wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06BELGRADE741 2006-05-12 06:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Belgrade
Cable title:  

MONTENEGRIN INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM: RALLIES AND

Tags:   PGOV PREL MW SR 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO2262
RR RUEHAG RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBW #0741/01 1320644
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120644Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8547
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BELGRADE 000741 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MW SR
SUBJECT: MONTENEGRIN INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM: RALLIES AND
FLAGS


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY

Ref: Belgrade 679



1. (SBU) Summary: In a May 11 meeting with the Ambassador,
Prime Minister Djukanovic showed calm confidence in
independence as the outcome of the referendum. He did
remind of potential "complications" if the EU 55 percent
was not reached, showing his remaining unhappiness with the
EU-imposed bar. The overall campaign atmosphere has been
calm recently, despite both blocs holding frequent rallies.
ODIHR's second interim report on the referendum process
noted a "remarkably positive story" and a "marked
improvement" in the atmosphere over the past two weeks. A
couple of isolated incidents of rock-throwing, directed
against both sides, have been reported. Montenegro Airlines
plans an additional 200 flights just before the vote --
presumed to be for returning expatriate voters; the
Government of Serbia responded with an offer of free train
travel. A poll by a prominent NGO shows high turnout (87
percent) with 56.3 percent of votes for independence. EU
Envoy Lajcak joined the chorus of those satisfied with the
referendum campaign. The EU's suspension of the SAA talks
over the non-arrest of Mladic was a virtual non-issue. End
summary.

OSCE/ODIHR - No Complaints


--------------------------





2. (SQ) OSCE/ODIHR briefed the diplomatic corps in
Podgorica May 9. It confirmed "a marked improvement in the
atmosphere and a marked decline in complaints -- to zero -
from either bloc" since May 4. It also noted that
Referendum Commission members have, on occassion, crossed
party lines to vote with the opposite bloc, and that some
complaints have been withdrawn. ODIHR also noted that a
comparison of police data to voter registration data has
been completed, leading to agreed changes in the voter
rolls. The Republican Referendum Commission and the Media
Monitoring Council have recently held regular sessions with
participation of the representatives of both blocs; voter
rolls will be finalized on May 11 upon the conclusion of
appeals to the Administrative Court.

Rallies and Flags - and a Very Little Rock Throwing


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (SBU) With the vote less than two weeks away, both blocs
are holding frequent (almost nightly) rallies throughout
Montenegro. Rallies are a traditional artifact of local
politics. The main themes are prosaic, with pro-Union
leader Bulatovic focusing one address on how the voters'
registration list will be completed on time. Some of the
blocs' supporters are more passionate - cars of young men
flying the Montenegrin flag have been seen in Podgorica, a
few billboards have been defaced, Qd some nationalist
graffiti has appeared. The pro-Union leadership has
cautioned its supporters against racist speech - e.g.,
"Milo the thief" is ok, "Milo the Turk" is not (referring
to the PM). Two rock-throwing incidents were reported -
rocks hit the pro-Independence convoy headed to a rally in
the Union-inclined city of Herceg Novi, and a rock hit an
NGO observer at a pro-Union rally in Podgorica.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles


--------------------------





4. (U) Montenegro Airlines (state-owned) is adding 198
flights, from western Europe to Podgorica, in the days
immediately prior to the May 21 referendum. Montenegro
Airlines normally has seven scheduled flights a day to
Podgorica and Tivat in Montenegro. The Serbian Ministry
for Capital Investment announced May 9 that all Montenegrin
voters resident in Serbia would be permitted free passage
on Serbian Railways to vote in the referendum. (The
Belgrade-Podgorica fare is about USD 20, one-way.) A large
inflow of expatriate voters is expected.

CEDEM Poll


--------------------------





5. (U) CEDEM, a well-established local NGO, has released
its last poll before the May 21 referendum vote. It
reports support for independence at 56.3 percent of likely
voters, 43.7 percent opposed, and a projected turnout of 87
percent. 1482 persons were surveyed. The number of
persons who said they will not vote has declined sharply,
from 26 percent to 13 percent. Minorities still strongly
support independence: 80 percent of Bosnians and Muslims,

BELGRADE 00000741 002 OF 002


95 percent of Albanians. PM Djukanovic, with strong
support from backers of independence, has regained the lead
as the most trusted politician in Montenegro. No pro-Union
leader ranks higher than 6th - Andrija Mandic, leader of
the Serb People Party (SNS). Full results are at
www.cedem.cg.yu


Lajcak Sees Constructive and Fair Environment


--------------------------





6. (U) Following his meetings May 9 with SaM President
Svetozar Marovic and the leaders of the two blocs, Milo
Djukanovic and Predrag Bulatovic, Miroslav Lajcak told a
press conference in Podgorica that that he is satisfied
with the current environment in Montenegro. He added that
he will inform EU ambassadors in Brussels today that the
referendum process is being carried out in a constructive
and fair atmosphere.

Non-Arrest of Mladic a Non-Issue


--------------------------





7. (U) The May 3 EU suspension of the SAA talks with Serbia
and Montenegro over Serbia's failure to arrest indicted war
criminal Ratko Mladic was noted only briefly by the
campaigns. The pro-independence bloc underscored that the
GoS's failure was impeding Montenegro's entry into the EU,
concluding that Serbia would not "be able to hold
Montenegro hostage" after May 21. The pro-Union bloc
asserted that the issue of Mladic's arrest had no bearing
on the referendum.

POLT