Montenegro - Background

Governments of the Republic of Montenegro, 1991-present
Year Prime Minister Party
1991 Milo Đukanović DPS
1998 Filip Vujanović DPS
2003 Milo Đukanović DPS
2006 Željko Šturanović DPS
2008 Milo Đukanović DPS
2010 Igor Lukšić DPS

 

Note: only Prime Minister's party affiliation is listed.

DPS: Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (Demokratska Partija Socijalista Crne Gore)

Montenegrin history at a glance

After the Second World War, Montenegro became one of the six constituent republics of the federal Yugoslavia established by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (later the League of Communists of Yugoslavia—LCY) under Josip Broz (Tito). Montenegrins were strongly represented among the ranks of the LCY and of the Yugoslav People’s Army. Montenegro generally supported the Serbian reassertion of dominance within Yugoslavia after the death of Tito in the 1980s. Institutionally, this was helped by the installation of a new party leadership in the republic, following demonstrations during 1988 in favour of the Serbian leader, Slobodan Milošević. Subsequent reforms transformed the Skupština Crne Gore (Assembly of Montenegro) into a unicameral body of 125 members and replaced Montenegro’s collective Presidency with a directly elected state President. The elections, in December 1990, represented a victory for the ruling League of Communists of Montenegro (subsequently renamed the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro—DPS), which secured 83 seats in the new legislature, while its presidential candidate, Momir Bulatović, became President, after a second round of voting. In February 1991 Bulatović invited one of his party colleagues, Milo Ðukanović, to head the republican Government. The third member of the new Montenegrin leadership was Svetozar Marović, the chairman of the Skupština.

The onset of armed conflict in Yugoslavia prompted Montenegro to adopt a pragmatic response to the disintegration of the federation. Although Montenegro adopted a declaration of state sovereignty on 18 October 1991 and a new Constitution in November, it remained committed to the federation with Serbia, confirming this conclusively in a referendum in March 1992. As a result, the two republics announced a new federal Constitution, which was a continuation of the old state, but effectively acknowledged the secession of the other four federal units. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) came into effect on 27 April. On 12 October a new Montenegrin Constitution declared the republic to be part of the FRY and, early in 1993, the disposition of power was confirmed by the re-election of Bulatović as State President and the continuation of Ðukanović as premier. Meanwhile, another Montenegrin, Radoje Kontić, became the federal Prime Minister.

Relations between Montenegro and Serbia deteriorated from the mid-1990s. Montenegro was generally committed to the federal union, but resisted encroachments on its autonomy, in particular the attempts of Serbian leader Milošević to disassemble separate republican defence and foreign policy structures. Montenegro also wished to obtain international aid, which entailed its pursuit of a distinct foreign policy, often at variance with that of the federal authorities, while Montenegrin economic policy was also more supportive of a free market than generally the case in Serbia. Increasingly, however, the principal division in Montenegrin politics was not so much that between Serbia and Montenegro, as that between the republican presidency and premiership. Bulatović became more and more identified by his support for Milošević, who was attempting to control all opposition within the FRY, thereby threatening Montenegrin autonomy, although he and Ðukanović appeared united in their pursuit of separate negotiation of Montenegro’s status in the international economic community. In February 1997 Ðukanović publicly declared Milošević unfit to hold public office, and in March he resisted the demands of Bulatović that he dismiss all anti-Milošević ministers in the republican Government. The ruling DPS (the parliamentary dominance of which had been conclusively confirmed in legislative elections in November 1996) split into two factions during 1997, as a result of Bulatović's support for the Serbian leader (who became the federal Yugoslav President in July). In July supporters of Đukanović within the DPS voted to remove Bulatović from the leadership of the party. Bulatović and Ðukanović became the leading candidates in the Montenegrin presidential election of October. Ðukanović won the second round of voting, with 50.8% of the votes cast.

Ðukanović was inaugurated as the President of Montenegro in January 1998, amid violent protests from supporters of Bulatović (who refused to accept the result as legitimate). A compromise agreement on early legislative elections in May was reached, pending which a transitional Government, led by the Ðukanović faction of the DPS, was formed in February. Bulatović’s faction refused to participate and renamed itself the Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro (SPPM). However, support for the anti-Milošević stance of Ðukanović and his party was confirmed in the elections of May, when the DPS won an outright majority, allowing it to form a coalition Government, led by Filip Vujanović, in July. Montenegro had become increasingly suspicious of Serbia’s intentions, particularly with the appointment of Bulatović as federal Prime Minister in May (in succession to Kontić). Bulatović proceeded to purge many Montenegrin officials from federal institutions, in response to the DPS appointing its own nominees to the federal chamber of the Yugoslav parliament in June. Montenegro refused to acknowledge the administration of Bulatović, suspending all links with the federal Government in August.

Sources:

Inter-Parliamentary Union: PARLINE database on national parliaments

Historical Context (Montenegro), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Bergen. Retrieved 16 June 2011 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/me.is.12646961411