PODGORICA, Montenegro -- Montenegro's pro-Serbian government is teetering on the brink of collapse as its prime minister warned against the possibility of a long-ruling pro-Western party coming back to power.
Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic said on Twitter that plans by his ruling coalition partners to install a new, minority government with the support of the opposition Democratic Party of Socialists would reinstate the party's influence in Montenegro less than two years after it was ousted in an election.
The DPS president, Milo Djukanovic, ruled Montenegro for nearly three decades before it was replaced in the August 2020 vote by Krivokapic’s ideologically-mixed coalition, which includes pro-Serb and pro-Russian groups along with smaller parties.
Djukanovic led Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2006 and defied Russia to win NATO membership in 2017, but his government's popularity sunk over time amid corruption allegations.
Krivokapic warned his coalition partners that if his government failed, “the concentration of political power would transfer into the hands of the defeated DPS and its president.”
Krivokapic's government in recent months has plunged into a political crisis. It is heading for a showdown in parliament this week when lawmakers will decide whether to support his bid for an early election or oust his government in a no-confidence motion.
A junior partner in the government, the United Reform Action, has proposed that a minority government replace the existing one in order to push forward Montenegro's stalled European Union membership bid.
“I call on those who accuse me of defending my own position to return their mandates to the citizens and check the legitimacy of their new political platform at an early parliamentary election,” Krivokapic said in his Twitter post.
Montenegro — a Balkan nation of 620,000 people — remains deeply divided among pro-Serb and pro-Western supporters. Krivokapic's government came to power following weeks of protests led by the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro.