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News 09 Oct 12

Montenegro Rivals Trade Barbs Ahead of Polls

As ruling party and opposition exchange familiar accusations in run-up to this Sunday's vote, OSCE says the campaign has met democratic standards.

Milena Milosevic
BIRN
Podgorica

Milo Djukanovic, chair of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, on Sunday rejected an invitation from Miodrag Lekic, leader of the Democratic Front, to take part in a live TV debate.

"The debate he would like to have with me, I've already had with his employers, (Vojislav) Kostunica and (Slobodan) Milosevic," Djukanovic said, referring to two former leaders of neighbouring Serbia.

He thus repeated his familiar allegation that the opposition Democratic Front is a front for Serbian interests.

Lekic was Yugoslav ambassador to Italy from 1995 to 1999, and from 2001 to 2003, periods during which the two former Serbian leaders were heads of the joint state of Serbia and Montenegro.

Djukanovic also said that his advisor for diaspora could talk to Lekic in front of the cameras instead of him, supporting the previous remarks of his party that the Democratic Front leader has spent most of his career abroad.

Nebojsa Medojevic, Lekic's colleague from the Democratic Front, responded in kind on Monday.

He asked whether some of four leading suspected criminals from the region, who are currently at large, were Djukanovic's diaspora advisors.

The opposition frequently accuses the DPS and its chairman of connections to organized crime.

Despite the harsh language, the observation mission of OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, OSCE/ODIHR, said that the election campaign was on track.

Geerz-Hinrich Ahrens, head of the mission, on Sunday concluded that overall the campaign was “democratically correct”.

Voting day is on Sunday, October 14.

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