On this day May 21, 2006

The Montenegrin independence referendum was held in Montenegro, with 55.5 percent of the voters favoring independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Front page of Pobjeda

The total turnout of the referendum was 86.5%. 55.5 percent voted in favor and 44.5 were against breaking the state union with Serbia. Fifty-five percent of affirmative votes were needed to dissolve the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, an option favored by the coalition government (DPS and SDP).

By 23 May, preliminary referendum results were recognized by all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, indicating widespread international recognition of Montenegro once independence would be formally declared.

Montenegro’s referendum commission on Wednesday 31 May, officially confirmed the results of the independence referendum, verifying that 55.5% of the population of Montenegrin voters had voted in favor of independence.

Because voters met the controversial threshold requirement of 55% approval set by the EU, the referendum was incorporated into a declaration of independence during a special parliamentary session on 31 May. The Assembly of the Republic of Montenegro made a formal Declaration of Independence on Saturday 3 June.

In response to the announcement, the government of Serbia declared itself the legal and political successor of Serbia and Montenegro, and that the government and parliament of Serbia itself will soon adopt a new constitution. The European Union, the United States, the People’s Republic of China and Russia all expressed their intentions to respect the referendum results.

Montenegro is classified as a highly developed country by the Human Development Index and one of two former Yugoslav republics which are marked as “Moderate” on the Failed States Index.

Montenegro is a member of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the Central European Free Trade Agreement and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. Montenegro is also a potential candidate for membership in the European Union; the country presented its official application in 2008, hoping to gain EU candidate status in 2010. Additionally, Montenegro is an official candidate for membership in NATO, having been offered a Membership Action Plan by the alliance in 2009.

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