A pro-Western foe of Slobodan Milosevic claimed victory Monday in Montenegro’s presidential elections, delivering a serious blow to the powerful Yugoslav president.
Milo Djukanovic, who seeks greater independence for the small republic, which together with Serbia forms what remains of Yugoslavia, edged Milosevic’s proxy candidate Momir Bulatovic by 3,000 votes in a closely contested runoff, according to near-complete official results.
The official electoral commission said 93 percent of the vote was counted.
There still is a slim chance that Bulatovic could win but the uncounted votes come from central districts of the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica where Djukanovic, 35, has strong support.
The official turnout figure was about 70 percent.
Djukanovic’s supporters celebrated the victory in the early hours of Monday, chanting “This is not Serbia” and unleashing a barrage of fire from automatic rifles and other weapons.
Fireworks lighted the sky over Montenegro’s capital about 4 a.m.
Djukanovic’s apparent win represents a serious blow to the autocratic Milosevic, whose post of Yugoslav president could now be in jeopardy.