20/10/2002 - D-7
The last general elections eighteen months ago in Montenegro were held early and witnessed the victory of the "Montenegro will win" coalition, initially created by the President Milo Djukanovic's Democratic Socialist Union (DPS) and the Social Democrat Party (SDP), over another group of parties "Together for Yugoslavia" comprising the People's Socialist Party (SNP), the Popular Party (NS) and the Serb Popular Party (SNS). This election threw new light on the state of the political forces at work in this Balkan Republic. The battle between the pro and anti independence parties, which constituted the true stake at play during these elections, turned in favour of those in favour of independence - represented by the coalition "Montenegro will win". Nevertheless those fighting for Yugoslavia, represented by the coalition "Together for Yugoslavia" achieved a very honourable score with 33 seats in the Montenegrin Parliament, i.e. three less than their adversaries. As far as the Liberal Alliance is concerned, which is a pro-independence group, it asserted itself as the unavoidable party in the creation of any government.
On July 2nd 2001, Filip Vujanovic, a member of the Democratic Socialist Union (DPS) was appointed Prime Minister. However the steps taken towards creating the future State of Serbia and Montenegro was not without effect on Montenegro's internal politics. Since the texts stipulate that the two associate entities cannot plan to separate before the end of a probationary period of three years, the fight for independence - that united the three parties in the government coalition - has lost its topicality. The tension between the three ruling parties has now come to light and the pro-independence Liberal Alliance, finally withdrew its support for Filip Vujanovic's government. The Liberals set a condition on their participation in the Government and that was that a referendum would be organised on Montenegro's independence - an election that the Democratic Socialist Union finally gave up calling. The Liberal Alliance's defection to the "Together for Yugoslavia" coalition brought the former opposition camp to power within the Montenegrin Parliament before new early elections could be called. Initially these had been planned for the 6th October and will now take place on 20th October.
The Democratic Socialist Union (DPS) and the Social Democrat Party (SDP), together with the Popular Alliance and the Civic Party will present a united front to voters under a new name "The Democratic List for a European Montenegro". They will confront their adversaries of the coalition "Together for Yugoslavia" which should bring together the Socialist People's Party (SNP), the Popular Party (NS) and the Serb Popular Party (SNS). The SNP would like attract a great number of people from various backgrounds into the coalition who will unite in working towards a project for a common, democratic State: The State of Serbia and Montenegro. Negotiations are underway with the radical Serbs (SRS) and the extreme leftwing (JUL). The composition of the candidate list is not without its problems. The Serb Popular Party (SNS), that was encouraged by the results gained in the local elections on 15th May are claiming a greater position than the Popular Party. The latter has not yet agreed to participating in the coalition. As far as the Liberal Alliance is concerned it will be making a lone stand since it has refused all the offers to take part in one or the other of the coalitions. Voters might however be confused by the Liberals' strategy especially after their brief alliance with the "Together for Yugoslavia" coalition created when their former partners refused to organise a referendum on independence.
Nothing is yet finalised for the general election on 20th October in Montenegro. The battle between the two main coalitions will be a close one and they will both try to win an absolute majority of the 75 seats within the Parliament.
Reminder of the general elections of 22 April 2001:
Source Le Courrier des pays de l'Est, Europe centrale et orientale 2000-2001, Vers l'intégration européenne et régionale, n° 1016, juin-juillet 2001, Paris, La Documentation Française, 2001