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Montenegro's PM Claims Election Victory


Montenegro's Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic has claimed victory in parliamentary elections.

Mr. Djukanovic said after the polls closed Sunday that voters opted for economic prosperity and a European future.

The prime minister's ruling coalition, which calls itself "For a European Montenegro," has pushed for EU membership talks.

An independent vote-monitoring group in Montenegro, Center for Monitoring. says its polling data shows the ruling coalition has a commanding lead in the poll, with 51 percent of the vote. It says the opposition pro-Serb Socialist People's Party is second with about 17 percent.

Official election results are due Monday.

Mr. Djukanovic called the elections a year and a-half early, saying he wanted to gain a mandate for EU membership talks.

But the opposition has accused Mr. Djukanovic's government and his supporters of calling the early vote to secure a victory before the global economic downturn strikes the Balkan nation of some 680,000 people.

The country's economy has grown strongly since it split with Serbia in 2006. But experts say it is expected to slow significantly this year, due to the world economic crisis.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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