Eurovision song contest drama

Heated row leads to a country pulling out

Serbia-Montenegro have withdrawn from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest following a heated row over their national entry.

Earlier this month, a Montenegrin panel of judges were accused of tactical voting at a contest to decide the union’s official 2006 song for the event.

Serbia called for the vote to be recast after Montenegro’s No Name were crowned the winners.

However, according to BBC News, Montenegro refused to agree to a new contest and, as no solution could be found, the country withdrew.

The decision was officially announced to the European Broadcasting Union at a meeting in Athens – the location of the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest which will take place on May 20.

Head of Serbian broadcaster RTS, Aleksandar Tijanic, said: “It would be better for all of us not to have a representative at the contest in Athens.”

In a statement, he added: “Otherwise, we would have to accept manipulations, pressures and blackmails imposed by the music clans and political mentors who brought us to this embarrassing situation.”

RTS had suggested a restaged contest in which the five acts from both countries of the union could take place, with the winners being decided by public voting.

However this idea was rejected by Montenegro broadcaster RTVCG who claimed voting had been fair.

None of the Serbian acts in the national final, which took place on March 11 in Belgrade, received any points from RTVCG representatives.

When No Name were declared the winners, the audience began to boo and throw bottles at the stage. They were forced to leave before they could perform a reprise of the winning song.

Croatia have now been officially awarded a position in the final and no longer need to take part in qualification heats.

Serbia-Montenegro face a possible three year ban from the Eurovision Song Contest and a fine of up to 35,000 Swiss Francs (£15,000).