Montenegro – New government, old Prime Minister

Following the parliamentary election in October, there is finally a new government in Montenegro.

The election returned the incumbent Coalition for a European Montenegro, which is dominated by the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS). However, the alliance was just short of an overall majority. It has since done a deal with the Albanian representatives, the Bosniak List and the Croatian Citizens’ Initiative. The official news agency reports that the government was approved by 44 votes to 26 with one abstention.

The real change comes with the prime minister. The new (or rather old) PM is Milo Đukanović. He was the PM from 1991-1998. He was then President from 1998-2002, before returning as PM as serving from 2003-2006 and then again from 2008-2010. He stepped down in December of that year under some pressure from the EU and other international organisations. He was replaced by Igor Lukšić. However, Đukanović is clearly the most powerful person in the system and he decided that he wanted to return. Therefore, Lukšić obediently stepped down, even though the DPS won the election and Đukanović has taken over again.

There are some fears that the formal return of Đukanović may harm Montenegro’s EU membership ambitions, but in any case further reforms are needed, particularly in the area of the rule of law, before the EU will agree to membership. Therefore, if Đukanović proceeds with these reforms, then membership should still be assured.

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