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Two of the candidates in the April poll have already started collecting the necessary number of signatures in order to be able to stand.
Starting from Monday, Rade Bojovic, president of the board of the political club Righteous Montenegro, and Miodrag Lekic, leader of the opposition Democratic Front, will try to collect more than 7,500 signatures each in order to stand as presidential candidates for the April 7 election.
Montenegro's current head of state and member of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, Filip Vujanovic, is also standing, though some question the legality of his candidacy, as he is already serving a second term as President, after being re-elected in 2008.
The 2007 constitution stipulates that the same head of state can be elected only twice and the Social Democrat Party, SDP, the minor coalition partner in the DPS-led government, on January 30 said it would not support Vujanovic’s nomination for another term.
The DPS says that Vujanovic has only served one term as president of an independent Montenegro, and thus he can run again. Before that, the country was part of a loose "State Union" with Serbia.
The SDP, meanwhile, is unlikely to field its own, separate candidate.
“The prevailing opinion is that it would be irrational to invest great efforts and limited finances in an election with low expectations,” Branislav Banovic, secretary general of the SDP, told Podgorica daily Dnevne novine on Monday.
On the other hand, the opposition Socialist People’s Party, SNP, on Sunday endorsed Lekic as its candidate.
Lekic, although president of the largest opposition formation, will run in the election as an independent candidate, like Bojovic.
Before the 2008 presidential election, the SNP backed the idea that Lekic, a former diplomat who at the time was not active in politics, should stand in the election as a candidate of a united opposition.
But, following the formation of the Democratic Front under Lekic’s leadership, the SNP did not agree to the proposed terms for joining the opposition alliance, and in the October 2012 general election it ran independently.
“It is natural for the opposition to support me,” Lekic said, following the decision of the SNP to endorse him.
The stance of Positive Montenegro, a new opposition party, regarding the presidential election, is still awaited.
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