Montenegro: No-confidence vote topples government
The Montenegro government fell on Saturday after a no-confidence vote in parliament ended the tenure of Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic.
The Abazovic government had come to power only in April 2022.
At the heart of the 50-1 vote was a controversial new agreement the government had signed with the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) recently.
Political tensions have been smoldering in Montenegro with President Milo Djukanovic, a fierce opponent of the SPC, using the accord to destabilize the coalition government and push for early elections.
"We need an election and a stable government," said parliamentarian Danijel Zivkovic, whose motion triggered the confidence vote.
Fighting Serbian influence
The small Adriatic nation had broken away from Serbia in 2006, yet a third of its population identify as Serbs, with the SPC as the major religion.
Now, with the nation divided over the church's dominant role and the country's ties to Serbia, critics accuse SPC of harboring the interests of its neighboring state. Also, the SPC leadership do not fully recognize Montenegro's independence.
Pro-Western groups in Montenegro see the agreement with the SPC as a sign of Serbia and Russia wielding undue influence in their country, especially against the backdrop of Russia's war against Ukraine.
The motion came just months after a no-confidence vote in February ended the rule of another coalition government.
For now, Abazovic is likely to continue to govern on an interim basis until a decision is made about his successor.
ss/sri (AP, AFP, dpa)