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Ruling Party Coalition Leads in Montenegrin Vote Count - 2002-10-20


Preliminary results of Montenegro's parliamentary elections are being reported Sunday by the republic's media. A coalition of parties led by independence-oriented President Milo Djukanovic is in the lead.

Montenegro's media reports a high voter turnout of 77 percent to elect the republic's new parliament. There are 75 seats at stake.

One of the organizations monitoring the republic-wide elections, the Center for Democratic Transition, says the voting was conducted in a proper atmosphere.

Both the media and the center say preliminary results of Montenegro's parliamentary election put President Milo Djukanovic's European List for Montenegro coalition in the lead, followed by another grouping including the rival pro-Serbian Socialist People's Party. Trailing both blocs is the Liberal Party with three seats.

"At this very moment, the European List for Montenegro have 38," said Rasko Konjevic, of the Center for Democratic Transition. "The Coalition for Changes: SNP, SNS, NS have 31. And the List of Liberal Alliance Montenegro has three. The Democratic Coalition of Albanians has two. We can have changes as I said before: one down, one up."

Lawmakers linked with Mr. Djukanovic want Montenegro to have looser ties with Serbia. Under a deal signed last March, which has not yet been finalized, Serbia and Montenegro are to remain in a loose union. This would include holding one seat in the United Nations and running a common defense and foreign policy.

After three years, either side can vote to break away. Mr. Djukanovic has vowed to exercise this option after a referendum on independence.

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