Montenegro adopts new constitution

PODGORICA -- The Montenegrin parliament last night adopted the country's new constitution.

The highest legal act supported by the parliament in Podgorica is the first since that country once again became independent in May last year, the seventh in its history.

The successful vote meant that the provisions of the Montenegrin constitution have now taken effect.

Parliament Speaker Ranko Krivokapić said on the occasion that this generation of Montenegrins was given a chance to restore full statehood to the country, and introduce a European legal order, honoring one thousands years of its history.

He pointed to the importance of a provision that states two thirds of parliamentary votes can now change the decision to define the country's dedication to joining the EU, or its state symbols and the name of its official language.

Krivokapić also noted that the human and minority rights, as well as the rule of law, featured prominently in the new document.

"This constitution is a fundamental legal good to base all others on in our motherland," he told the parliament session.

Prime Minister Željko Šturanović told reporters after the ceremony that Montenegro proved its political maturity by adopting the new constitution with a two-third majority, and also by making an important step toward EU membership by recently signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the Union.

Beside parliamentary officials and Šturanović, Montenegrin Army chief of staff, Gen. Jovan Lakićević, as well as most party leaders, were present.

But the parties representing ethnic Serbs in that country did not attend the proclamation of the new constitution.

The Serbian List members even remained seated while the Montenegrin national anthem was sounded, to then leave the parliament.

Fireworks lighted the sky above Podgorica to celebrate the important milestone for the country, followed by a reception for Montenegro's political elite and diplomats.