Montenegro votes in first presidential election since joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

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Bojanic, who had the support of most opposition parties, including pro-Russian factions, said he voted to "put an end to the reign of an autocrat who wants to turn Montenegro into a dictatorship". Djukanovic favours European Union integration over closer ties with Russian Federation.

Milo Djukanovic, the presidential candidate of the ruling DPS party (Democratic Party of Socialists), gestures during the meeting with his supporters in the DPS' headquarters in Podgorica, Montenegro, April 15, 2018.

After the initial projections, party officials described the vote as a "great victory, a historic victory".

The win marks Djukanovic's return to the office he already held from 1998 until 2002. "I am appealing to opposition voters not to view this as a defeat but as a basis for further struggle". "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. President Filip Vujanovic, also of the ruling party, was not running due to term limits.

About 530,000 voters can choose between several candidates in the country on the Adriatic Sea. "Djukanovic is the new president of Montenegro".

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Djukanovic led Montenegro to independence from much-larger Serbia in 2006 and was behind the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bid, which Moscow strongly opposed.

Kosovo leaders including President Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj have congratulated Djukanovic on the victory. Bojanic, an economic expert and former lawmaker, has accused the ruling party of corruption and links to organized crime following a rise in crime-related violence.

Prosecutors have charged 14 people, including two opposition leaders and two Russian intelligence officers, in connection with the alleged conspiracy.

According to some reports, this included a Russian plan to assassinate Mr Djukanovic. The Kremlin has denied involvement.

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