Coalition for a European Montenegro

Coalition for a European Montenegro

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Coalition for European Montenegro (Montenegrin: Коалиција за Европску Црну Гору, Koalicija za Evropsku Crnu Goru) is the ruling political alliance in Montenegro headed by Milo Đukanović's Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS).

Consisting of three additional parties (SDP, HGI, and BS), "Coalition for European Montenegro" is the latest installment of the DPS-led political alliances that have ruled Montenegro since 1998. This current ruling alliance, much like its earlier predecessors did, derives its strength and is driven by the prestige and personal authority of Milo Đukanović.

Following the internal turmoil within the DPS during late 1996 and early 1997 when the party's most prominent members Milo Đukanović and Momir Bulatović bitterly fought behind the scenes for the control of the party, Đukanović emerged as the clear winner of the year-long power struggle. Under his leadership, DPS began entering pre-election alliances with smaller parties under the coalition banner that had a different name ahead of each parliamantary elections.

The dynamic within the coalition's various installments is always such that his party DPS is naturally entering it from an overwhelming position of strength while the other small party(ies) merely round out the ballot. Đukanović-led DPS party always had, and continues to have, more than enough media control, infrastructure strength, and subsequently voter support to do well at each parliamentary elections if it ever decided to enter them alone again, however they continue to form these pre-election coalitions, which many[who?] see as Đukanović's small attempt to dress up his party's now decades-long rule in the republic as having elements of pluralism, and also as his attempt to deflect any accusations of autocracy that get thrown at him from time to time.[citation needed]

The first version of the coalition was formed ahead of the 1998 parliamentary elections in Montenegro under the name So that we live better (Да живимо боље, Da živimo bolje). Before the 2001 elections the coalition was rebranded as Victory is Montenegro's (Побједа је Црнe Горe, Pobjeda je Crne Gore). Then, before the 2002 elections the coalition was known as (Democratic) List for European Montenegro (Листа за европску Црну Гору, Demokratska lista za evropsku Crnu Goru), and finally before the 2006 elections it became the Coalition for European Montenegro.

The one party that's been DPS' and Đukanović's most trusted and loyal ally is SDP CG, which has been a part of every single version of the coalition.



Creation, 1998 elections, "So that we live better"

In 1998 DPS forged a wide alliance in an attempt to compete with the newly created pro-Milošević Socialist People's Party of Montenegro (SNP) led at the time by former DPS leader Momir Bulatović.

Đukanović-led DPS called for an alliance between anti-Milošević parties, stating that Milošević's political pursuits were leading FR Yugoslavia into ruin. It made a coalition with the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro (SDP) that supported outright independence and the People's Party of Montenegro (NS) that wanted Montenegro to remain in a state with Serbia. DPS's own position at the time was that Montenegro and Serbia should be in a single unified state, but they opposed Milošević's rule.

The 1998 parliamentary election on May 31 essentially turned into another showdown between Đukanović and Bulatović over a single issue - Slobodan Milošević. Đukanović's coalition won, seizing 42 of 78 total parliamentary seats. Those 42 seats were then divided up three ways according to the coalition agreement: DPS received 32 seats while its coalition partners NS and SDP got 5 each.

For DPS it meant less actual seats belonging to the party than after the previous election when they got 45 of 71 total seats alone by themselves. However, they were now ruling through a coalition, which benefited the party's image in other ways as it created a perception of openness and pluralism.

As far as SDP was concerned getting 5 seats was a remarkable success - the party entered parliament for the first time in its history and could now influence the republic's official policy, neither of which they could dream of had they entered the election alone.

From NS perspective, getting 5 seats was not a big reason for celebration since the party had a distinct voting base at the time, meaning they would've surely gotten more had they entered alone, but they were now in a ruling coalition, in position to influence official policy and were happy to be there as long as DPS supported the idea of a unified state with Serbia.

Though never stable and cohesive, during its first year, the government formed by the "So that we live better" coalition was able to internally agree on basic matters and reach the minimum consensus. Big political test came in March 1999 when NATO military alliance started bombing FR Yugoslavia. Despite Montenegro being spared from the heaviest bombing, SDP and even fringe parts of DPS captalized on the bombing to aggressively push the idea of an independent Montenegrin state. This political discourse, however, never made it into any of the government's official policy. In fall 1999, initiated by Đukanović, Montenegro drafted a document called Platforma za redefiniciju odnosa Crne Gore i Srbije (A platform for redefinition of relations within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) and sent it to Belgrade. In an atmosphere when Đukanović-Milošević relations were strained to a maximum, the platform called for major changes in the division of governing responsibilities within FR Yugoslavia. Though still officially seeing itself within a state with Serbia, Đukanović-led Montenegro wanted many things changed and redefined.

However, after the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević in October 2000 (which many saw to be a positive sign in future relations between Montenegro and Serbia and a way to quickly repair the damaged relationship), contrary to expectations, DPS made a complete turnaround and now suddenly started pushing for complete independence thus completely abandoning the platform they wrote just a year earlier. Consequently the mainstream of the ruling coalition started to openly support the idea of an independent Montenegro and this became an official government policy, all of which caused huge international outrage and outright opposition from the European Union.

In the resulting crisis, the pro-unity People's Party left the government dissatisfied with DPS' turnaround. Subsequently, inner quarrels between DPS CG on one side and LSCG on the other came out over filling in NS CG's vacant occupation in the government. NS subsequently joined the newly-formed pro-Yugoslavian Together for Yugoslavia of Predrag Bulatović of the reformed SNP, which based itself on countering this alliance's newfound independentist ideology, emphasizing the necessity of keeping the state together with Serbia. Additionally, LSCG also withdrew from the government, on the allegations that DPS was not sincere in decisions to make Montenegro independent and that it was stalling it. The rump DPS-SDP of the once greater alliance lost control over the government. New elections were scheduled in 2001.

2001 elections, "Victory is Montenegro's"

It ran on the Montenegrin parliamentary election, 2001 as the "Victory is Montenegro's" (composed of the rump remains of the once large coalition; Democratic Party of Socialists and its sole partner, SDP). The coalition lost parliamentary majority, winning just 36 of 77 seats (30 for DPS and 6 for SDP). Contrary to everyone's expectation, the now opposing, once former ally, Liberal Alliance supported it to form a minority government under Filip Vujanović. But closer aligning of LSCG with the Together for Yugoslavia bloc distanced it from the minority coalition. The government signed the Belgrade Agreement in 2002, by which the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was transformed into the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and the Republic of Montenegro re-integrated into political structure with its great sister-republic. According to the agreement, the Deputy President of DPS Svetozar Marović became the country's first President. The frustrated pro-independence Liberal Alliance withdrew its support and crashed Vujanović's government. New elections were scheduled for 2002.

2002 elections, "List for European Montenegro"

As the "List for European Montenegro" (composed out of Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro, Social Democratic Party of Montenegro, Civic Party of Montenegro, Liberal Democratic Party and the People's Concord of Montenegro), it won the 2002 Montenegrin parliamentary election receiving 39 of 75 seats in the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro. DPS CG received 31 seat, SDP CG 7 and GP 1. NSCG received no seat as promised, but entered the later in 2003 elected Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro with one seat as compensation. LDP because of insufficient share in the total parliament, LDP was excluded completely.

2006 elections, "Coalition for European Montenegro"

In the 2006 election the alliance "For European Montenegro" won with 41 out of 81 seats. 32 seats were supposed to go DPS and 8 to SDP[citation needed]. The Coalition's seats were split 33 for DPS, 7 for SDP and 1 for HGI.

2009 elections, "Coalition European Montenegro"

Coalition for a European Montenegro won the absolute majority in 2009 election. The result translates to 47 out of the 81 seats in the Parliament. The turnout among the nearly 500,000 registered voters was around 67 per cent.[1] Milo Đukanović secured his sixth term as the Prime Minister with 50.8% of the vote. [2]

Current members

The alliance consists of two parties that appointed the Government in 2002, and were major promoters of Montenegrin independence during the referendum campaign, as well as a Croatian minority political party:

Former members

See also


External links

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