Montenegro: The Dilemmas of a Small Republic

Issue Date January 2003
Volume 14
Issue 1
Page Numbers 145-153
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Montenegro belongs to the most difficult and complicated cases of transition in the post-communist world. The reason lies primarily in the prominence of the problem of statehood and the crisis of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), eventually resolved through war, although war itself didn’t occur in the Montenegrin territory. In Montenegro there was not one but actually two transitions. The first transition was exercised in a way that post-communist regime was based on a large authoritarian party run in an oligarchic way. The first transition began with the collapse of the old party elite, though again not to the benefit of party reformists but of the populist new leadership instead. The second transition in Montenegro started in 1997 by the split within the ruling party in which the party reformists prevailed and subsequently made a (anti-Milošević) pact with the opposition. From that moment on pro-reform, but at the same time pro-independence government succeeded in winning all elections that happened in the country, including the last and decisive one on 20 October 2002. The most sensitive issue in Montenegrin politics—statehood—has been temporarily resolved (at least for the next three years) by the Belgrade Agreement between Serbia and Montenegro that was strongly sponsored by EU. It seems that Montenegro entered the period of electoral democracy and no authoritarian turnovers should be expected in the future.

About the Author

Srdjan Darmanović is professor of comparative politics at the University of Montenegro and a member of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission. From 2010 until early in October 2016, he served as Montenegro’s ambassador to the United States. On 28 November 2016, he was named Montenegro’s foreign minister–designate.

View all work by Srdjan Darmanović