The Parliament of Montenegro voted on Friday evening a vote of no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic. This opens the way for new political upheavals in the small Balkan country bordering the Adriatic Sea, commented AFP, quoted by BTA.
The country’s previous coalition government was also ousted by a no-confidence vote in February this year.
The current vote was brought by the Democratic Party of President Milo Djukanovic. He was supported by 50 deputies from the Assembly, which consists of a total of 81 members. The vote was preceded by a 12-hour debate.
“We need elections and a stable government,” said Djukanovic’s party deputy Daniel Zivkovic.
Political tension in Montenegro has been at its peak for several weeks, AFP notes. The reason is an agreement signed by the cabinet with the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC).
The contract regulates the ownership of hundreds of monasteries and churches of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro. However, part of the Montenegrin society believes that the agreement does not protect the interests of the state.
President Milo Djukanovic, who defected to the opposition camp, used the agreement to destabilize the government and trigger early elections, AFP notes.
The tension has geopolitical dimensions. Once a communist who later became the architect of Montenegrin independence, Djukanovic got the country into NATO. Now Montenegro is also a candidate for EU membership.
The Montenegrin president wants at all costs to reduce the influence of the Serbian church and to consolidate a national identity different from the Serbian one, even if this means the creation of a new and independent church, notes AFP.
One third of the 620,000 inhabitants of Montenegro are self-identified as Serbs. Some nationalists deny that Montenegrins have a separate identity.
The SPC is the dominant religious institution in Montenegro. She is accused by her opponents of serving the political interests of Belgrade. There is also a Montenegrin Orthodox Church in the country, which, however, has very few followers and is not recognized by the Orthodox world.