BIRN, May 18, 2007
PODGORICA -- Milo Djukanovic, the head of the ruling Montenegrin Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, will be the sole candidate for the party's top position, a party statement said Friday.
Djukanovic, a former president and prime minister, resigned as premier last year after leading the country to independence from the state union with its former federal partner, Serbia.
The DPS party congress expected to reaffirm Djukanovic's leadership over the party is scheduled for Saturday, the statement said.
Djukanovic, a former communist, led Montenegro for 17 years. He was replaced as prime minister by his party comrade Zeljko Sturanovic. The Montenegrin opposition has repeatedly alleged that Sturanovic was merely a figurehead, while Djukanovic maintained his grip on power from behind the scene.
Last year, ahead of the September parliamentary vote, many Montenegrin opposition politicians also alleged that Djukanovic was involved in corruption and had ties with organised crime - charges he has firmly denied.
Earlier, Djukanovic had been investigated by Italian prosecutors for his alleged involvement in a multi-million euro cigarette smuggling scheme.
He has rejected these allegations and official charges have never been pressed.