Montenegro reshuffles cabinet after resignation

PODGORICA, Jan 28, 2000 -- (Reuters) Montenegro's parliament approved on Thursday a reshuffled Cabinet following the resignation of the foreign minister over alleged links with the Italian Mafia.

Opposition deputies walked out after a lengthy debate and the ruling majority then voted in favor of Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic's new Cabinet which included Branko Lukovac, Montenegro's envoy to Slovenia, as foreign minister.

Former Foreign Minister Branko Perovic resigned last month over alleged involvement in smuggling and other criminal associations with the Mafia.

In other changes, Ljubisa Krgovic was named deputy prime minister, Rade Gregovic minister of urban planning and Radojica Luburic culture minister.

The four new ministers are all members of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), the senior partner in the ruling coalition, as were their predecessors. The changes had been planned before Perovic's resignation.

The fifth, Budimir Dubak, a member of the National Party, will be in charge of religious affairs.

Dubak replaces Slobodan Tomovic who was criticized for being too close to the Serbian Orthodox Church, which does not recognise Montenegro's breakaway Orthodox church.

Montenegro's pro-Western government came under pressure both at home and abroad when allegations against Perovic were made public after an Italian judge ordered him and others to stand trial on smuggling and criminal association charges.

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