percent of the vote.

Djukanovic has steered Montenegro away from Serbia’s influence in the late 1990s and eventually engineered a divorce through a referendum on independence two years ago. DPS also triumphed at parliamentary elections in September 2006.

Montenegro is now striving for quick membership in NATO and the European Union, while nurturing friendly relations and especially economic ties with Moscow, as the tiny Adriatic republic has in recent years become a second home to many affluent Russians.

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