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Independence referendum

PODGORICA (Serbia-Montenegro): Montenegro's pro- and anti-independence camps on Thursday both expressed confidence of victory at an upcoming referendum that will decide whether the tiny Balkan republic becomes another European state or stays in its troubled union with Serbia. ``I am convinced that the support for an independent Montenegro is growing,'' pro-independence Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said ahead of Sunday's vote. ``I am absolutely certain that we will exceed a 55 per cent majority.'' The European Union, which fears that the referendum could result in unrest, is demanding that at least 55 per cent of the voters choose independence for the ballot to be considered legitimate. Montenegro, with a population of just 620,000, is dwarfed by Serbia and its 8 million people. Opinion polls show pro- and anti-independence camps are almost evenly divided, with the secessionists enjoying a slight advantage. — AP

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