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Montenegrin Government Facing Confidence Motion

Lawmakers in Montenegro are debating a confidence motion in the government of the Adriatic state after an invitation to join NATO sparked pressure from pro-Russian opposition.

Addressing parliament deputies on January 25, Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, who is in a dispute with one of the seven parties in the coalition, said that "those who want to be both in power and in opposition" should be excluded from the cabinet.

Meanwhile, several hundred opposition supporters have rallied outside the parliament building chanting antigovernment slogans.

Djukanovic's move to call a confidence vote is viewed as a political maneuver ahead of parliamentary elections this year.

The country of 650,000 people is due anyway to hold regular parliamentary elections late this year. The confidence debate may last several days.

Some parts of the opposition oppose Montenegro entering NATO and accuse Djukanovic of allowing organized crime and corruption to thrive in the years since the collapse of federal Yugoslavia in the 1990s, a charge he denies.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters