Montenegro’s political transition. From Djukanović to where?

Balkan Focus series

Policy Brief

24/08/2023

Since 2020, Montenegro has been marred by strong political turbulence, whose main driver has been the gradual loss of power by long-time former President Milo Djukanović and his party, the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), which have been in power since the country introduced multipartitism in 1991.

Djukanović’s hold on power guaranteed Montenegro’s hold on Western values and Euro-Atlantic institutions, building on a strong Montenegrin national identity and decoupling from Serbia. At the same time, Montenegro became a classic case of ‘stabilocracy’, with a strong degree of state capture, corruption and political control of media and judiciary.

The presidential elections in March-April 2023 saw the final demise of Djukanović with the election of Jakov Milatović as president. His recently born ‘Europe Now!’ Movement managed to combine pro-Serb feelings with calls for economic development, with a populist twist. Parliamentary elections in June of the same year resulted in Europe Now! gaining the most votes, although not enough to form a government alone, with DPS managing to keep a fair share of support.

As Montenegro embarks on the difficult process of forming a coalition government, its commitment to Euro-Atlantic values might be put to the test.

The Balkan Focus policy brief series, published in cooperation with Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale (CeSPI) and Karl Renner Institut, is realised in synergy with the Friends of the Western Balkans (FoWB) project. It provides the FoWB network with background analyses on current political developments in the Western Balkan countries, as well as on the debate and process of European enlargement. The policy briefs also factor in the outcome of the debate held by the FoWB members. Three more policy briefs will be published later this year.

Network
Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale (CeSPI)
Karl Renner Institut
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