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Live Blog 14 Oct 12

Montenegro Elections 2012: Live Blog

Stay tuned for all the latest developments, election results and reactions as Montenegro goes to the polls in Sunday's general election. 

Milena Milosevic BIRN Podgorica

23:59 That's it. No surprises in the Montenegro elections, if the preliminary results are confirmed. Milo Djukanovic looks set to continue to dominate the political landscape as he has done for more than two decades. On Monday he will start talks to form a new government, almost certainly in coalition with the Bosniak party and maybe other minorities. Whether he will return to the position of Prime Minister is not clear yet. Once the government is formed the political focus will shift to the Montenegro presidential elections, due to be held next year. This is the end of this blog. Thank you for following our coverage. Good night!

23:58 "As we have promised we have won!" Milo Djukanovic told cheering fans at the DPS headquarters. From tomorrow on, Djukanovic said, he will start talks about formation of the government.

He said his coalition was probably the only one in Europe that has managed to keep the public's trust despite tough times. He also said that his coalition won more votes than in the previous elections.

23:30 Crowds celebrate at the DPS headquarters as they wait for Milo Djukanovic to declare victory.

23:15 "Our negotiations potential is bigger now", says Suljo Mustafic, MP from Bosniak Party. He noted that although it is more realistic for his party to form a coalition with its current parties (Democratic Party of Socialists and Social Democrat Party), the party remains open for talks with all political parties willing to respect its programme.

22:50 Caslav Vesovic, spokesperson of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, says that this party along with its current coalition partners - Social Democrat Party, Bosniak Party and Croat Citizens' Initiative, has won 10 per cent more votes than in the previous elections. 

In these elections, DPS is running together with the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party.

22:40 Few dozen of supporters of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, are celebrating the election results in front of the party headquarters.

According to preliminary results the DPS led coalition has won 39 mandates but may have to reach out to the minorities parties to get majority in the 81 seat parliament.

22:33 Miodrag Lekic, the leader of the Democratic Front, says that the democratic opposition forces have won the local elections in Niksic and that the DPS-led coalition doe not have absolute power on national level any more.

“This is a novelty and a big victory for the democratic forces“, Lekic said, adding that the Democratic front will try to form a national unity government.

22:25 The Bosniak Party has won 3 mandates, while the three other minority parties will each have one seat in parliament, according to CEMI preliminary results.

22:20 Srdjan Milic,  the leader of Socialist People's Party, said that he wasn't satisfied with the election result and that the minorities were holding a key to Montenegro's new government.

22:15 The Centre for Monitoring, CEMI, based on more than 90 per cent of counted ballots, has said the European Montenegro coalition has won 45,5 per cent of the votes and 39 seats in parliament.

The Democratic Front won 23,8 percent of votes or  20 mandates. It would be followed by Socialist People's Party, with 10,6 percent of electorate's support or 9 parliamentary seats , while Positive Montenegro would have 7 MPs.

22:00 Milos Besic, lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science, says for RTCG that the votes from the biggest polling stations have not been counted yet and that they might be favourable for the European Montenegro coalition.

21:45 The latest figures from the Centre for Monitoring show that 70,3 per cent of the electorate voted on Sunday.

21:31 
At this point, if projections come true, DPS-led European Montenegro coalition might need support of minority parties to form the government.

21:20 Srdjan Peric, of the newly formed party – Positive Montenegro, told media that starting from tonight his party will be inevitable factor in the country's politics.

21:15 Based on 73,5 per cent of the counted votes, the Centre for Monitoring projects that European Montenegro coalition could win 38 seats in parliament.

The Democratic Front would get 20 mandates. It would be followed by Socialist People's Party, with 9 mandates, while Positive Montenegro would have 7 MPs.

21:00 The latest information from the Centre for Monitoring suggests that two thirds of the electorate, or 69,6 percent of voters have cast their ballots today.

20:55 According to the Democratic Party of Socialists that the voter turnout turnout could reach 69 per cent, while the Democratic Front says it might go up to 70 per cent.

20:25 According to the first exit polls, done by the students and teaching staff of Faculty of Political Science at the University of Montenegro,  46,18 per cent have voted for the European Montenegro coalition led by the DPS while 20,01 per cent voted for the opposition Democratic Front.

The Socialist People's Party would come at the third place, with 12,85 per cent. The newly formed Positive Montenegro would win 9,47 per cent of the electorate's support, while The Bosniak Party would come in fifth with more than 3 per cent of the votes.

20:00 Polls have closed in the parliamentary elections in Montenegro.

19:45 At 8 pm 1,165 polling stations will close their doors.

19:30 Over 1200 observers from the Centre for Monitoring are covering 90 per cent of the total number of polling stations.

19:15 Voter turnout by 7 pm is 66,3 per cent, more than 3 per cent higher than in the 2009 election, Centre for Monitoring says.

19:00 Mitja Drobnic, head of the EU delegation to Montenegro, visited one poling station in capital Podgorica. He said that his visit was symbolic, because the EU doesn't monitor the election. 

18:45 In the capital, Podgorica, according to the Centre for Monitoring voter  turnout by 5 pm is 7 per cent higher than in the 2009 elections.

18:30 The Centre for Monitoring will send a complaint to the State Electoral Commission over pollsters interviewing voters at the polling stations despite recommendations that exit polls should be conducted 50 meters away from the stations.

18:20 According to the spokesperson of the State Electoral Commission Slavka Maras, there are no crowds at the polling stations and the voting is ongoing without problems.

18:10 According to the State Electoral Commission 275,818 people or 53,66 per cent of the electorate voted by 5 pm, similar as in the elections in 2009 when voter turnout by 5 pm was 54,5 per cent of the electorate.

18:00
Montenegro's electoral roll contains 14,000 voters more than in the 2009 election.

17:30 By 5 pm, 56 per cent of the electorate voted, 4 percent more than in the previous election, the Centre for Monitoring said. Voter turnout is highest in the central region of the country, 59,6 per cent.

17:20 Reporters from Vijesti television filmed pollsters interviewing people at a polling station, although the State Electoral Commission previously said that exit polls should be conducted at least 50 meters away from the polling stations.

17:00 The Centre for Monitoring will have the first preliminary election results at 9 pm.

16:45 Increased number of irregularities is a cause of concern, says Vlado Dedovic from the Centre for Monitoring.

16:35 No irregularities have yet been reported in any of the polling stations where there is also voting for municipal elections, in Budva, Kotor and Niksic.

16:25 At a polling station in Kolasin, a brawl was reported between the chairman of the electoral commission and a voter, the Centre for Monitoring has said.

16:20 Montenegro's Prime Minister Igor Luksic said that the election will be basis for formation of the new government, which will continue to implement its highly ambitious agenda. "I believe that it will be the government which will receive an invitation for NATO membership and accomplish that strategic goal", he said.

15:50 Vlado Dedovic, from the Centre for Monitoring told RTCG that not all the voters were equally treated at the polling stations. While some people were allowed to vote twice, one person was rejected for already having invisible ink on finger, Dedovic explained.

15:35 According to Montenegro's public broadcaster, RTCG, 37,5 per cent of voters cast their ballots by 2 pm. The highest turnout of over 45 per cent is recorded in the northern Montenegrin municipality of Andrijevica, RTCG says.

15:30 Darko Pajovic, the leader of the newly formed Positive Montenegro, hopes that his party will pass the parliamentary threshold.

"Peace, stability and prosperity are the precondition for better life and I believe it is the goal of all of us," Pajovic said calling on people to go to vote.

15:00 The Centre for Monitoring has 1,222 observers monitoring the polls on Sunday.

14:20 Observers of the Centre for Monitoring said that 12 persons went on hunger strike in Bijelo Polje prison, because they were not allowed to vote. Other irregularities the Centre registered included allowing several persons to vote twice.

14:15 The State Electoral Commission said that there were no issues over the exit polls conducted by the team of the Faculty of Political Science from the  University of Montenegro.

13:45 According to the Centre for Monitoring, the highest turnout by 1 pm was recorded in central Montenegro - 37,1 per cent, 6 per cent more in comparison to the same time period  in 2009.

The turnout in Podgorica is 34,6 per cent, more than 4 per cent higher than in the previous election, while in the north  of the country it is 34,1 per cent, which is slightly higher than in 2009. The lowest turnout, but again for one per cent higher than in the previous election, was recorded at the coast where 29,9 per cent of the voters went to the polls.

In total, the voter turnout until 1 pm was 33,4 per cent of the electorate, three per cent higher than the turnout in 2009.

13:30 Milo Djukanovic, head of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, said he hoped that the elections will confirm the democratic maturity of the Montenegrin society.

"I expect that people will choose the government that will maintain the stability of Montenegro, restore the process of dynamic economic growth and development, and continue the progress of European and Euro-Atlantic integration over the next four years," Djukanovic told reporters after he cast his ballot.

13:25 Miodrag Lekic, the leader of the Democratic Front, said that he expected the forces which are true advocates of democracy in the country to win the election. He added that Montenegro was an old state but not such an old democracy.



13:20
The Centre for Monitoring said that the voter turnout until 1 pm was 33,4 per cent of the electorate, three per cent higher than the turnout in 2009.

13:00 The State Electoral Commission says that by noon 17,5 per cent of voters cast their ballots.

12:25 The voter turnout by 11 am - 18,2 per cent - is almost the same as in the 2009 election, when, by that time, 18,1 percent of the electorate had voted.

12:20 The elections are monitored by 105 foreign observers, including representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, PACE, OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, OSCE/ODIHR, and  the Committee for Open Democracy.

12:05 Apart from the parliamentary elections, voters in Budva, Kotor and Niksic will also choose new municipal authorities.

12:00 The elections on Sunday are ninth parliamentary elections held in Montenegro since 1990 and third since the country declared independence in 2006.

11:30 The Centre for Monitoring said that the election turnout until 11 am was 18,2 per cent of the electorate. Highest turnout was registered in the central area of the country where 20.5 per cent voted. In the capital, Podgorica 19,3 per cent cast their ballots, in the north 18,1 per cent while in the coastal areas 15,5 per cent of voters cast their ballots. 

11:00 According to the State Electoral Commission, 841 candidates are running for the 81 seats in Parliament.

10:30 The observers of the Centre for Monitoring, CEMI have noted some irregularities as two polling stations, in Pljevlja and Ulcinj, were not open on time.

10:10 The State Electoral Commission said that 22,735 people or 4,3 per cent of electorate, voted during the first two hours, having no information about the election turnout in two municipalities – Herceg Novi and Andrijevica.

10:00 The State Electoral Commission spokesperson said all polling stations were opened on time and  voting was underway without any problems.

09:40 Montenegro's NGO Centre for Monitoring said that 5,6 per cent of voters cast their ballots by 9 am.

07:00 Polls opened at 7 am in Montenegro's general election on Sunday. Montenegrins will choose between 13 election contenders. Parties must pass a 3-per-cent threshold to win any of the 81 seats in parliament. Voting closes at 8pm on Sunday for the 514,055 Montenegrins whose names have found a place in the final version of the electoral roll.

The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, and the Social Democratic Party, SDP, which together formed the last five governments, are fighting to retain power, running together with a new ally, the Liberal Party, in a coalition named "European Montenegro".
The Socialist People’s Party, SNP, the Democratic Front, and Positive Montenegro, PCG, will all run separately.

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.

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Half a million voters will be eligible to vote in Montenegro's upcoming parliamentary election, which is scheduled for October 14.

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Civil society organization say that errors spotted on the register of voters are not being corrected, and could influence the outcome of the October general election.

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