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State Electoral Commission, DIK, issued its preliminary results on Montenegro's general election, confirming that the coalition led by Milo Djukanovic won most seats.
Of 514,000 eligible voters, over 160,000 backed Djukanovic's European Montenegro coalition, gathered around the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, the preliminary results of the DIK issued on Tuesday suggested.
If these results hold, the DPS and its allies will have 39 of the 81 seats in parliament. They are followed by the opposition Democratic Front, which won 20 parliamentary seats.
The Socialist People's Party will have nine seats, and Positive Montenegro seven,.
Such a result still leaves European Montenegro without an absolute majority, and it needs two more seats to have a majority government.
However, it can look for the support from some of the ethnic minority parties, which altogether won six seats.
The Bosniak Party, which won three seats, has emerged as a potential king-maker, owing to its previous history of close cooperation with the ruling parties.
The Croatian Civic Initiative, also a previous coalition partner of the DPS, won one seat, while two ethnic Albanian formations, FORCA and the Albanian Coalition, each won one.
The results issued by DIK corresponded with the preliminary results of the Centre for Monitoring, CEMI, a local NGO, which were announced on Sunday night.
Sunday’s elections were the ninth parliamentary elections held in Montenegro since 1990 and the third since the country declared independence in 2006.
Parliament, whose mandate was supposed to expire in March 2013, called early elections in order to enable a new full-term government to conduct EU membership talks, which opened on June 29.
Most parties needed to gain support of at least 3 per cent of the electorate in order to pass the threshold.
However, parties representing Bosniaks, Croats, and Albanians have preferential treatment and can enter parliament if they gain only 0.7 per cent of votes within a joint electoral list with other parties, which claim to represent the same ethnic minority and which also passed the 0.7 per cent threshold.
Parties representing the Croatian community need only 0.35 per cent of votes to enter the parliament.
The DIK will receive complaints about alleged irregularities in the election by Thursday, when the final results of the election are expected to be known.
International observers stated that Montenegro’s October 14 vote took place in a peaceful and pluralistic environment with respect for fundamental rights, but they also highlighted that the continued lack of confidence in the election needs to be addressed.
The elections were monitored by 105 foreign observers, including representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Committee for Open Democracy. CEMI deployed 1,222 observers across the country.
As the deadline for submission of electoral lists in Montenegro nears, OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights announces it will oversee the elections.
The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, PACE, is to send an observers' mission to Montenegro – thus being the second international body to announce that it is monitoring the elections along with the OSCE.
Although the chances of a change of power are slim, the October 14 vote may pose a challenge to the party that has run the country since the 1990s.
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