Montenegro’s DPS nominates Dusko Markovic for new PM

Montenegro’s DPS nominates Dusko Markovic for new PM
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia October 26, 2016

Montenegro’s Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) said on October 25 it has decided to nominate its deputy chairman Dusko Markovic as the country's new prime minister.

If Markovic is voted in by the parliament, he would replace Milo Djukanovic, the DPS’s longstanding leader who has served as either prime minister or president for most of the last 25 years. In a statement on October 25 the party did not elaborate on why it planned to nominate Markovic, but a new prime minister could be more acceptable to the DPS’ potential coalition partners as the party tries to put together a new government. 

According to preliminary results from Montenegro’s central election body, DIK, 41.42% of the votes were cast for the DPS, securing the party 36 seats in the parliament. The party is hoping to attract the parties representing ethnic minorities and at least one more opposition party to form a coalition.

Markovic’s candidacy is due to be approved by the DPS’s management on October 26. 58-year-old Markovic is a deputy prime minister in the current government. He was previously head of the agency for national security.

The DPS hopes to form a new coalition quickly and name a new government by mid-November. However, a group of opposition parties will have roughly the same number of MPs in the new parliament so it is still questionable who will gain a majority to form a government. Both sides – the DPS and the opposition – are trying to attract the ethnic parties to their side.

Traditionally, the ethnic parties have backed the DPS, which faced an extremely close race in the 2016 election after losing its long-term coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), earlier this year. While DPS won the largest share of the vote, the opposition parties could form a majority post-election and have indicated they intend to do so.

The ethnic parties met on October 24 and decided to draft a common platform before choosing which side to back in the new parliament.

While not commenting on his decision to stand aside, Djukanovic hinted on October 25 that Russia was behind what Podgorica is calling an attempted coup on the eve of the October 16 general election, even though there are growing indications that the incident was masterminded by Djukanovic supporters within the security service. 

According to a DPS statement, Djukanovic referred to the “involvement of foreign interests in the election process in Montenegro” at a meeting with the head of the OSCE election observation mission Romana Jakiča and political analyst Misije Zainu Ismailovu on October 25.

“Prime Minister Djukanovic expressed his belief that this … is evidence of an attack on the system of European values,” the party statement says. 

Even before the election Djukanovic claimed in an interview with Reuters that Russia had been interfering by financing the opposition as part of a campaign to stop Montenegro from joining Nato. "Russia has engaged a serious financial potential, which is I assume, made possible through its oligarchs and funneled through secret channels through Serbia and Republika Srpska," Djukanovic told the newswire on October 13.

In his latest statement, Djukanovic appeared to have been referring to the arrest of 20 Serb paramilitaries in Montenegro on October 15. They were suspected of planning to disrupt the elections by attacking state institutions, the police and representatives of state authorities, including top state officials. Local media reported that they were planning to arrest Djukanovic.

Among those arrested was the former Serbia police commander Bratislav Dikic, also known as “The Little Legija", who has been under investigation on suspicion of leading a mafia organisation in Serbia along with his brother Dragan. Dikic was dismissed as a Serbian gendarmerie commander in 2013 after one of his men was arrested for murder.

However, suspicions that the “coup attempt” was in fact a ploy by the DPS to boost its support immediately before the election quickly surfaced. According to the Warsaw-based Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), it was possible that the arrested Serbs had planned to cause social unrest in connection with the elections, but they “most likely had been observation for some time by the Montenegrin security services, as the police provided personal information on the group’s members immediately after their detention.”

Speculation that the coup attempt was part of the DPS’s election campaign “is proved by the fact that the operation, which was controlled by Djukanovic supporters among the police and special services, was not coordinated in advance with the head of the interior ministry (who is not a member of the DPS),” the OSW said. 

The plot thickened on October 24 when Aleksandar Vucic, the prime minister of neighbouring Serbia, claimed that the Serbian police had found proof of plans for a coup attempt - but with no connection to the group previously detained in Montenegro. 

Meanwhile, in its preliminary report on the elections, the OSCE/ODIHR did not refer to the alleged coup, saying the election had been “were held in a competitive environment and fundamental freedoms were generally respected", while noting the “lack of distinct policy alternatives” offered and questions over campaign financing.

 

News

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or 12 months full access inc. Magazine and Weekly Newspaper for just $119/year.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

Thank you for purchasing a bne IntelliNews subscription. We look forward to serving you as one of our paid subscribers. An email confirmation will be sent to the email address you have provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. The confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss