Preliminary projections show six-time prime minister and onetime president Milo Djukanovic as the victor of Montenegro's presidential election.
The pro-Western economist led Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2016 and into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation previous year - now he wants to take the predominantly Orthodox country, a part of which has strong pro-Russia sympathies, into the European Union.
With 80 per cent of ballots counted, the Center for Monitoring and Research said on Sunday that Djukanovic had won about 53 per cent of the vote, ahead of his main opponent Mladen Bojanic with 34 per cent.
Milo Djukanovic, the presidential candidate of the ruling DPS party (Democratic Party of Socialists), receives a champagne as he celebrates during the meeting with his supporters in the DPS' headquarters in Podgorica, Montenegro, April 15, 2018.
In 2006, Mr Djukanovic led Montenegro to independence from Serbia, which also hopes to became an European Union member within the next seven years.
According to Center for Democratic Transition (CDT), nearly 90.5 percent of the total votes have been counted and Djukanovic got 54.2 percent of the votes in his favor.More news: Oladipo, Pacers Hand LeBron, Cavaliers Game 1 Playoff Defeat
"I agree with Djukanovic that the state is stronger than mafia".
Monitoring agencies have confirmed Djukanovic's election win.
Organised crime has cast a shadow over the campaign after 20 people were killed by assassinations in the street or vehicle bombs over the last two years.
Mladen Bojanic, the second ranked candidate supported by larger part of opposition parties, won 32 percent, while Draginja Vuksanovic from the Social-Democratic Party of Montenegro won 8 percent.
He had accused Djukanovic of being "the creator of the instability and chaos that we witness in the streets of Montenegro". "I will continue the struggle to liberate Montenegro from Djukanovic's dictatorship".
Theresa May has on several occasions cited Montenegro as an example of where Russian Federation has repeatedly meddled in a country's politics.More news: Delhi Daredevils beat Mumbai Indians by seven wickets in IPL match
His presidential candidacy is supported by the ruling coalition partner Social Democrats, as well as Bosniak, Croat and Albanian minorities.
For Djukanovic, however, the choice between Brussels and Moscow is crucial to Montenegro's development.
Low salaries and unemployment at above 20% means the debate over the West versus Russian Federation is not the main concern of many Montenegrins.
But he toned down the anti-Russian rhetoric, saying he wanted "normal relations with Russia if it is prepared to do the same".
Another candidate, pro-Russian Marko Milacic, has accused Mr Djukanovic of being responsible for the "situation in the country, from bloody streets to the foreign policy and a ruined economy".More news: Zinedine Zidane sick of Real Madrid 'robbery' jibes after Juventus game