Podgorica, 21 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) validated the results of Sunday's Montenegrin presidential elections today despite allegations of fraud by the defeated candidate.
OSCE issued a statement in Podgorica, saying the preliminary results reflect the will of the electorate. The statement said "generally the elections at the polling station level were well conducted."
An OSCE election expert, Peter Hatch, told a news conference in Podgorica the will of the people should be respected. He added that provisional results show that the will is in favor of one candidate.
Final, official results have not yet been announced but preliminary results indicate the challenger, Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, a reformer, is ahead of the incumbent, Momir Bulatovic, by less than 5,000 votes.
OSCE official Hatch says the republican election commission should make the results public.
President Bulatovic, a supporter of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, has launched a campaign of daily protests against what he says were stolen votes. Today, 5,000 turnerd out to protest.
Djukanovic said in an address last night Sunday's elections were a great victory of democracy and reform. He says people voted for a policy which is not against anyone, but rather for Montenegro and Yugoslavia.