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The document, Montenegro’s first constitution since it regained its independence, was backed by the governing coalition, headed by Prime Minister Zeljko Sturanovic, and a part of the opposition.
Following months of deliberations in the parliament, the ruling coalition managed to secure the two-thirds majority required for the adoption of the constitution to avoid a referendum.
In addition to the governing Democratic Party of Socialists and Social Democratic Party, the document was approved also by the opposition Movement for Changes, the Liberal Party and by parties that represent Montenegro’s Bosniak/Muslim, Albanian and Croat communities.
Montenegro has a population of some 680,000, of whom 43 per cent are Montenegrins, 32 per cent Serbs, 12 per cent BosniaksMuslims, 5 per cent Albanians and 1 per cent Croats.
The new constitution stipulates that Montenegro is a state of citizens instead of nations.
Parties that represent Montenegro’s Serbs, the Serb List, the People’s Party, the Serb People’s Party and the Socialist People’s Party, vehemently opposed the text of the constitution.
The pro-Belgrade Serb parties insisted that Serbian should be Montenegro's official language, and objected to the adoption of the red flag with the Montenegrin royal eagle, instead of the red, white and blue standard that is similar to the Serbian flag.
Montenegro separated from its former federal partner, Serbia, in 2006 after a referendum on independence.
It was an independent state until 1918 when its leaders opted to join the newly-formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes that later became Yugoslavia.
During communist times Montenegro was the smallest among the six-republics in federal Yugoslavia.
It was the only republic to stay in a federation with Serbia after 1992.
The Hague Tribunal has been successful in bringing wartime commanders to justice but hasn’t met expectations on reconciliation, chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz told BIRN.