Montenegro will hold a referendum on EU membership in May, but alarmingly the EU and Montenegran governments are still squabbling over just how the referendum should be organised.
In a decision that has outraged analysts, Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief, is insisting that for it to be valid, at least 55% of voters casting ballots must opt for independence. EU foreign ministers are expected to bless the Solana proposal today.
But the Montenegrin government has indicated it is against the guidelines. It wants the secession vote to be valid if at least 41 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots. It is not clear whether it would accept the 55 percent approval requirement or whether it would press for approval by a simple majority of those who vote
Both of which, it has to be said, are absolutely barking ways to decide a referendum.
What on earth is wrong with the old fashioned 50% or 66% requirements? If you really want to get technical, I suppose you could add a requirement for 50% of the electorate to turn out to make the vote valid.
But to pick numbers like 55% and 41% respectively out of the air is the most blatantly stupid politicking imaginable, and will do nothing for the credibility of the poll, the Montengran government, or the EU.