Montenegro's Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic attends a press conference in Podgorica, Montenegro, on July 14. File Photo by Boris Pejovic/EPA-EFE
Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Montenegro's coalition government collapsed Friday after a vote of no confidence in the administration of Prime Minister Dritan Abazović.
Abazović, the leader of the socially liberal United Reform Action party, had taken over as prime minister of a minority administration from Zdravko Krivokapić in April after it too was victim to a vote of no-confidence.
The government was ousted by 50 members of the 81-seat parliament, Balkan Insight reported.
"What is happening now in Montenegro will have one outcome, either Milo Djukanovic or Dritan Abazović will disappear from the political scene. This is a political conflict in which someone must be defeated," Abazović told parliament minutes before the vote.
He also criticized organized crime groups that smuggle cigarettes and cocaine in the small country, which has a population of about 620,000 people, in his address.
"There is only one problem and that is the cigarettes that have been confiscated in the port of Bar," Abazovic said.
The confidence vote was called by the Democratic Party of Socialists, which is headed by President Milo Djukanovic, and smaller parties in the ruling coalition.
"I congratulate the new coalition of Milo Đukanović and Aleksa Bečić, I hope they will quickly agree on a government. We are ready at that moment to hand over the baton to someone, why not more successfully, to lead the country," Abazović told the news agency MINA.
The vote came on the heels of a recent controversial agreement the government signed with the Serbian Orthodox Church derided by Djukanovic who pushed for early elections afterward.
"I did not do this because of the power but because of the citizens, especially the Orthodox people in Montenegro. I would do it again, I do not need praise. But if someone wants to make the new majority with the DPS, do not invite us anymore," Abazovic said.
"If you support the confidence motion that was filed because of the vote for the agreement with the church, if someone supports demeaning the people who are at the top of the SPC and calling them names -- congratulations, I won't do it, I'm not part of that story."