Democratic Party of Socialists
Demokratska partija socijalista
Демократска партија социјалиста
PresidentMilo Đukanović[1]
Vice PresidentsIvan Vuković
Sanja Damjanović
General SecretaryPredrag Bošković
Political DirectorDuško Marković
FoundersMomir Bulatović
Milo Đukanović
Svetozar Marović
Founded22 June 1991
Preceded byLeague of Communists
IdeologyMontenegrin nationalism[2][3]
Serbian-Montenegrin unionism
Democratic socialism
Social democracy
Political positionBig tent[10][11][a]
European affiliationParty of European Socialists (associate member)
International affiliationProgressive Alliance[12]
Socialist International[13]
Colours  Purple   Gold
29 / 81
Local Parliaments
309 / 786
Party flag
Website Edit this at Wikidata

^ a: DPS has been a catch-all party since its formation, however it has been described as left-wing[14] until 1997, and after that as centre-left[15][16][17] or centrist[18] with some right-wing, populist and ethnic nationalist[19][20] factions.

The Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (Montenegrin: Demokratska partija socijalista Crne Gore / Демократска партија социјалиста Црне Горе, DPS) is a major opposition catch-all and a populist[2] political party in Montenegro. The party was formed on 22 June 1991 as the successor of the League of Communists of Montenegro, which had governed Montenegro within the Yugoslav federation since World War II.

Since its formation and the introduction of a multi-party system, the DPS has played a dominant role in Montenegrin politics, forming the backbone of every coalition government until 2020, when it entered the opposition in the aftermath of the 2020 parliamentary elections. This marked the first time since 1945 that the party (including its predecessor incarnation) had not been in power. The current President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović is the member of the party, including the former Prime Minister Duško Marković.

The DPS is internationally affiliated with the Socialist International and Progressive Alliance, and is an associate of the Party of European Socialists.


The party evolved from the League of Communists of Montenegro as a reformist force after Yugoslavia's dissolution. In the 1990s, party was based on democratic socialism, social democracy and Serbian–Montenegrin unionism. In the 2000s, the party switched policy towards a common state with Serbia and would become the main proponent of the independence of Montenegro in 2006. Today's party is characterized by populist[2] big tent politics with a slight centre-left[15] lean, alongside elements of nationalism,[21] a pro-European stance towards European integration, and some Third Way economics. Many considered the party and its three decades rule a kleptocratic and authoritarian regime.[22][23][24][25][26]

After its ninth congress in November 2019, the ruling DPS dominantly increased its ethnic nationalist and even conservative discourse, by officially and institutionally supporting the rights of the canonically unrecognized Montenegrin Orthodox Church, announcing its "re-establishment".[27] According to the ODIHR and Freedom House reports that the party established a hybrid regime, as well an electoral authoritarian system. After the fall of the its populist regime from the position of power after 30 years, due to results of the 2020 parliamentary election, the party claimed that the new big tent ruling coalition represents "threat for Montenegrin statehood and its independence". The period before the 2020 election was marked by the high polarization of the electorate. Several corruption scandals of the ruling party triggered 2019 anti-government protests, while a controversial religion law sparked another wave of protests. Election observers OSCE stated: "Abuse of state resources gave the ruling party an unfair advantage" and of inciting ethnic hatred, and said that although the elections were competitive, the governing party also benefited from a lack of independent media.[28] In the 2020 election aftermath, President Đukanović, the Democratic Party of Socialists, together with its coallition partners, as well some newly founded nationalist parties, started pushing the narrative of "Montenegro being left to Serbia by the United States and the EU", although they are declaratively pro-western, which some media presented as a new turn in the foreign policy of the outgoing DPS regime.[29][30][20]


Slobodan Milošević Momir Bulatović


Further information: Anti-bureaucratic revolution

The history of the DPS begins with the political turmoil in Yugoslavia in the late 1980s. After Slobodan Milošević seized power in the League of Communists of Serbia, he went on to organize rallies that eventually ousted the leaderships of the federal Communist League local branches in Vojvodina, Kosovo and Montenegro. This series of events, collectively known as the Anti-bureaucratic revolution, swept into power new party leadership in Montenegro, one allied with Milošević, personified in Momir Bulatović, Milo Đukanović and Svetozar Marović.

Official party logo stylized in cyrillic script, used during the 1990s.
Official party logo stylized in cyrillic script, used during the 1990s.

The League of Communists of Montenegro, under this new leadership, won by a landslide in the first relatively free multi-party election in Socialist Montenegro, held in December 1990, taking 83 out of 125 seats in the Montenegrin parliament. The party had a significant head start in the elections, as it had the entire established party structure at its disposal, while newly formed competition had to start from scratch. The party changed its name to the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (Demokratska partija Crne Gore) on 22 June 1991.

With Bulatović as the president, the DPS closely aligned Montenegro with Serbia and the policies of Slobodan Milošević. The party was firmly in power during the turbulent early 1990s, which saw the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the beginning of the Yugoslav Wars.

During these years, the party endorsed a union and close relations with Serbia (its sole partner in the FRY from 1992). The party maintained the support of the electorate in this difficult period for Montenegro, winning both the 1992 and 1996 elections.

Split between Bulatović and Đukanović

Milo Đukanović Svetozar Marović

On July 11, 1997, the party's national committee ("Glavni odbor", abbreviated as "GO") held a closed doors session after which the committee selected Milica Pejanović-Đurišić to replace Bulatović as the party president.[31] The party split had enormous implications, making a political confrontation between Đukanović and Bulatović inevitable. This manifested in the 1997 Montenegrin presidential election held in October, which Đukanović won by a thin margin. Bulatović went on to form the Socialist People's Party of Montenegro (SNP) out of his defeated DPS faction, whose platform held a unionist position on the question of Yugoslavia and its short-lived successor state, Serbia and Montenegro. Meanwhile, Đukanović became a fierce opponent of Slobodan Milošević politics.

As a result of Đukanović's relationship with the United States, Montenegro received significant amounts of economic aid during this period, and negotiated limitations on NATO bombings of its territory in 1999, whereas the rest of Yugoslavia was subject to significantly heavier attacks. The DPS government gradually severed ties with Serbia by taking control over customs and the economy, introducing first the German mark, and subsequently the Euro as legal tender, and generally reducing the influence of the federal government in Montenegro.

Montenegrin independence

Following the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević on 5 October 2000, the DPS showed signs of greater support for Montenegrin independence. The campaign for the 2002 parliamentary elections was devoted to the question of Montenegro's independence. However EU mediated negotiations between the DPS and the newly elected democratic government in Serbia in 2003 imposed a three-year waiting period before an independence referendum could be held. The transitional period saw the transformation of the FR Yugoslavia to a loose union called Serbia and Montenegro. During the existence of the union state, the party congress added the goal of a "democratic, internationally-recognized, independent Montenegro" to its official platform.[32] The party then spearheaded the pro-independence campaign ahead of Montenegro's referendum in 2006. With 55.5% of voters opting for independence, Montenegro became an independent state on 3 June 2006.

Post-referendum era

Former logo of the party, used from the late 1990s until 2021.
Former logo of the party, used from the late 1990s until 2021.

In 2006 at the first parliamentary elections in independent Montenegro, as well as the subsequent elections in 2009 and 2012, the DPS confirmed its position as the strongest political party in Montenegro. The party has formed the basis of all parliamentary majorities and has been the backbone of all Government cabinets since independence, usually with its now traditional ally the Social Democratic Party and ethnic minority parties. Former party vice-president, Filip Vujanović served as head of state for three terms, from 2002 until 2018, having won presidential elections in 2003, 2008 and in 2013, being succeeded by party leader Đukanović in 2018.

Milo Đukanović remains the party president and its undisputed authority, serving either as Prime Minister or President of Montenegro from 1991 to 2006, 2008 to 2010 and 2012 to 2016. In 2006, the party leadership chose Željko Šturanović, former Minister of Justice, to succeed Đukanović as Prime Minister, until his resignation on 31 January 2008 for health reasons, whereupon Đukanović replaced him, only to resign again in December 2010 while retaining his role as DPS party leader.[1] After winning the 2012 parliamentary elections, Đukanović once again assumed the position of Prime Minister. In 2015, the centre-left Social Democratic Party left the coalition with the DPS, accusing ruling party of corruption and abuse of power. At the 2020 parliamentary election, DPS decided to run independently, with single candidate spot on the electoral list given to the nationalist Liberal Party of Montenegro.[33] Election eventually resulted in a victory for the opposition parties and the fall from power of the ruling DPS, after governing the country for 30 years, since the introduction of the multi-party system in 1990.[34]

Presidents of Democratic Party of Socialists

# President Age Term start Term end Time in office
1 Momir Bulatović
1956–2019 22 June 1991 19 October 1997 6 years, 119 days
2 Milica Pejanović
b. 1959 19 October 1997 31 October 1998 1 year, 12 days
3 Milo Đukanović
b. 1962 31 October 1998 Incumbent 22 years, 345 days

Electoral performance

Parliamentary elections

Parliament of Montenegro
Year Popular vote % of popular vote Overall seats won Seat change Alliance Government Leader
1990 171,316 56.18%
83 / 125
Majority Momir Bulatović
1992 126,083 42.66%
46 / 75
Decrease 37 Majority Momir Bulatović
1996 150,237 49.92%
45 / 75
Decrease 1 Majority[a] Momir Bulatović
Minority[a] Milica Pejanović
1998 170,080 48.87%
32 / 75
Decrease 13 ECG Coalition Milica Pejanović
2001 153,946 42.04%
30 / 75
Decrease 2 ECG Minority Milo Đukanović
2002 167,166 48.0%
31 / 75
Increase 1 ECG Coalition Milo Đukanović
2006 164,737 48.62%
32 / 81
Increase 1 ECG Coalition Milo Đukanović
2009 168,290 51.94%
35 / 81
Increase 3 ECG Coalition Milo Đukanović
2012 165,380 45.60%
32 / 81
Decrease 3 ECG Coalition[b] Milo Đukanović
2016 158,490 41.41%
35 / 81
Increase 3 Coalition Milo Đukanović
2020 143,548 35.06%
29 / 81
Decrease 6 Opposition Milo Đukanović

a Majority government (1996-97), Minority government (1997-98) b Coalition government (2012-15), Minority government (2015-16)

Presidential elections

President of Montenegro
Year Candidate 1st round popular votes % of popular votes 2nd round popular votes % of popular votes
1990 Momir Bulatović 1st 170,092 42.22% 1st 203,616 76.1
1992 Momir Bulatović 1st 123,183 42.8% 1st 158,722 63.4
1997 Milo Đukanović 2nd 145,348 46.71% 1st 174,745 50.79
2003 Filip Vujanović 1st 139,574 64.2% N/A
2008 Filip Vujanović 1st 171,118 51.89% N/A
2013 Filip Vujanović 1st 161,940 51.21% N/A
2018 Milo Đukanović 1st 180,274 53.90% N/A

FRY and Serbia and Montenegro

Chamber of Citizens of the Federal Assembly of Yugoslavia
Year Popular vote % of popular vote Seats Montenegrin seats ± Government Ballot carrier
1992 160,040 68.6%
23 / 136
23 / 30
Increase 23 Coalition Miloš Radulović
1993 130,431 47.3%
17 / 138
17 / 30
Decrease 6 Coalition Radoje Kontić
1996 146,221 50.8%
20 / 138
20 / 30
Increase 3 Coalition Radoje Kontić
2000 Election boycotted
0 / 138
0 / 30
Decrease 20 Election boycotted

Positions held

Major positions held by Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro members:


  1. ^ a b The end of an era, possibly (24 December 2010)
  2. ^ a b c d Dzankic, Jelena (2017). "State-sponsored Populism and the Rise of Populist Governance - The Case of Montenegro" (PDF). Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
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