"This is a triumph for Montenegro's European policy," Djukanovic told cheering supporters after winning Sunday's vote.

"These elections have shown that Montenegro is stable and firmly on the European track."

Projections showed Djukanovic's centre-left coalition had secured about 50 per cent of the vote and was close to winning 41 seats in the 81-seat parliament, leaving three rival opposition groupings far behind with about 11 seats each.   

All three concentrated on the economy in their campaigns, accusing Djukanovic of corruption and nepotism. But no one proposed reversing independence if elected.   

"According to the results we have there isn't a shadow of doubt about the absolute victory of the coalition," Predrag Sekulic, a spokesman of Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists, said.

Official results are expected to be announced later on Monday.

Towering figure

Djukanovic, the architect of the drive to end Montenegro's 90 year partnership with Serbia, has been president or prime minister of the country of some 650,000 people for the last 15 years.

"Tomorrow we will turn our attention with renewed energy to new successes, to make Montenegro even more democratic, more economically developed, with more jobs and higher wages," Djukanovic promised.   

The election was Montenegro's first since it declared independence from Serbia in June, after its citizens voted for the split by a slim margin, marking the final breakup of what was once Yugoslavia.

The vote was seen as key to Montenegro's hopes to join the European Union and Nato, as the new parliament will be responsible for drafting and passing a new national constitution for the world's newest country.