Podgorica, Montenegro, January 22, 2021
On Wednesday, January 21, Deputies of the Montenegrin Parliament rejected the president’s veto and re-adopted amendments to the controversial “Law on Religious Freedom.”
The amendments remove the anti-Church clauses that gave the state the authority to confiscate sacred territory from the Serbian Orthodox Church, by far the largest religious organization in Montenegro.
The amendments were adopted by the vote of the 41 deputies present. Opposition deputies who support the nationalistic President Milo Đukanović did not attend the vote, reports Vijesti.
According to the Constitution of Montenegro, the president has the right to veto adopted laws once, returning them for reconsideration. After the re-adoption of the same laws by the Parliament, the head of state is obliged to sign them.
The scandalous law was initially adopted a year ago, when Đukanović’s party still held majority power in Parliament. The President, who supports the miniscule and schismatic “Montenegrin Orthodox Church,” lost his majority in the August elections. The new government came into power on December 4 and immediately set about correcting the government’s stance towards the Orthodox Church.
Although the 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 law to Parliament for a second vote, though, according to the Constitution, he is now obliged to sign the amendments into law.