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Poll Shows Montenegrins Afraid To Express Political Opinions

PODGORICA -- A Gallup poll shows that two thirds of Montenegrins are afraid to express their political opinion, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

Robert Manchin, Gallup's director for Europe, said that result "is the most alarming information in the whole research."

The poll’s results were made public on February 3.

The European Union has granted Montenegro candidate member status but has warned that corruption, organized crime, and a compromised judiciary are the most important priorities.

The Gallup poll also showed that, paradoxically, Montenegrins seem to trust their government, which has been dominated by Milo Djukanovic and his Democratic Party of Socialists since the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

Djukanovic stepped down as prime minister in December but remains head of the party.

Stevo Muka of Institut Alternativa, a nongovernmental organization involved in political and social reform in Montenegro, said his compatriots fear the party's "style of rule."

"Two thirds [of the population] think that having no freedom will pay off in the end because they live in a political, economic, and social system that rewards this kind of 'freedom' in the end," Muka told RFE/RL.