Montenegro’s government in crisis as deputy PM's party files no confidence motion

Montenegro’s government in crisis as deputy PM's party files no confidence motion
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia January 19, 2022

Montenegro’s URA, a member of the ruling coalition, filed a no-confidence motion against the government of Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic on January 19. 

The government had been in a state of crisis for months as the divisions between its members — ranging from pro-EU to far-right and pro-Russian — became harder to bridge. In the end it was URA, led by Krivokapic’s former right hand man Dritan Abazovic that pulled the trigger. 

The motion was filed after URA proposed replacing the current cabinet with a minority government in the hope of ending the ongoing crisis within the ruling coalition, but its proposal that received a strong negative reaction from the premier.

The motion, filed on the parliament’s website, was backed by the Black in White coalition, of which URA is part, but also by MPs of the former ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and two other smaller opposition parties, the Social Democrats (SD) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP). As the government had the backing of only 41 of Montenegro’s 81 MPs, with the loss of URA’s four deputies it is unlikely to survive the motion. 

In a statement on its website, URA said it will not participate in “simulation of processes and reforms” and that the motion is a test of whether a minority government could get a majority in parliament. The motion was signed by 31 out of 81 MPs.

Tensions have been high within the ruling coalition almost since the beginning. After the August 2020 election, three coalitions – For the Future of Montenegro, Peace is Our Nation and Black in White – decided to set aside their political differences and form the next ruling majority, pledging to continue on Montenegro’s EU membership path and to tackle corruption. They also invited the representatives of ethnic minorities to join.

However, the differences in policy and political orientation between the 20 parties comprising the ruling coalition made the implementation of any reforms difficult and since September 2021 the political parties have been struggling to find an exit from the crisis.

The motion comes after the parliament voted that it does not support three ministers in Krivokapic’s government – Minister of Foreign Affairs Djordje Radulovic, Agriculture Minister Aleksandar Stijovic) and Education and Sports Minister Damir Sehovic. However, these ministers were not dismissed by Krivokapic. Meanwhile, minister of justice Vladimir Leposavic was removed, but so far Krivokapic has not proposed a replacement.

Krivokapic called the initiative for a minority government unacceptable and proposed a government reshuffle or early election in May. Krivokapic said late on January 19 he has