Montenegrin citizens head to the polls today for a repeat presidential election, with the country’s longtime president Milo Djukanovic up against a Western-leaning economist who is committed to pulling the country out of a crisis that has been marked by two failed governments. to secure a vote of confidence.

The polling stations open at 7 am (local time, 08.00 Greek time) and will close at 8 pm (local time, 21.00 Greek time). The first estimates of the polling companies for the result, based on a sample of the electorate, are expected about two hours later.

Djukanovic, 61, has dominated Montenegrin politics as president or prime minister for 33 years since the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.

Critics have long accused the ex-communist and his faction, the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), of corruption, ties to organized crime and of ruling the small Adriatic country, which relies mainly on tourism. , as their fiefdom, claims that those concerned deny.

His opponent is Jakov Milatovic, 37, a former economy minister and deputy head of the Europe Now movement that has pledged to crack down on corruption, improve living standards and strengthen ties with the European Union and Serbia.

Djukanovic received 35.37% of the vote in the first round of elections on March 19, while Milatovic received 28.92%, which meant that a second round of elections was necessary, as neither secured a 50% majority, with analysts predicting a close fight.

Today’s polls come after a year of political instability, with two governments defeated in confidence votes and MPs clashing with Djukanovic over his refusal to appoint a new prime minister.

On March 16, Djukanovic dissolved parliament and called early parliamentary elections for June 11. Although the role of the president in Montenegro is mostly ceremonial, a victory in the presidential election will boost the winning party’s chances in June.