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Last Updated: Friday, 17 March 2006, 15:39 GMT
Serbia bids to salvage Eurovision
Serbian band Flamingos
Serbian act Flamingos came second in the controversial final
Serbia has proposed holding another national final in a bid to end the row with Montenegro over the country's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The head of Serbian broadcaster RTS has said five acts from both countries of the union should take part, with the winner determined by televoting.

A Montenegrin panel of judges was accused of tactical voting, handing victory to one of their acts, No Name.

The country has yet to formally announce its withdrawal from the event.

No Name represented the country in 2005 amidst similar claims of vote-rigging.

Deadline

In talks between the two sides earlier this week, Montenegrin TV rejected the proposal, saying that No Name were the country's legitimate representatives.

RTS head Aleksandar Tijanic has since written to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) who organise the annual event, asking for their approval to hold another national final.

Zeljko Joksimovic
Serbian star Zeljko Joksimovic gave the country a second placed debut

At the competition in Belgrade on 11 March, the audience booed and threw bottles at the stage when No Name were declared the winners.

The group were forced to leave the stage without performing a reprise of their song, and Serbian runners-up Flamingos sang instead.

The country has until 20 March, when the 37 other nations taking part in this year's competition meet in Athens, to reach a decision about whether to participate or confirm they are pulling out of the event.

A second contest would have to be staged this weekend.

If no decision is taken before the deadline, Serbia-Montenegro faces a fine and a possible ban from the song contest for up to three years.

They will be liable for the cost of participating in the music competition if they withdraw so close to the cut-off point for entrants.

Controversy also hit Moldova's Eurovision selection competition, which ended in a tie between three musical acts.

Independence

A re-run successfully chose a winner, but two of the three joint winners refused to take part in a fresh contest.

No Name
Montenegrin band No Name were booed off the stage

Serbia-Montenegro first took part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004, when popular Serbian singer Zeljko Joksimovic finished second.

At the 50th contest held in Kiev last year, No Name finished seventh, giving Serbia- Montenegro an automatic berth into the grand final.

For the third year in a row, a qualifying round will be held to determine which countries fill 10 spots in the final.

Montenegro is due to hold a referendum on breaking away from Serbia and declaring independence on 21 May - the day after the Eurovision Song Contest final.


SEE ALSO:
Euro-unity and divisions in Kiev
22 May 05 |  Entertainment
Eurovision win for Greek singer
21 May 05 |  Entertainment
Country profile: Serbia and Montenegro
12 Mar 06 |  Country profiles


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