PODGORICA, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The Montenegrin ruling party on Thursday nominated outgoing president Filip Vujanovic as its candidate for the April 7 election, despite opposition complaints that the constitution bars him from running again for the largely ceremonial post.
The presidential poll comes on the heels of an October parliamentary election in which his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) held on to power despite an economic slowdown and persistent allegations of corruption.
Vujanovic, 58, tops opinion polls but the opposition is threatening to challenge his candidacy in court, arguing that he has already served the maximum two terms.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, who is also the head of the DPS, said Vujanovic had the right to another five-year term as he had held the post only once since Montenegro declared independence in 2006 from its union with Serbia.
"We are aware of consequences in case appropriate institutions say that (Vujanovic's) candidacy is unconstitutional ... we have consulted prominent jurists over this," said Djukanovic, who has dominated Montenegrin politics for more than two decades.
So far the only opposition challenger is Miodrag Lekic, a former diplomat.
The mountainous country of 680,000 people began European Union accession talks last year. It is next in line behind Croatia among the countries carved from socialist Yugoslavia aiming to join the bloc, but it is under pressure to root out endemic corruption and deeply-rooted organised crime. (Reporting by Petar Komenic; Writing by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Andrew Roche)