Milo Djukanovic's DPS claims victory in Montenegro presidential election

Veteran Djukanovic wins Montenegro presidential election-projection

Founded in Montenegro are casting ballots in a presidential elections, with Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic expected to win following this past year, his celebration defied Russian Federation and required the modest Balkan state into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Djukanovic won 54 percent of the ballots, securing a victory in the first round and avoiding a runoff, according to results released by the independent Center for Monitoring and Research.

Djukanovic, a former prime minister and the country's dominant politician, and the Democratic Party of Socialists have ruled Montenegro for almost 30 years. President Filip Vujanovic, also of the ruling party, was not running due to term limits.

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".

But for the 620,000 people in Montenegro, their votes may have been swayed by what work prospects are offered by the candidates rather than ties to the West or Russian Federation.

The opposition says Djukanovic has ties to the mafia, an accusation he has denied.

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

Organised crime has cast a shadow over the campaign after 20 people were killed by assassinations in the street or auto bombs over the last two years.

Djukanovic's election team earlier announced his victory.

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"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.

The former prime minister, who has also served one term as president, can count on the support of the Croatian, Albanian and Bosnian minorities, which make up 15 percent of the electorate.

Monitoring agencies have confirmed Djukanovic's election win.

Low salaries and unemployment at above 20% means the debate over the West versus Russian Federation is not the main concern of many Montenegrins.

For Djukanovic, however, the choice between Brussels and Moscow is crucial to Montenegro's development.

But he has toned down the anti-Russian rhetoric, saying he wanted "normal relations with Russia if it is prepared to do the same".

The state election commission said turnout at 7.30 p.m (1730 GMT), half an hour before polling closed, was 61.6 percent.

Montenegro's presidency is a ceremonial post, but is expected to become the real seat of power in the country if 56-year-old Djukanovic is confirmed as the victor.

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