The Latest: Fearing attacks, Montenegro arrests 20 Serbs

PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — The Latest on Montenegro's parliamentary election (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

Montenegrin police say they have arrested 20 people suspected of planning armed attacks after the parliamentary vote.

The country is seeing rising tensions amid Sunday's vote, which could determine whether the small Balkan state continues on its Western course or turns back to traditional ally Russia.

Police Director Slavko Stojanovic says in a statement that those arrested Saturday night came from neighboring Serbia and planned to "pick up automatic weapons" to attack state institutions, police and possibly state officials after the vote.

He says they were charged of "forming a criminal organization and terrorism." He said one Serbian is on the run. No other details were released.

There have been fears that violence could erupt on the streets of Podgorica, the capital, between opposition and government supporters after the results of the vote are announced.

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10 a.m.

Montenegro's prime minister says he expects to win the parliamentary election and then hold talks on a new coalition government.

Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic says, after voting Sunday, that "my expectation is that, after this election, Montenegro will steadily and dynamically move toward its European and Euro-Atlantic goals."

The vote pits his long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists against a cluster of pro-Russian and pro-Serbian opposition groups that staunchly oppose the government's pro-Western policies, especially its NATO bid.

Before the vote, Djukanovic said the ballot for the 81-seat parliament will decide whether Montenegro continues on a Western course or becomes "a Russian colony." He is facing the toughest challenge yet to his quarter-century rule.

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8 a.m.

Montenegrins are voting in a parliamentary election that could determine whether the small Balkan state continues on its Western course or turns back to traditional ally Russia.

The vote pitted the long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, led by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, against a cluster of pro-Russian and pro-Serbian opposition groups that staunchly oppose the government's pro-Western policies, especially its NATO bid.

The outcome could jeopardize NATO and European Union enlargement in southeastern Europe and could prove decisive in the Kremlin's attempts to regain influence in the strategic Balkans region.

The scenic country of 650,000 people, squeezed between the Adriatic Sea and towering mountains, is deeply divided among those who favor and those who oppose Western integration.

Pre-election polls have predicted the closest race since Montenegro gained independence from much larger Serbia a decade ago.

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