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UPDATE 2 - Djukanovic wins Montenegro's presidency with 53.9% of votes

Author Maja Garaca
UPDATE 2 - Djukanovic wins Montenegro's presidency with 53.9% of votes License: Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0

PODGORICA (Montenegro), April 16 (SeeNews) - Former Montenegrin prime minister and ex-president Milo Djukanovic has won more than half of the votes in the first round of the country's presidential election, avoiding the need for a runoff, official data from the electoral commission showed on Monday.

With 100% of the votes counted, Djukanovic has won 53.90% support in Sunday's election, followed by Mladen Bojanic from Positive Montenegro party with 33.40%, according to data released by the electoral commission. 

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 EU membership.

Draginja Vuksanovic, MP of the Social Democratic Party and the first female presidential candidate in the history of Montenegro, secured 8.20% of the vote, while Marko Milacic, founder and current president of extra-parliamentary populist political party True Montenegro, trailed behind with 2.81%.

Hazbija Kalac, the leader of the Party for Justice and Peace, won 0.80% of the vote, businessman and independent Vasilije Milickovic had 0.48%, and Dobrilo Dedeic, a representative of the Serbian coalition, had 0.41%.

"[...] we won 54% of votes and thus overpowered the joint efforts of the other six candidates. This is a confirmation of Montenegro's resolve to continue down the European path, to continue down the road that will lead us to EU membership," Djukanovic said in a statement issued by the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro.

He also said his priority would be to guarantee employment and improve the standards of living.

In Podgorica, Djukanovic secured 54,532 votes or more than half of the 107,119 valid ballots cast in Montenegro's capital on Sunday.

Djukanovic is leader of DPS, which has been in power since the introduction of multi-party system in 1990. He served as prime minister of Montenegro from 1991 to 1998, as president of the country from 1998 to 2002, and as prime minister again from 2003 to 2006, from 2008 to 2010, and from 2012 to 2016.

The incumbent president of Montenegro, Filip Vujanovic, was reelected in the first round of the 2013 election on 51.2% of the vote. Vujanovic is ineligible in the April elections as under the Montenegrin constitution a president can serve up to two terms in office.

According to the electoral commission, the voter turnout on Sunday was 63.92%, with the percentage of valid votes at 98.24%.

Montenegro has a population of some 620,000.