January 19, 2018 / 11:25 AM / a year ago

Montenegro sets presidential vote for April 15

FILE PHOTO - Montenegro's Prime Minister Dusko Markovic addresses the parliament during a discussion on NATO membership agreement in Cetinje, Montenegro, April 28, 2017 REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Montenegro’s parliamentary speaker set April 15 as the date for presidential election that is considered an opportunity for the ruling coalition to strengthen its hold on power.

The office of president is largely ceremonial, but a victory in the election would enhance the mandate of Prime Minister Dusko Markovic’s government to carry out reforms necessary for the country to join the European Union.

“I believe the election will be held in a positive and democratic atmosphere,” the speaker, Ivan Brajovic, said on parliament’s web site.

The last parliamentary vote, in 2016, was marred by an alleged coup attempt. Twenty people were accused of planning armed attacks against state institutions and plotting to assassinate former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.

The opposition rejected the election results, accusing the government of creating a climate of fear, and is boycotting the parliament work.

Reporting by Ivana Sekularac, editing by Larry King

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