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)|
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|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 the introduction of a multi-party system, the DPS has played a dominant role in Montenegrin politics, forming the backbone of every coalition government to date.
At the 2012 legislative elections held on 14 October, the DPS along with the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro (SDP) as the Coalition for a European Montenegro won 39 out of 81 seats. This coalition, along with its longtime partner the Bosniak Party, once again formed a majority in the 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 party.
The history of the DPS begins with the political turmoil in Yugoslavia in the late 1980s. After Slobodan Milošević seized power in the League of Communists of Serbia, he went on to organize rallies that eventually ousted the leaderships of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia local branches in Vojvodina, Kosovo and Montenegro. This series of events, collectively known as the Anti-bureaucratic revolution, swept into power new party leadership in Montenegro, one allied with Milošević, personified in Momir Bulatović, Milo Đukanović and Svetozar Marović.
The League of Communists of Montenegro, under this new leadership, won by a landslide in the first relatively free multi-party election in Socialist Montenegro, held in December 1990, taking 83 out of 125 seats in the Montenegrin parliament. The party had a significant head start in the elections, as it had the entire established party structure at its disposal, while newly formed competition had to start from scratch. The party changed its name to the Democratic Party of Socialists on 22 June 1991.
With Bulatović as the president, the DPS closely aligned Montenegro with Serbia and the policies of Slobodan Milošević. The party was firmly in power during the turbulent early 1990s, which saw the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the beginning of the 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 the 1992 and 1996 elections.
The mid-1990s saw a significant turmoil within the party leadership. As Serbia under Milošević came under increased scrutiny by the International community for its involvement with and support of Serb separatists in the controversial wars in Bosnia and Croatia, Montenegro was also becoming more isolated. In spite of this, Bulatović wished to continue unconditional support of the Milošević regime, while a fraction led by Đukanović wanted to distance itself from Milošević and seek greater autonomy for Montenegro within the Federal Republic.
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 the 1997 presidential election, and went on to form the Socialist People's Party of Montenegro (SNP) out of his defeated DPS faction, which remains pro-Serbian–Montenegrin unionist to this day. This political turmoil in late 1997 and early 1998 was a turning point for Montenegro, and unfolded in a very electrified and tense atmosphere.
From 1998 to the 2000, 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 the NATO bombing campaign in 1999. The DPS government gradually severed ties with Serbia by taking control over customs and the economy, introducing first the German mark, and subsequently the Euro as legal tender, and generally reducing the influence of the federal government in Montenegro.
Following the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević on 5 October 2000, the DPS showed signs of greater support for Montenegrin independence. The campaign for the 2002 parliamentary elections was devoted to the question of Montenegro's independence. However EU mediated negotiations between the DPS and the newly elected democratic government in Serbia 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 2006 at the first parliamentary elections in independent Montenegro, as well as the subsequent elections in 2009 and 2012, the DPS confirmed its position as the strongest political party in Montenegro. The party has formed the basis of all parliamentary majorities and has been the backbone of all Government cabinets since independence, usually with its now traditional ally the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro (SDP) and ethnic minority parties.
Milo Đukanović remains the party president and its undisputed authority, serving either as Prime Minister or President of Montenegro from 1991 to 2006, 2008 to 2010 and 2012 to present. In 2006, the party leadership chose Željko Šturanović, former Minister of Justice, to succeed Đukanović as Prime Minister, until his resignation on 31 January 2008 for health reasons, whereupon Đukanović replaced him, only to resign again in December 2010 while retaining his role as DPS party leader. After winning the 2012 parliamentary elections, Đukanović once again assumed the position of the PM.