Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro
|Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro|
|Демократска Партија Социјалиста Црне Горе
Demokratska Partija Socijalista Crne Gore
|Preceded by||League of Communists of Montenegro|
|National affiliation||Coalition for a European Montenegro|
|International affiliation||Socialist International
|European affiliation||Party of European Socialists (Associate)|
|Politics of Montenegro
The Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (Montenegrin: Demokratska Partija Socijalista Crne Gore, Демократска Партија Социјалиста Црне Горе, DPS) is a social-democratic political party in Montenegro. It is one of the major parties in the politics of Montenegro.
The party was formed in 1991 as the successor of the League of Communists of Montenegro, which had governed Montenegro within the Yugoslav federation since World War II. Since its formation and introduction of multi-party system, DPS has had a dominant role in Montenegrin politics, forming the backbone of every coalition government to date.
At the 2012 legislative elections held on 14 October 2012, the DPS along with Social Democratic Party of Montenegro (SDP) as the Coalition for a European Montenegro won 39 out of 81 seats. This coalition, along with the long time partner Bosniak Party, once again formed majority in Parliament of Montenegro and held the right to appoint the Government. The DPS itself won 31 seats. The current Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Đukanović and President Filip Vujanović are both members of the DPS.
The history of the DPS begins with the political turmoil in Yugoslavia in the late 1980s. After Slobodan Milošević seized power in League of Communists of Serbia, he went on to organize rallies that eventually ousted the leaderships of League of Communists of Yugoslavia local branches in Vojvodina, Kosovo and Montenegro. This series of events, collectively known as Anti-bureaucratic revolution, swept into power new party leadership in Montenegro, one allied with Milošević, personified in Momir Bulatović, Milo Đukanović and Svetozar Marović.
League of Communists of Montenegro, under a new leadership, won by a landslide on the 1990 general election, first free multi-party elections in Montenegro, taking 83 out of 125 seats in the Montenegrin parliament. The party had a significant head start on the elections, as it had entire party infrastructure at its disposal, while newly formed competition had to start from scratch. The party changed name to Democratic Party of Socialists on 22 June 1991.
With Momir Bulatović as the president, the DPS closely aligned Montenegro with Serbia and policies of Slobodan Milošević. The party was firmly in power during the turbulent early 1990s, which saw dissolution of Yugoslavia and the beginning of Yugoslav Wars. During these years, the party endorsed a union and close relations with Serbia (its sole partner in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1992). The party maintained the support of the electorate in this difficult period for Montenegro, winning both 1992 and 1996 elections.
The mid-1990s saw a significant turmoil within the party leadership. As Serbia under Milošević came under increased scrutiny by International community for its involvement and support of Serb separatists in the controversial wars in Bosnia and Croatia, Montenegro was also becoming more isolated. In spite of this, Bulatović wanted to continue unconditional support of Milošević regime in Serbia, while fraction led by Milo Đukanović wanted to distance itself from Milošević and seek greater autonomy for Montenegro within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
This split led to a deep crisis and a bitter fight over control within the party, which culminated in Bulatović's ousting from the party, while Đukanović emerged as party president. Bulatović unsuccessfully ran against Đukanović in 1997 presidential election, and went on to form Socialist People's Party of Montenegro (SNP) out of his defeated DPS faction. This political turmoil in late 1997 and early 1998 was turning point for Montenegro, and unfolded in a very electrified and tense atmosphere.
From 1998 to the 2000, Milo Đukanović became a fierce opponent of Milošević's regime, thus gaining worldwide support and sympathy for Montenegro. Montenegro received significant amounts of economic aid during this period, and was mostly spared during NATO bombing campaign in 1999. DPS government gradually severed ties with Serbia by taking over control over customs, introducing first the German mark, and later the Euro as legal tender, and generally reducing the influence of federal government on Montenegro.
Following the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević on 5 October 2000, the DPS began to be a proponent of Montenegrin independence. The campaign for the 2002 parliamentary elections was devoted to the question of Montenegro's independence. However EU mediated the negotiations between the DPS and newly elected democratic government of Serbia, and in 2003 imposed a three-year waiting period before an independence referendum could be held. The transitional period saw the transformation of the FR Yugoslavia to a loose union called Serbia and Montenegro.
The DPS spearheaded the pro-independence campaign, and is considered the party most responsible for the success of the independence referendum that was held on 21 May 2006. 55.5% of Montenegrins voted for independence, and as a result Montenegro became an independent state on 3 June 2006.
In the first parliamentary elections in 2006 in independent Montenegro, as well as the subsequent elections in 2009 and 2012 election, the DPS confirmed its position as the strongest political party in Montenegro. The party has formed all parliament majorities and has been the backbone of all Government cabinets since the independence, usually with traditional partners the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro (SDP) and ethnic minority parties.
Milo Đukanović, party president and its undisputed authority, served either as Prime Minister or President of Montenegro from 1991 to 2006, but did not accept nomination for the Prime Ministerial position in 2006. Instead, the party leaders picked Željko Šturanović, former Minister of Justice, to be the new Prime Minister.
Šturanović resigned on 31 January 2008 for health reasons, with Đukanović stepping up to the position of Prime Minister once again, only to resign in December 2010 while retaining his role as DPS party leader. However, after winning the 2012 parliamentary elections, Đukanović once again assumed the position of the PM.