Coalition retains Montenegro power
Published 15/10/2012 | 01:13
Montenegro's ruling coalition has won a parliamentary election and is set to stay in power after ruling the Balkan country unchallenged for more than two decades, according to unofficial results.
The vote - the third since Montenegro gained independence from Serbia in 2006 - was held as the country seeks membership of the European Union and battles an economic downturn.
The apparent victory for the European Montenegro coalition comes despite economic troubles and allegations of crime and corruption.
The coalition, led by powerful ruler Milo Djukanovic, won 49.6% of the vote, or 39 out of 81 seats in the future parliament, according to results released by the Centre for Monitoring after 95% of the ballots were counted.
The opposition Democratic Front was second with 23.7%, or 20 parliamentary seats, followed by pro-Serb Socialist People's Party with 10.5% of the vote, or nine seats, the group said.
It added that no major changes are possible by the end of the counting process.
Caslav Vesovic , a spokesman for the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, said: "We will be the winners. This triumph will be even more convincing than the previous one."
Analysts said that the ruling coalition, which has kept a grip on power in Montenegro since the 1990s, will not be able to govern alone, but will have to seek support from minority groups in parliament, who are expected to win about half a dozen parliamentary seats.
The head of the Centre for Monitoring, Zlatko Vujovic, said that "chances for such a coalition are quite real, as they were coalition partners many times in the past".
Mr Djukanovic's coalition led Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2006 and opened accession talks with the European Union this year. Critics have accused his government of corruption and crime - allegations he has repeatedly denied.