Pro-Western Djukanovic sweeps back into power in Montenegro
PODGORICA – Agence France-Presse
Political heavyweight Milo Djukanovic, bidding to take Montenegro into the European Union, swept back into power in April 15’s presidential election after a two-year absence.
“Victory for the European future of Montenegro,” said the pro-Western economist who led Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2016 and into NATO last year.
Djukanovic wants to develop the predominantly Orthodox Balkan nation, a part of which has strong pro-Russia sympathies, by joining the EU.
His Social Democratic Party (DPS) announced the result after the first round of voting and the leading challenger accepted defeat.
“Djukanovic is the new president of Montenegro... there will be no second round,” DPS leader Milos Nikolic told journalists at party headquarters.
The independent NGO Centre for Monitoring (CEMI) said the six-time former prime minister had garnered almost 54 percent of the vote with two thirds of ballots counted.
Bojanic quickly conceded saying, “Montenegro has chosen what it has chosen.”
Having dominated politics in the former Yugoslav republic for nearly 25 years, Djukanovic stepped down as prime minister in October 2016. He announced his comeback last month.
The 56-year-old is expected to transform the presidency, previously a ceremonial five-year post held by his ally Filip Vujanovic, into the real seat of power in the country of 620,000 people.