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news 09 Aug 13

Montenegrin Albanians Demand Municipality Referendum

Two ethnic Albanian parties have threatened to leave the ruling coalition if they don’t get a referendum on splitting the Podgorica municipality of Tuzi from the capital.

BIRN

The two parties, Forca and Civic Initiatives, which represent ethnic Albanians in the Montenegrin parliament, said they would quit the coalition if the referendum is not held in the autumn.

Under a previous agreement between the coalition partners, August 15 was the deadline for the referendum to be called.

A recent study commissioned by the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists suggested that the new municipality would not be economically sustainable if it was independent of Podgorica as a whole, indicating that the referendum should be postponed.

But the Albanian parties have dismissed the study’s results, saying that an independent municipality of Tuzi would diminish the DPS's chances to win the next municipal elections due in spring 2014.

"Three previous studies show something else. The incomes of the municipality will be around 2.6 million euro," Vaselj Sinistaj of Civic Initiatives told Montenegrin public service broadcaster RTCG.

Podgorica serves as the administrative and political capital of the country and is divided into three municipalities.

One of them is Tuzi, which has a population of 13,000 people, mostly ethnic Albanians. Podgorica’s total population is about 160,000.

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