URA’s Abazovic announces end of political deadlock in Montenegro declaring new government’s composition agreed

TIRANA, April 20 – Prime Minister-designate Dritan Abazovic announced on Wednesday that the composition of the new Government has been agreed.

The no-confidence motion against the previous Montenegrin government, led by Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic, was voted on February 4th this year.

Speaking in a press conference in Podgorica on Wednesday, Abazovic, who is also the leader of the Civic Movement URA, said he had informed the Montenegrin Parliament of the agreement reached on electing a new government. He said his cabinet would have the support of 46 deputies out of 81 in the Montenegrin Assembly.

“At the moment we have support from 46 MPs in the 81-seat parliament, but I will open a dialogue for electing a new Supreme State Prosecutor and Constitutional Court members. With the help of other parties, we could have the necessary 49 votes for those reforms,” he added. According to the constitution, the election of the Supreme State Prosecutor requires the votes of a two-thirds majority of MPs, or 54, with the bar falling to 48 MPs in a second-round vote.

Montenegro will go to polls in 2023 and Abazovic promised to prepare the country for the new general elections.

According to him, judicial reforms and the fight against organized crime and corruption will be priorities for Montenegro’s new minority government, as well as preparing for early polls in 2023. Abazovic said that the mandate of his government will be one year, and that its main task will be to prepare state institutions for next spring’s early elections. “The idea is to unblock Montenegro and choose functional institutions instead of chaos… We are not against elections, but institutions must first become operational,” Abazovic said at the press conference.

Abazovic, the leader of Black on White, the smallest bloc in the former ruling coalition, was proposed as prime minister on March 2. The proposal was backed by his own Black on the White block, the ruling Socialist People’s Party, the opposition Democratic Party of Socialists, the Social Democratic Party, the Bosniak Party, the Social Democrats and two ethnic Albanian coalitions.

Abazovic said his government will have four deputy prime ministers and 20 ministers, and that he will present their names in the next few days. He stressed that the government will decide with two-thirds support about the signing of a fundamental agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church, a population census and joining the Open Balkan cross-border economic initiative.

Socialist People’s Party MP Dragan Ivanovic said on Wednesday that the signing of the fundamental agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church will be a priority for his ministers.

Meanwhile Abazovic said his cabinet will focus on the fight against organised crime, warning there will be no untouchables in tackling high-level corruption. He praised the April 18 arrest of the former president of the Supreme Court, Vesna Medenica, who was charged with abuse of office and membership of an organised criminal group. She has denied the allegations.

“Medenica is a textbook example of a ‘big fish’, holders of the highest positions in the country who are associated with crime and corruption. All those who are corrupted should be worried,” Abazovic said.

Meanwhile, interim parliament speaker and Democratic Front MP Strahinja Bulajic resigned, claiming he couldn’t prevent the election of the new government.

Since February 25, Bulajic has been refusing to schedule a parliamentary session before the ruling majority makes a deal on a new government or early elections. “I could not prevent what was happening in front of my eyes. Maybe someone will disagree with me, I call it a constitutional coup,” Bulajic said in a press release.

The two ruling blocs, the pro-Serbian For the Future on Montenegro and Peace is Our Nation, both accused Abazovic of betraying the outcome of the August 2020 elections that ousted the Democratic Party of Socialists, which had been in power for decades.

The pro-Serb and pro-Russian Democratic Front and the Democrats of Aleksa Becic have warned of protests against the new government.  /Argumentum.al