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. 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 in the same time pro-independence government succeeded to win all elections that happened in the country, included last and decisive one at October 20, 2002. The most sensitive issue in Montenegrin politics—statehood issue has been temporarily resolved (at least for the next three years) by 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.