Montenegro votes for next president; favorite is pro-West

Montenegro votes for next president; favorite is pro-West
The Associated Press

PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Voters in Montenegro are casting ballots in a presidential election, with former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic expected to win after his party defied Russia and took the small Balkan nation into NATO last year.

The vote Sunday is the first since Montenegro joined the Western military alliance in December. It’s seen as a test for Djukanovic, who favors European integration over closer ties to traditional ally Moscow.

Djukanovic, the country’s dominant politician, and his Democratic Party of Socialists have ruled Montenegro for nearly 30 years. President Filip Vujanovic is not running due to term limits.

About 530,000 voters can choose among several candidates. Djukanovic’s main challenger is Mladen Bojanic, backed by several opposition groups, including pro-Russian ones.

Polls suggest Djukanovic could win more than half of the votes and avoid a runoff.