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Parliament overthrows Montenegro’s government

Montenegro’s minority government of Dritan Abazovic is overthrown by parliament after just three and a half months. He had led a coalition with his URA party, Greens, Social Democrats, ethnic Albanian and Bosniak parties, and a pro-Serb party.

Montenegro’s acting Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic with his ministers after his government lost the vote of no confidence on August 20th.

Stevo Vasiljevic / Reuters

(dpa)

In the NATO country of Montenegro, the parliament overthrew the government of Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic, who had been in office for only three and a half months. On the initiative of President Milo Djukanovic’s DPS party and four other parliamentary groups, 50 of 81 MPs voted in favor on Saturday night. The eco-liberal Abazovic had angered the head of state a good two weeks earlier because he had signed a controversial contract with the Serbian Orthodox Church. For the time being, Abazovic is likely to continue to govern on an interim basis until a decision is made about his successor.

The 36-year-old Abazovic only took office on April 28, after the predominantly pro-Serbian previous government had been overthrown in parliament. Like Djukanovic, Abazovic is considered pro-Western. He had led a minority government, with a motley coalition that included his URA party, Greens, Social Democrats, ethnic Albanian and Bosniak parties, and a pro-Serb party.

The church contract is considered controversial because it grants the Serbian-controlled Orthodox Church special rights. Their leadership has never really come to terms with the state independence of Montenegro. The former Yugoslav republic became independent in 2006 – at that time in agreement with the Serbian state. Today the government in Belgrade is trying to regain more influence in the NATO country of Montenegro through the church and local pro-Serbian parties and organizations.

Three days earlier, tensions between Abazovic and parliament had also meant that the election of members for a politically independent judiciary council in the parliament failed. The EU Commission had called for this step several times. The small Adriatic country has been a member of NATO since 2017 and is aiming to join the EU.

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