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Europe

Montenegro's prime minister resigns after 20 years in power

Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, the longest-serving leader in the Balkans, has resigned. He said he had fulfilled his task after Montenegro was granted the status of European Union candidate country.

Milo Djukanovic

Milo Djukanovic is the longest serving leader in the Balkans

The prime minister of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, has stepped down after 20 years in power. He resigned after saying he had fulfilled his goal of bringing the tiny Adriatic nation closer to European Union and NATO membership.

His decision comes just days after Montenegro was given formal status as an EU candidate country.

"Now when Montenegro is a stable country, when it is at the doors of the European Union and NATO, ... the conditions have been met for my withdrawal," Djukanovic told reporters in Podgorica.

Djukanovic led Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2006. He was just 29 years old when he became the youngest prime minister in Europe in 1991. Since then he has been elected prime minister five times and was president once.

Djukanovic's successor

He said he would stay on as leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and recommended finance minister Igor Luksic to succeed him as prime minister.

Finance minister Igor Luksic

Igor Luksic has been put forward to succeed Djukanovic

"I am confident minister Luksic has the capability ... the ruling party has the right to propose who should lead the government; we have initiated that process," Djukanovic said.

Under the country's constitution, President Filip Vujanovic must officially propose to parliament a candidate for prime minister. The candidate has to then be confirmed in office by a vote in parliament.

The DPS has a comfortable majority in parliament, so it appears likely that 34-year-old Luksic will succeed Djukanovic.

Author: Catherine Bolsover (Reuters/AP)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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