A ban on electioneering took effect on Saturday in Montenegro ahead of Sunday's parliamentary election, the tenth since the introduction of a multi-party system and the fourth since that former Yugoslav republic gained independence, and the vote will be a sort of referendum for or against NATO and European Union membership.
A total of 530,840 eligible voters will elect 81 deputies from 17 slates.
In all previous elections, Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) has been a convincing winner with its coalition partners, mainly minority parties and the Social Democrats, but this year the situation will probably be uncertain until the very end, primarily because of a strong opposition, which those in power claim is financed from Moscow and by Russian, Serbian and Montenegrin tycoons.
The key roles will be held by DPS and two opposition alliances, the Democratic Front and the Key coalition.
On Friday, Djukanovic said that his party would provide the Montengrins with stability and robust economic growth, while their rivals would push the country back to the past and abolish the decisions vital for Montenegro's statehood.
"On Sunday, you will opt either for being a part of the developed European society or for being a Russian colony in the Balkans," Djukanovic said on Friday.
The Croatian Civic Initiative, the only party representing Croats' interests in Montenegro, stood by DPS in the last election and had a minister without a portfolio in the government.
In parallel to the parliamentary vote, four towns -- Kotor, Budva, Andrijevica and Gusinje -- are also holding local elections.