Montenegro government collapses in vote of no confidence
The parliament in the capital Podgorica backs a no-confidence motion against the coalition government after internal disputes and weeks of political stalemate.
Montenegro’s government was set to be dissolved following a vote of no confidence that sent the country’s prime minister packing his bags.
Friday night’s vote follows months of rising tensions in the Balkan nation where a dysfunctional coalition government elected in 2020 has made no tangible progress in passing reforms since taking office.
“Things are not working. It is our responsibility to come up with a solution and move to a new stage of development for the sake of the country’s European future,” said MP Milos Konatar, a member of the ruling coalition. , before the vote.
Of the 81 members of parliament, 43 voted in favor of the motion of no confidence, while 11 opposed the measure, with the remaining deputies abstaining.
A day before the motion, Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic acknowledged there was little chance of surviving the vote, saying he would likely be forced to resign.
Krivokapic, a 63-year-old former engineer and professor, rose from relative obscurity to lead the opposition coalition that toppled decades of socialist rule led by the country’s powerful president, Milo Djukanovic.
After taking power at the end of 2020, Krivokapic pledged to pave the way for the country’s accession to the European Union, telling AFP in an interview that “Montenegro will become the 28th member state of the EU”.
But Krivokapic and his disparate group of coalition partners – which included centrist parties and right-wing groups, including pro-Serb and pro-Russian groups – made little progress as they were dogged by bitter infighting .
Dozens injured in clashes between police and protesters in Montenegro
End of the “status quo”
The small country along the Adriatic has long been plagued by identity clashes, including a recent clash last year when protesters calling themselves “Montenegrin patriots” tried to block the inauguration of a new head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro.
Friday’s parliamentary motion was backed by the lion’s share of the opposition as well as some members of the ruling coalition.
“Montenegro and its political life can no longer bear the status quo,” reads part of the motion passed by parliament.
Drowning in mounting debt, Montenegro is struggling to repay gigantic loans taken out by Chinese companies building infrastructure in the country, including a highway considered one of the most expensive in the world.
The country has also long been plagued by rampant corruption and organized crime, including close links to drug trafficking, with large amounts of narcotics believed to be smuggled through Montenegro’s ports.