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Yugoslavia: Djukanovic Claims Victory In Montenegrin Poll

Podgorica, 21 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic says his future government will pursue an accord to create a loose union with Serbia to replace the Yugoslav Federation. He made the comment early today after claiming victory for his pro-independence coalition in yesterday's parliamentary poll.

The union agreement would allow both Serbia and Montenegro to choose independence after three years.

Unofficial preliminary results show the coalition won an absolute majority.

The results indicate Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists and its Social Democrat allies won 39 seats in the 75-seat parliament.

A bloc favoring closer ties with Serbia, Montenegro's larger partner in the federation, won 30 seats.

The results were released by the Center for Free and Fair Elections, an independent Belgrade-based monitoring group.

Complete official results are not expected until later today.

The Socialist People's Party, the main party within the opposition bloc, conceded defeat.

Thousands of people gathered in the streets of the Montenegrin capital Podgorica to celebrate Djukanovic's apparent victory.