Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro

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Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro
Демократска Партија Социјалиста Црне Горе
Demokratska Partija Socijalista Crne Gore
Leader Milo Đukanović[1]
Founded 1943
rebranded 1991
Headquarters Podgorica
Ideology Social democracy,[2]
Pro-Europeanism
Political position Centre-left
National affiliation Coalition for a European Montenegro
International affiliation Socialist International,
Progressive Alliance
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
Colours Blue, Orange
Parliament
32 / 81
Website
http://www.dps.me/
Politics of Montenegro
Political parties
Elections

The Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (Montenegrin: Demokratska Partija Socijalista Crne Gore, Демократска Партија Социјалиста Црне Горе, DPS) is the ruling social-democratic political party in Montenegro.

It is the successor of the Yugoslav Communist League's Montenegrin branch. It was renamed in 1991. The DPS has governed Montenegro since 1991, though it became factionalized. From 1991 to 1998 under Momir Bulatović, the party endorsed a union and close relations with Serbia (its sole partner in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1992). In 1998, Bulatović was ousted as leader and its present leader Milo Đukanović took over, advocating distancing Montenegro from Serbia, while Bulatović's faction formed the Socialist People's Party of Montenegro which advocated close ties with Serbia under Bulatović's leadership until he was ousted from that party as well.

At the last legislative elections in Montenegro on the 10 September 2006, DPS along with Social Democratic Party of Montenegro (SDP) as the Coalition for a European Montenegro won 39 out of 81 seats, and the right to appoint the Government. At the rerun for Albanian minority representatives, it won a single seat, and the Forca merged its seat into DPS, with a total outcome of 40 seat, just the needed parliamentary majority. The DPS itself won 32 seats, one of which was transferred to the partner party Croatian Civic Initiative.

History[edit]

DPS was created after the breakup of SFR Yugoslavia, with the introduction of a multi-party political system. It is the successor of former Communist party, and so it inherited the party infrastructure, giving it a significant head start on the first democratic elections. Three men emerging as leaders of this new party swept into power during the Anti-bureaucratic revolution: Milo Đukanović, Momir Bulatović and Svetozar Marović.

After an easy win over People's Party of Montenegro and anti-war and independence-oriented Liberal Alliance of Montenegro, the DPS with Momir Bulatović as the president, opted for a federation with Serbia, which resulted in the creation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The entire party leadership were close followers of Slobodan Milošević, supporting his policies and unconditionally aligning Montenegro with Serbia in all decisions during the turbulent 1990s.

In mid-1990s, a split at the party's highest level occurred. As Serbia under Milošević became increasingly internationally criticised for its support of Serb separatists in the controversial wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, Montenegro was also becoming alienated, international observers claimed that Bulatović was little more than a puppet leader of Milošević. While Momir Bulatović insisted on continuing support to Milošević, an emerging faction led by Milo Đukanović distanced itself from Serbian leadership. A bitter fight over control within DPS began, and Đukanović came out clear winner. On 1997 Đukanović and Bulatović ran against each other at presidential elections, and after two run-offs Đukanović won with a slim majority. In its refusal to accept the results of elections, justified by alleged irregularities, Bulatović's faction created a near-warlike atmosphere in Montenegro. The results were confirmed. The elections were a turning point for the DPS.

Bulatović's defeated fraction of DPS created a new party, the Socialist People's Party of Montenegro (SNP), which became the major opposition party in Montenegro.

From this point, the 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. In time, Milo Đukanović became a fierce opponent of Milošević's regime, thus gaining worldwide support and sympathy for Montenegro.

When Milošević's federal government was overthrown 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, the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro came into force early in 2003 and required a three year waiting period before an independence referendum. Until then Montenegro remained in loose union with Serbia, called Serbia and Montenegro.

The DPS is considered the party most responsible for the success of the 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 independent Montenegro, the Coalition for European Montenegro (DPS and the SDP) won 41 out of 81 seats in Montenegrin parliament, thus winning an absolute majority of the seats and confirming its position as the strongest Montenegrin political party.

On 3 October 2006, Đukanović announced that he would not accept the nomination for the position of Prime Minister again, although he would remain the president of the party. The vice-president of the party, Svetozar Marović, also said that he would not take up any positions in the government. 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 occupying the Prime Minister position once again. DPS nominated Filip Vujanović, party vice president and incumbent President of Montenegro to run for presidency again in Montenegrin presidential election on 6 April 2008. He won in the first round with 51% of the vote.

The Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro continued its dominance in Montenegrin politics by emerging victorious once again on 2009 parliamentary election. The Coalition for a European Montenegro, headed by the DPS, won 47 out of 81 seats in Parliament of Montenegro. This outcome of the elections implies that DPS will have a major role in Government of Montenegro for another four years.

Đukanović resigned again as Montenegrin prime minister in December 2010 but retains his role as DPS party leader.[3]

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