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Montenegro Votes to Secede From Serbia

- Kods Time

( Tuesday, May 23, 2006 )

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"Montenegro's pro-independence win referendum to secede from Serbia."

Montenegro's state electoral commission confirmed the victory of a pro-independence bloc in a referendum to secede from Serbia and form their own state.

Those who want Montenegro to end the union with Serbia are celebrating. More than 55 percent of Montenegrins voted for independence on Sunday, achieving the majority set by the European Union for recognition of their referendum result. Turnout was 86.3 percent

Predrag Bulatovic, leader of the 'No' campaign, accused the government of trying to pre-empt the result by calling its supporters out on the streets in an "aggressive and arrogant" gesture.

But today's outcome meant the end of a partnership with Serbia going back to 1918 in various forms. Montenegro would be the last of ex Yugoslavia's six federal republics to part company with Serbia since 1991.

Pro-independence leaders say it has a better chance of economic prosperity and European Union membership on its own than in a dysfunctional union with Serbia, population 7.5 million.

But while Montenegrins celebrated with fireworks and firing weapons into the air, no celebrations took place in Serbia. The Belgrade government has openly supported the bloc fighting for the preservation of the union, but now it has to accept a new geopolitical reality.

Map of Serbia & Montenegro
Photo Above: Map of Serbia & Montenegro
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Related News - Ft.Com

Montenegro goes solo
-Tuesday, May 23 2006

Yet another fragment of old Yugoslavia has broken off. A majority of Montenegrins voted in Sunday's referendum to become independent from Serbia and therefore to make their way separately towards the goals of joining the European Union and Nato. Evidently most Montenegrins feel that "he who travels fastest travels alone" is now the best maxim for a country that has been constitutionally yoked to Serbia, whose relations with European institutions are still seriously hampered by its failure to hand over war crimes suspects and to agree a settlement in Kosovo. Nonetheless, Montenegro will not get far on its separate European journey unless it shows maturity in negotiating a divorce with Serbia and living up to its new responsibilities of sovereignty. The clear-cut vote - 55.4 per cent voted for independence, according to an official preliminary count - is welcome. EU officials had been criticised for setting the bar too high when they persuaded Montenegro that 55 per cent was the minimum threshold needed for independence to win international recognition. In retrospect that looks.......    More 

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