Montenegrin opposition parties have joined forces with a faction in the ruling coalition to file a no-confidence motion in Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic's cabinet.
Parliament has until mid-February to vote on the motion, which needs the backing of at least 41 lawmakers in the 81-seat assembly.
The January 19 move was backed by 31 lawmakers, including those belonging to Black on White, a pro-European Union political faction in the ruling coalition, and members of opposition groups including the party of long-serving President Milo Djukanovic, the Democratic Socialists.
The ruling coalition, made up of both pro-Serbian and pro-European blocs, narrowly won a parliamentary election in 2020, ending the three-decade rule of Djukanovic's Socialists. Djukanovic faces reelection next year.
But ever since its inception in December 2020, Krivokapic's cabinet -- which has a slim parliamentary majority -- has been in permanent turmoil amid bickering between the coalition partners that led in recent months to the coalition's shrinking public support.
"The prime minister...has jeopardized cooperation between executive and legislative bodies and that...led to the institutional and political crisis," said the motion, which was published on the parliament's website.
Several hundred Krivokapic supporters staged a protest against the no-confidence motion outside the government building in the capital, Podgorica.
Krivokapic, who has resisted pressure from coalition partners to get rid of his mostly technocrat ministers and replace them with political appointees, filed a motion in parliament later on January 19 seeking the removal of Dritan Abazovic, the deputy prime minister who is also the leader of the URA party, a senior member of the Black on White faction.
NATO member Montenegro also aspires to join the European Union.