Podgorica, Montenegro, January 4, 2021
As expected, Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović refused to sign the laws passed by the parliament on December 29, including amendments to the Law on Religious Freedom.
The law was initially adopted a year ago, when Đukanović’s Party was still in power in Parliament. The President supports the miniscule and schismatic “Montenegrin Orthodox Church,” and the Law was initially adopted to grant the state the authority to seize historical properties from the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Although Montenegrin Parliament adopted necessary amendments to the law on December 29, ending the persecution of the Serbian Church and making all religious bodies equal in the eyes of the law, President Đukanović exercised his veto power and returned the laws to Parliament for a second vote, reports Pravoslavie.ru.
The President is doing his best to challenge the legitimacy of and discredit the parliamentarian vote, calling it “discouraging” in his New Year’s address to the nation. He also used the occasion to again accuse the Serbian Orthodox Church of a “hybrid attack” against Montenegro and its pro-NATO and EU course.
Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić, a member of the new government, critiqued the President, saying he refuses to allow a peaceful transition of power in Montenegro and violates the constitution and citizens’ rights.
The ruling parliamentary majority also stated that they will re-vote for the amendments and put an end to the President’s “cheap attempt to block the state.”