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No-confidence motion filed against Montenegro government

No-confidence motion filed against Montenegro government

PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — A junior partner in Montenegro's ruling coalition on Wednesday filed a no-confidence motion in the current government after proposing to replace it with a new, minority administration as the way out of a political crisis that has stalled European Union integration processes in the small Balkan nation.

Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic, the leader of the ‘Black on White’ group, formally submitted the initiative in the Montenegrin parliament, saying that the current political deadlock must end.

It was not immediately clear when the motion could be put to a vote in the 81-member Montenegrin assembly. The current government of Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic — which has a slim parliamentary majority — has been in turmoil in recent months amid dwindling support.

“The political crisis ... has led to a slowdown in European integration," the proposal said. “We cannot pretend that nothing is happening and that the processes are not blocked.”

Krivokapic has rejected the initiative to form a minority government as a “fraud.” Other members of the ruling coalition also have criticized the move and called for the reshuffle of the current Cabinet or early elections to be held instead.

Krivokapic's government took office after an August 2020 election that ousted from power the long-ruling pro-Western Democratic Party of Socialists. The new ruling coalition included a staunchly pro-Serb and pro-Russian Democratic Front, which in the past months has criticized the prime minister.

Abazovic said the future government would not include the Democratic Front or the Democratic Party of Socialists. He has, however, urged both parties to grant parliamentary support and enable Montenegro to push forward pro-EU reforms.

Small Montenegro is deeply divided in support to the pro-Western and pro-Serb blocks. During its decades-long rule in Montenegro, now-opposition DPS party of President Milo Djukanovic led the country to independence from Serbia in 2006 and defied Russia to steer the Adriatic Sea nation into NATO in 2017.

The no-confidence motion on Wednesday was signed by 31 lawmakers, including those from opposition parties.

Abazovic's critics have described his idea as a way to bring the DPS back into power in Montenegro. The move, however, has received support from several smaller groups and parties of ethnic minorities in Montenegro.