Montenegrins were casting their ballots in a presidential election widely tipped to be won by former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic. It is the first election since the country joined the Western military alliance, NATO. Sunday’s vote is being seen as test for Djukanovic, who favors European integration over closer ties to its traditional ally, Moscow. The former prime minister and his Democratic Party of Socialists have ruled the country for nearly 30 years. Current President Filip Vujanovic is not running due to term limits. Opinion polls predict a first-round victory for Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists’. However, if the former leader fails to win the seven candidate race, a run-off vote will be held on April 29.
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 wins the vote.
The ballot is the first election in Montenegro since Djukanovic’s party ignored calls from Russia and joined NATO in December last year. Montenegro is also expected to be one of the favorites to join the European Union next.