Incumbent Filip Vujanovic won another term in the office with a first-round triumph in the presidential vote Sunday, shattering opposition hopes that the authority of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) may be crumbling. ( dpa )
Vujanovic won 52.3 per cent of the vote, according to projections based on a scientific sample of actual counted ballots, inflicting a hard blow to the fragmented opposition.
Andrija Mandic of the Serbian List had 19.2 per cent, Movement for Change (PZP) chief Nebojsa Medojevic 17.3 per cent and Socialist People's Party candidate Srdjan Milic 11 per cent of the vote.
"We really didn't expect this outcome," a spokesman for Medojevic's PZP admitted, congratulating Vujanovic.
The final figures may change, but not significantly.
Vujanovic's triumph, a repeat of the 2003 vote, came shortly after the return from retirement of his supremo and DPS chief, Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, who had stepped aside after leading the DPS to an absolute majority in parliamentary polls 18 months ago.
Djukanovic returned in February to replace his chosen heir, the gravely ill Zeljko Sturanovic, at a time when simmering intra-party strife fulled doubts about the DPS' strength.
Now, within two months of his comeback, Djukanovic has comprehensively regained the grip on power that he held since 1991, when he was 29.
Led by Djukanovic, Montenegro veered away from its "big sister" Serbia in the late 1990s and eventually separated following a referendum on independence two years ago.
Montenegro is now striving for quick membership in NATO and the European Union, while nurturing friendly relations and especially economic ties with Moscow, as the tiny Adriatic republic has in recent years become a second home to many affluent Russians.