Back 17 - Next 

Northern politics in 2007

Café owner Dzemal Suljevic

Of 11 municipalities in the North 8 had majorities against independence in the 2006 referendum (of between 60 and 70 percent). The only majorities for independence were found in the three municipalities with strong Bosniac/Muslim and Albanian populations. Muslim dominated Rozaje was the most pro-independent municipality in all of Montenegro (91.3 percent in favour), followed by Albanian-dominated Ulcinj at the coast (88.5 percent in favour).

Initially, in summer 2006, the referendum vote for independence led to high emotions and some anger among supporters of union with Serbia in the North. At the time Stanoje Stijovic, living in the village of Seoce, told Balkan Insight:

"As soon as I sell my property, I will move to Serbia. We plan to buy a whole village in Serbia and rename it Seoce out of love for our native land."

In other villages and in the town of Plijevlja the mood was similar. As Albanians and Bosniaks/Muslims were strong supporters of independence, the referendum result threatened to upset inter-ethnic relations. While people traditionally mingle in cafés and shops following the referendum interethnic relations cooled. Serbs started to avoid Bosniac-owned shops cafés like that of Dzemal Suljevic in the village of Unevina.

But these tensions and the fears they gave rise too proved short-lived. One year later little animosity remains. "The Serbs were simply upset by their defeat at the referendum, but now we only joke about this. It was over after a couple of days," café-owner Dzemal Suljevic told ESI in August 2007.

In fact, most municipalities in the North have not registered a single property transaction of people moving out of Montenegro. Even in the village of Seoce, whose inhabitants wanted to move collectively to Serbia, not one house was sold.

 Back 17 - Next