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A close referendum: Montenegro

Opinió | 11/01/2011

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Montenegro was the last of the Yugoslav republics to achieve independence, which it accessed gradually, winning spaces of sovereignty, until a referendum with a very close result certified the secession. At present the lack of soundness of the economy and the ethnic fragmentation depict an uncertain panorama.


The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, after the secessions of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia, was reduced to Serbia, with the provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo, and Montenegro, with which there was an entente cordiale. Indeed, the official name of the state stopped being Yugoslavia to become the Union of Serbia and Montenegro, which already had a strong federal character with a constitutional clause of self-determination. Belgrade and Podgorica only shared a foreign and defence policy.
 
The union lost its meaning, and those in favour of independence, impregnated with a considerably liberal economic discourse, managed to win a referendum by a close 55.5 of votes in favour and 44.5 votes against, just achieving the international legitimacy necessary. The resultant state is marked by the difficulties of an economy lacking soundness, burdened by not very transparent privatizations, the lack of strategy by the government and with a remarkable presence of corruption.
 
The ethnic diversity, mainly with Montenegrins and Serbs, but also with Croats, Bosnians, Albanians and other minorities present, also hinders the national cohesion and is reflected in a fragmented parliament.

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