Montenegro - Politics
The state of democracy in Montenegro in 2017 is the same as five years earlier when the negotiation process started, Jovana Marovic from Politikon Network said 22 December 2017, stating that reform processes did not affect the improvement of democratic standards. And this is manifested through strong political influence and non-democratic practices in employment, social welfare, state irresponsibility in cases of law violations and a strong populist language.
“The main conclusion is that the reform processes in Montenegro do not have a positive impact on the state of democracy. All relevant reports show that in Montenegro democracy is stagnating, or even a downward trend is present. The main problem for the process of democratization are high-politicized institutions and a strong political influence on institutions, which stems from the long-standing rule of the same party. Because of the irreversibility of power, we have almost a sign of equality between the state and the party in Montenegro,” Marovic said.
In the divisive late 1980s, the political position of Montenegro remained closer to that of Serbia than did that of any other republic. This was because of a close ethnic connection between the Serbs and the Montenegrin majority of the population, and because Montenegrins were the second Slavic minority "persecuted" in Kosovo--giving them an anti-Albanian nationalist cause similar to that of the Serbs. Montenegro's relatively weak economy made it dependent on the continued strength of the federation. Like Serbia, Montenegro was independent through most of the nineteenth century, a factor that influenced the Montenegrin view of nationalism in the twentieth century.
Montenegro was a strong supporter of Serbian constitutional amendments limiting provincial autonomy in 1989, and party speakers consistently criticized Slovenia's independent stance and its position on Kosovo. Internally, some progressive movement occurred in Montenegrin politics at the end of the 1980s. A traditionally conservative government was ousted in 1988, following mass protests of economic and political conditions by workers and students, who received strong support from the Montenegran Youth Organization.
Six months later the entire Central Committee of the League of Communists of Montenegro was forced to resign, and a new Central Committee was named following a second wave of demonstrations against government inaction. The average age of the new Central Committee was forty, and the party filled many positions with former protest leaders. This removed the remaining members of the Tito generation from power in Montenegro. Nenad Bucin, elected by referendum as Montenegrin representative to the State Presidency in 1989, advocated government participation by noncommunists. Alternative groups were nominally legalized in 1989, but did not immediately receive status or public access equal to that of the Montenegrin communists.
After the change of the ruling power in January 1989, Radoje Kontic was elected Prime Minister of Montenegro. At the first multiparty elections in Montenegro held in December 1990, the Union of Communists of Montenegro won (which very soon changed its name to the Democratic Party of Socialists), and Milo Šukanovic was elected Prime Minister on 15 February 1991. He served three terms as Prime Minister successively, until 19 October 1997 when he won at direct elections for the President of the Republic of Montenegro. In February 1998, Filip Vujanovic was elected Prime Minister. After the parliamentary elections in October 2002, Milo Šukanovic was elected Prime Minister.
After the restoration of the Montenegrin independence at the referendum held on 21 May 2006, the first parliamentary elections were held on September 10, 2006. Both domestic and international observers assessed the elections as being generally in line with international standards. Zeljko Sturanovic of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) was appointed as Prime Minister. The newly elected Montenegrin parliament began work on the country's first post-independence constitution, which was adopted on October 19, 2007. The constitution, among other things, changed the country's official name to "Montenegro." European and Euro-Atlantic integration has been one of the driving forces behind the reform process that led to the signing of a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union (EU) on October 15, 2007.
Following the resignation of Prime Minister Sturanovic due to health reasons in February 2008, President Vujanovic nominated (and parliament approved) the leader of the ruling DPS, former Montenegrin President and Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, as head of the government. Presidential elections were held on April 6, 2008, and incumbent President Vujanovic was elected for a second five-year term with 52% of the vote. Domestic and international observers assessed this election as being generally in line with international standards. On March 29, 2009, Montenegro held its second parliamentary elections, which according to international observers met almost all international standards. On June 10, 2009, the new parliament re-elected Prime Minister Djukanovic to a sixth term. Prime Minister Djukanovic's new government includes several new ministries and ministers.
The Government of Montenegro continued to promote reforms that will bring the country closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions. Despite considerable progress since independence and success in maintaining inter-ethnic harmony, some ethnic tensions remain. The country must also cope with rule of law issues and uneven regional economic development.
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