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Montenegrin Parliament Approves Luksic as New Prime Minister

Montenegro’s parliament approved Igor Luksic as the country’s new premier, taking over from Milo Djukanovic who retired after leading the tiny Adriatic republic for two decades.

In a keynote speech before taking office, Luksic, who previously served as finance minister, said his administration will work to spur economic growth, narrow the budget deficit and bring the country toward European Union membership. His former deputy, Milorad Katnic, became the new finance minister.

Luksic, 34, said he will reduce the budget gap to 2.6 percent of gross domestic product next year, from 4 percent in 2010. He also promised stability, fiscal discipline and an improved credit rating for the country, currently at BB by Standard & Poor’s, with a negative outlook.

As he took over a slightly reshuffled and downsized Cabinet from his predecessor, Luksic pledged continuity with Djukanovic’s policies. He also said he will fight corruption to attract investors and achieve economic growth of 2.5 percent in 2011 4 percent in 2012.

Djukanovic announced last week that he would step down after leading Montenegro through Yugoslavia’s violent breakup and to independence in 2006. He picked Luksic just days after the European Union on Dec. 17 granted Montenegro candidate status for membership. The tiny country has yet to receive a date for entry talks with the bloc.

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