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Montenegro: Voters Back Pro-Independence Parties

Podgorica, 16 May 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Preliminary results from local elections in Montenegro show voters in the majority of municipalities supported candidates who back independence for the small Yugoslav republic. Pro-independence parties won in 10 of 19 municipalities in yesterday's voting. Candidates from parties that want Montenegro to remain in a union with Serbia won in eight municipalities. The 19th municipality was won by representatives of the local ethnic Albanian population.

Voter turnout was about 70 percent in the poll to elect 600 seats to town councils.

The parliaments of both Serbia and Montenegro in March ratified a new union agreement. The agreement still needs to be endorsed by the Yugoslav parliament. Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic's government collapsed over the agreement to form the union.