Montenegrins are expected to vote largely along ethnic lines The people of Montenegro have begun voting in a referendum on independence from Serbia. The former Yugoslav republic currently forms part of the union of Serbia and Montenegro and is deeply divided over the independence issue.
The pro-independence bloc needs at least 55% of votes cast for victory.
If people do vote for independence, it would mark the final dissolution of the former Yugoslavia and create Europe’s newest state.
There are strong cultural, economic and family ties with neighbouring Serbia.
Those who oppose independence say all of these will be affected in a negative way if Montenegro breaks away from Serbia.
Queues formed early at polling stations, which opened at 0800 local time (0600 GMT).
There was a steady stream of voters. One man said: “This is the most important day for Montenegro in 100 years.”
The polls are due to close at 2100 (1900 GMT) and first official results are expected on Monday, though election monitors are hoping to have an accurate prediction by midnight.
Voters, some of them dressed in their Sunday best clothes, pondered the referendum question: “Do you want Montenegro to be an independent state with full international and legal legitimacy?”
The build-up to the vote had reached a climax on Saturday night, with independence supporters setting off fireworks, blaring car horns and draping the national flag from their balconies…