Ruling centre-left coalition claims Montenegro vote win
(PODGORICA) - Veteran leader Milo Djukanovic late Sunday claimed victory for his centre-left coalition in Montenegro's parliamentary elections and promised to keep the Balkans nation on its EU path.
"Dear friends, we have won ... We have all the conditions to start working from tomorrow (Monday) on the formation of a government that will lead Montenegro on the path to European Union and NATO integration and improve the quality of life for all citizens," Djukanovic, who has been at the centre of power in Montenegro since the 1990s, told a crowd of up to 600 supporters at his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) headquarters at midnight Sunday (2200 GMT).
Although official results will not be announced until later Monday, an exit poll by the University of Podgorica and another survey by an independent election monitor both pointed to a comfortable win for the DPS-led coalition.
If the results are confirmed they will mark the DPS's third consecutive election victory since Montenegro's independence from decades-long partner Serbia in 2006.
The surveys suggest the ruling coalition has not won an outright majority in the 81-seat parliament but could easily form one teaming up with its traditional allies, the smaller parties representing minorities.
The government had called early elections in a bid to capitalise on the European Union's decisionin June to open accession talks with Podgorica. The ruling coalition also wanted to go into the EU entry talks with a new four-year mandate.