Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro
|Vice Presidents||Ivan Vuković|
|Founded||22 June 1991|
|Preceded by||League of Communists|
|Political position||Big tent[a]|
|Religion||Montenegrin Orthodox Church|
(since the 2019 party congress)
|European affiliation||Party of European Socialists (associate)|
|International affiliation||Progressive Alliance|
|Colours||Orange Blue Red|
29 / 81
336 / 786
^ a: DPS has been a catch-all party since its formation, however it has been described as left-wing until 1997, and after that it has been described as centre-left or centrist with some right-wing, populist and ethnic nationalist factions.
The Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (Montenegrin: Demokratska partija socijalista Crne Gore / Демократска партија социјалиста Црне Горе, DPS) is an opposition catch-all and a populist political party in 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 until 2020, when it entered the opposition in the aftermath of the 2020 parliamentary elections. This marked the first time since 1945 that the party (including its predecessor incarnation) had not been in power. The current President Milo Đukanović is the member of the party, including the former Prime Minister Duško Marković. The DPS is internationally affiliated with the Socialist International and Progressive Alliance, and is an associate affiliate of the Party of European Socialists.
The party evolved from the League of Communists of Montenegro as a reformist force after Yugoslavia's dissolution. In the 1990s, party was based on democratic socialism, social democracy and Serbian–Montenegrin unionism. In the 2000s, the party switched policy towards a common state with Serbia and would become the main proponent of the independence of Montenegro in 2006. Today's party is characterized by populist big tent politics with a slight centre-left lean, alongside elements of nationalism, a pro-European stance towards European integration, and some Third Way economics. Many considered the party and its three decades rule an kleptocratic and authoritarian regime.
After its ninth congress in November 2019, the ruling DPS dominantly increased its ethnic nationalist and even conservative discourse, by officially and institutionally supporting the rights of the canonically unrecognized Montenegrin Orthodox Church, announcing its "re-establishment". According to the ODIHR and Freedom House reports that the party established a hybrid regime, as well an electoral authoritarian system. After the fall of the its populist regime from the position of power after 30 years, due to results of the 2020 parliamentary election, the party claimed that the new big tent ruling coalition represents "threat for Montenegrin statehood and its independence". The period before the 2020 election was marked by the high polarization of the electorate. Several corruption scandals of the ruling party triggered 2019 anti-government protests, while a controversial religion law sparked another wave of protests. Election observers OSCE stated: "Abuse of state resources gave the ruling party an unfair advantage" and of inciting ethnic hatred, and said that although the elections were competitive, the governing party also benefited from a lack of independent media. In the 2020 election aftermath, President Đukanović, the Democratic Party of Socialists, together with its coallition partners, as well some newly founded nationalist parties, started pushing the narrative of "Montenegro being left to Serbia by the United States and the EU", although they are declaratively pro-western, which some media presented as a new turn in the foreign policy of the outgoing DPS regime.
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.
Split between Bulatović and Đukanović
On July 11, 1997, the party's national committee ("Glavni odbor", abbreviated as "GO") held a closed doors session after which the committee selected Milica Pejanović-Đurišić to replace Bulatović as the party president. The party split had enormous implications, making a political confrontation between Đukanović and Bulatović inevitable. This manifested in the 1997 Montenegrin presidential election held in October, which Đukanović won by a thin margin.
Bulatović went on to form the Socialist People's Party of Montenegro (SNP) out of his defeated DPS faction, whose platform held a unionist position on the question of Yugoslavia and its short-lived successor state, Serbia and Montenegro. Meanwhile, Đukanović became a fierce opponent of Milošević. As a result of Đukanović's relationship with the United States, Montenegro received significant amounts of economic aid during this period, and negotiated limitations on NATO bombings of its territory in 1999, whereas the rest of Yugoslavia was subject to significantly heavier attacks. 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. During the existence of the union state, the party congress added the goal of a "democratic, internationally-recognized, independent Montenegro" to its official platform. The party then spearheaded the pro-independence campaign ahead of Montenegro's referendum in 2006. With 55.5% of voters opting for independence, 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 2016. 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 Prime Minister.
Presidents of Democratic Party of Socialists
|#||President||Age||Term start||Term end||Time in office|
|1||Momir Bulatović||1956–2019||22 June 1991||19 October 1997||6 years, 119 days|
|2||Milica Pejanović||b. 1959||19 October 1997||31 October 1998||1 year, 12 days|
|3||Milo Đukanović||b. 1962||31 October 1998||Incumbent||22 years, 88 days|
|Year||Popular vote||% of popular vote||Overall seats won||Seat change||Alliance||Government||Leader|
83 / 125
46 / 75
45 / 75
32 / 75
30 / 75
31 / 75
32 / 81
35 / 81
32 / 81
35 / 81
29 / 81
|Year||Candidate||1st round popular votes||% of popular votes||2nd round popular votes||% of popular votes|
FRY and Serbia and Montenegro
|Year||Popular vote||% of popular vote||Seats||Montenegrin seats||±||Government||Ballot carrier|
23 / 136
23 / 30
17 / 138
17 / 30
20 / 138
20 / 30
0 / 138
0 / 30
Major positions held by Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro members:
Heads of Federal offices of Yugoslavia and
- The end of an era, possibly (accessed 24 December 2010)
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- "Welfare states in transition" (PDF). Friedrich Ebert Foundation. 2011.
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- Izjava Varheljija podriva objektivnost politike EU, "Vaša izjava je kompromitujuća", RTCG, 29 November 2020
- Razvod sa partnerima sa zapada: Potezi koje povlači DPS vode ih u zagrljaj DF-u i krajnjoj desnici, 10 December 2020
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- Samir Kajošević (January 22, 2015). "DPS na kongresu mijenja program". Vijesti (in Serbian).