Montenegro elects pro-West president Milo Djukanovic, projections show

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

Djukanovic claimed victory on Sunday night, with the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) he leads announcing that he will keep the Balkan state on course to European Union membership.

The EU in its 2016 country progress report told Montenegro it should continue its efforts to reduce organised crime, in particular on human trafficking and money laundering, and also noted the problem of worldwide cigarette smuggling through the port of Bar.

The Bulgarian-hosted meeting with bring together the heads of European Union member states as well as the leaders of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro to discuss a possible future inside the EU.

"Djukanovic's victory confirms that the country's shift to the West has become irreversible".

Having dominated politics as either prime minister or president of the former Yugoslav republic of about 620,000 people, Djukanovic stepped down as prime minister in 2016.

He came under investigation and was indicted by prosecutors in the Italian city of Bari in 2008 for alleged tobacco smuggling. He denies the claims.

Milo Djukanovic has won Montenegro's presidential election, according to final vote results released on Monday, which showed him with 53.9 per cent of ballots. 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 %.

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His main opponent is Mladen Bojanić, a businessman supported by several parties, including pro-Russian contingents.

Meanwhile, Bojanic described Djukanovic as an "autocrat leading Montenegro into a dictatorship".

For the rest of the candidates did not vote and 10% of the electorate, and in General for the highest office in the country fought seven people, among whom was first the woman reads about Dragin vuksanovic being put forward by the opposition Social democratic party.

Milos Nikolic, a spokesman for the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, said: "Milo Djukanovic is the new president of Montenegro. this is a great victory, a historic victory".

"Victory for the European future of Montenegro", said the pro-Western economist who led Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2016 and into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation a year ago.

The EU in its 2016 progress report told the country it should continue its efforts to reduce organised crime, especially human trafficking and money laundering.

Another candidate, pro-Russian Marko Milacic, has accused Mr Djukanovic of being responsible for the "situation in the country, from bloody streets to the foreign policy and a ruined economy".