Montenegro's Ruling Party Wins Election, But Short of Majority
The ruling Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) is tipped to win the general vote held in the country on Sunday, exit polls quoted by local media show.
If confirmed, the result would award Prime Minister Milo ?ukanovi? anoter term in office, amidst his effort to pursue accession into NATO and to progress in negotiations with the EU.
A coalition government will have to be formed in Montenegro after no party managed to gain a majority in Sunday's general elections, election authorities say.
Prime Minister Milo ?ukanovi?, whose DPS party came first in the vote, said the result meant his country would adhere to its pro-European and NATO path.
He committed himself to launching talks with social democrats and minorities' parties which fared well in the vote.
Support for his DPS party was measured at 41% of the vote, which awards it 36 out 81 MP seats in the country's Parliament.
The Democratic Front Alliance (20.6%) and the Great Coalition Klju? ("Key") at 10.7% came second and third.
As many as six other parties are to enter Parliament, jumping over the three-percent threshold.
Lack of absolute majority for any of the candidates, however, means none can independently form a government.
Sunday's vote was portrayed as a battle between the pro-Western path, pursued by the ruling party, and a tilt toward Russia, which ?ukanovi? said was embodied by the opposition.
If the Prime Minister wins the vote, it will be his seventh term of office, adding up to his 27-year dominance in Montenegrin politics.
Voter turnout is said to have exceeded 73.2%, Balkan Insight reported.
The figure suggests some 346 000 people cast ballots, out of the 528 000-strong electorate.
The voting day was marked by occasional reports of irregularities and of 20 Serbian nationals allegedly being detained over terrorism.
Some civic organizations raised their indignation throughout the vote as the country's electronic communications agency ordered all thee mobile operators in the country to block messaging services such as Viber or WhatsApp, citing "spam messages" being send over the services.
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