Both candidates in Montenegro's presidential polls claim victory

Both candidates in Montenegro's presidential polls claim victory

PanARMENIAN.Net - Both candidates in Montenegro's presidential election are claiming victory, RFE/RL reports.

The incumbent, Filip Vujanovic, says a count by his ruling party shows him winning the April 7 vote, beating the opposition challenger, Miodrag Lekic.

"I want to announce the results after the full count and to inform the Montenegrin public that I achieved a winning result with 51.3 percent of votes to 49.7 percent," Vujanovic said.

However, Lekic said he won. "Based on 97 percent of the votes counted I can tell you that Montenegrin citizens chose me to be the president of Montenegro," he said.

Lekic compared his rival's claim to a "coup d'etat."

Lekic's Democratic Front said it would contest the election, claiming fraud by the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, (DPS).

The head of the state election commission, Ivan Kalezic, dismissed the allegations by Lekic and his party. However, the election commission has made no announcement of a winner, nor made clear when it would do so. That despite the fact only some 500,000 people were eligible to vote.

Montenegro is a small mountainous Balkan country with about 600,000 people. It split from Serbia in 2006 in a national referendum. It now hopes to join NATO and the EU someday, but has been criticized for corruption and organized crime.

Vujanovic is running for his third five-year term. He is a close ally of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, who has governed Montenegro for more than two decades.

The opposition has blamed Djukanovic for widespread corruption and nepotism in Montenegro.

The ruling DPS -- which both Djukanovic and Vujanovic are members of -- denies Montenegro is plagued by especially high levels of corruption.

Neither Djukanovic nor Lekic have offered a concrete plan to address Montenegro’s struggling economy.

Unemployment in the country currently stands at 20 percent, and the average monthly salary is about $615.

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