Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Montenegro independence vote May 21, says opposition

PODGORICA, Serbia and Montenegro, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The Adriatic coast republic of Montenegro will hold a referendum on on May 21 to determine if it remains in a union with much larger Serbia or strikes out on its own as an independent state.

"It has been agreed to hold a referendum on May 21, 2006, and to postpone regular local elections until autumn, and to hold them together with a general election," Montenegro's three pro-Serbia opposition parties said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ruling parties, which favour independence and have long campaigned for the referendum, declined to say officially that a date had finally been set. But government sources confirmed it.

Both sides held talks on Tuesday with a European Union envoy, Miroslav Lajcak, who has been brokering an accord on the rules of the plebiscite. Terms and date were to expected to be endorsed by the 77-seat parliament on Wednesday and Thursday.

Montenegrins will be asked to decide whether to declare independence or remain linked to their much larger neighbour in the three-year-old State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, a body critics say is totally dysfunctional.

If Montenegro chooses to quit the union, it could leave Serbia even before Kosovo, the Albanian-dominated province whose future status is now the subject of U.N.-mediated talks, wins a widely predicted "conditional independence".


On Monday the pro-independence ruling party and the pro-union opposition agreed to EU-proposed referendum rules, which set a threshold of 55 percent of over half the electorate for a Yes vote for independence to be ruled valid.

"Montenegro has sent Europe a very responsible and very European message and that is very good for Montenegro," Lajcak said.

Serbia and Montenegro are all that is left of the six-member Yugoslav federation which broke up in war in the 1990s.

The EU persuaded them to stay together three years ago, fearing a split would create further instability in the Balkans. But it conceded Montenegro could ask its people this year to decide this year whether to stay in the union or break away.

The latest opinion poll, carried out in December, showed 41.4 percent support independence, 32.3 percent oppose it, 14.9 percent are undecided and 11.4 percent would not say.

Present-day Montenegro was populated by Slavs in the sixth century, and later came under Byzantine and Ottoman control. It became de facto independent in the late 18th century and proclaimed a kingdom in 1910, but was incorporated into Serbia after the First World War.

Of Montenegro's 650,000 people, some 62 percent say they are Montenegrin, some 10 percent Serb, 15 percent Muslim, 7 percent Albanian and the rest 'other'.

Roughly the size of Northern Ireland, it got its name -- which means Black Mountain -- from the thick forests that cover almost 55 percent of the land. (Additional reporting by Ellie Tzortzi)


Anonymous said...

Yessss, finally the time has come for the state of Crna Gora to get back its sovereignty!

It will be a nice little state with plenty of tourist opportunities.

independent kosova said...

.07 * 650,000 = 45,500 Albanians

' "Montenegro independence vote May 21, says opposition" '


Mir said...

If Montenegro wins it's independence I will be glad for the Montenegrins. But if I have to update passport information just to go to their beaches, I would rather just go to the Dalmatian shores.

Anonymous said...

Only 10% of Montenegro considers itself Serb. That tells me a lot.

If Serbs threaten with boycot, I'm sure a lot of Germans and Scandinavians will visit. This independence was way overdue.

Dardania 2006 said...

Mir no worries. Everyone will be able to move freely.

Anonymous said...

ur brothers

Dardania 2006 said...

Its bosnia silly (again)

and those are arabs..cant you see that?

Bosniacs are slavic, are they not serb's brothers?

Anonymous said...

no shit its bosnia dumb as, they are your allies, just like the dirty filthy arabs and dirty filthy turks who u whore ur mothers and sisters to.

Mir said...

"no shit its bosnia dumb as, they are your allies, just like the dirty filthy arabs and dirty filthy turks who u whore ur mothers and sisters to. "

Serbians like you are no better than the Albanians like Anonymous. Racism has no place in todays world except in the mind of rural idiots.

Anonymous said...

Thats right, instead of fighting we should all work togeather to build a better region. Instead of accusing each other of being war criminals we should focus on how to increase economic development in the regions poorest parts, and how to get investment deals with the west!!

P.S. To my albanian friends, you must understand that there are a lot of people in Serbia, and im sure in Albania too, that want peace and not to fight anymore. You must not judge all of us because of some ridiculous comments made by the Radical party.

Peace to everybody,
Darko Petrovic, Serb (Democratic party of Serbia supporter)

Anonymous said...

You say "instead of fighting we should all work together to build a better region"...
Well independence IS NOT "WORKING TOGETHER"!!!

I pray that people use their minds not their arrogance when they vote on this because Serbia and Montenegro should stay UNITED and "work together to build a better region".
And until we can do that, we will never prosper, regardless of our status of independence.


Anonymous said...

is it too soon for westerner to buy in budva, stefan, etc. title, issues,

is it safe for small children