A Difficult Road: Political Developments in Montenegro

Introduction

The tiny nation of Montenegro underwent a drastic shift after the country’s eleventh parliamentary elections on 30th August 2020. The elections saw the end of a 30-year era in which the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) had held power, and the defeat of its increasingly-authoritarian President Milo Djukanović. Djukanović has been widely suspected of corruption and was named ‘2015 Man of the Year in Organised Crime and Corruption’ by the OCCRP.[i] His defeat in parliament should be a sign of a new positive era in Montenegro, yet some view the opposition’s rise to power as a dangerous development for the country.

The opposition won 41 seats out of a total of 81 over the DPS and its allies, thus managing to secure a narrow victory. The opposition, however, is extremely fragmented. It is led by three coalitions: For the Future of Montenegro, Peace is Our Nation, and Black on White, which together include more than a dozen parties from across the political spectrum. For the Future of Montenegro is the largest bloc in the opposition, having won 27 seats. They are a right-wing, 11-party alliance dominated primarily by anti-NATO and pro-Russian parties, and have pushed for stronger ties with Serbia. The second-largest bloc with ten seats is Peace is Our Nation, consisting of four political groups and brands itself moderate and pro-European, although this is not necessarily how they are perceived. Finally, four seats are held by the civilian-led movement Black on White, which is a liberal coalition consisting of three parties and a group of independent intellectuals, openly committed to EU-accession and a pro-Western foreign policy.

Forming a stable government out of an opposition so internally divided will pose a vast amount of challenges, and seems unlikely to signal stability in Montenegro. Since the election there has been debate about whether the new government will continue Djukanović’s pro-EU and pro-Western foreign policy course, or whether it will re-ignite a historically close-knit relationship with Serbia. Already there have been reports of ethnically-motivated attacks against Muslims in the country, fuelling concern of what the future holds. The ideologically-varied opposition won only by a single seat, showing how polarised the Montenegrin public is about important, deep-rooted and identity-fuelled issues raised throughout the election campaigns. It will be interesting to see how these issues play out in the months since the election. This article will explore some of the issues that have arisen both in the lead up to and in the aftermath of the election, as well as consider potential future implications.

A brief history of Montenegro

Montenegro may be known for its beautiful beaches and historic towns, yet the country has a tumultuous history of which knowledge is essential to understanding the significance of the recent elections.

Montenegro was previously one of six republics within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). After the death of its President Josip Broz ‘Tito’ in 1980, Yugoslavia began a slow decline which led to rising debt, inflation, and eventually, ethno-nationalist conflict and war.[ii] The 1990s saw almost all of the republics within Yugoslavia declare independence. Slovenia and Croatia became the first to secede in 1991, while Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence in 1992. The disintegration of the federal state triggered a war in which over 200,000 people died and 1.2 million were internally displaced, many of whom were civilians.[iii]

After the SFRY was officially dissolved in 1992, Montenegro remained a part of the new, smaller Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) along with Serbia. This was replaced by a successor state called the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003, which was a loose federal structure which afforded the common state only limited powers.[iv]

However, over time this historically close relationship between Serbia and Montenegro waned. After a democratisation process was initiated in Montenegro, including the election of Milo Djukanović as President in 1997, the government began to distance itself from Belgrade, and began to represent itself as a pro-reform government,[v] although whether or not any real reforms were implemented is questionable. From 1998 onwards, the issue of independence from the FRY, and de facto Serbia, was at the forefront of politics in Montenegro.

In May 2006, a referendum saw 55.5% of citizens in Montenegro vote in favour of independence, and the former Yugoslav republic became a fully sovereign country, thus dismantling the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.[vi] Its independence was achieved without the violence and armed clashes that characterised the independence movements of the other Yugoslav republics.

Montenegro under Djukanović

Until the recent election, President Djukanović and his party, the Democratic Party of Socialists (DFS), have held power in Montenegro for the last thirty years. During this time, Djukanović has pursued both NATO membership and EU accession, the former having been particularly controversial.

Shortly after gaining independence, the Montenegrin government opened a NATO mission in Brussels, and gave permission for NATO troops to enter the sovereign territory.[vii] After years of complex negotiations and a period during which it held observer status, Montenegro became an official NATO member on the 5th of June 2017. NATO membership has caused tensions particularly in regards to relations with Serbia and Russia, which have historically been very close stemming from traditional Eastern heritage. Russian rhetoric regarding this matter has been described as hostile, threatening ‘retaliatory measures’[viii] against Montenegro, with the Kremlin also placing an embargo on Montenegrin wine (exports to Russia constitute a fifth of the country’s wine exports).[ix] The NATO bid also further soured an already dwindling relationship with Serbia, who were subject to NATO intervention during the 1999 Kosovo crisis and continue to regard the campaign as an unjustified ‘aggression’.[x]

Membership was also internally contested within Montenegro, primarily by the Serbian community, which constitutes 28% of the population.[xi] This issue reinforced existing cleavages within Montenegrin society, whose dynamics remain important to interpreting the 2020 elections. There is a significant political divide in Montenegro between those in favour of maintaining the historically close ties with Serbia, and those who favour Montenegrin sovereignty and independence. This cleavage coincides with the ethnic divide of those identifying as Serb and those as Montenegrin; these historically have been very close and at times interchangeable categories. Religion acts as an ethnic identity marker in the Balkans, and both Montenegrins and Serbs typically adhere to Orthodox Christianity in the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC), thus blurring the boundary between ethnic groups. In a sense, the problem is that of the ethnic identity of Montenegro as a nation – some Montenegrins consider themselves Serbs, while others consider themselves a separate, autonomous nation.[xii] Those identifying as Serbs have advocated for closer ties with the Serbian state, and have opposed the ruling DPS who favoured independence and a more modernist, pro-Western path which includes NATO membership and EU integration. These goals generally align with those who consider themselves Montenegrin, as opposed to Serbs living in Montenegro, although this has not always necessarily resulted in DPS support.

This issue was again raised in 2019, when the parliament passed a new Law on Religious Freedom requiring religious organisations to prove ownership of religious sites and land prior to 1918, otherwise this land would pass to state ownership.[xiii] Historically, the SOC has been a key instrument in maintaining the Serb identity of Montenegrins, and supporting the narrative of Montenegro as the extension-state of Serbia.[xiv] The passing of this law sparked protests across the country, particularly among Serbs, with protesters accusing the government of taking away holy assets ‘rightfully’ belonging to the SOC, and therefore threatening ‘the existence of the Serb nation in Montenegro’.[xv] Djukanović responded by stating in Pobjeda, Montenegro’s daily newspaper, “This debate is not about law or about property. This is a debate about the state.”,[xvi] thus framing the debate in terms of Montenegro’s independence and future as a sovereign state. Djukanović and the DPS, the Law’s initiators, characterised the protests as ‘anti-Montenegrin, Serb nationalist, anti-European, antidemocratic, medieval, and as a threat to the Montenegrin state’,[xvii] itself presented as ‘democratic, European, and ethnically neutral’.[xviii]

As such, some of the discontent and opposition to Djukanović and the DPS stems from this on-going cleavage within Montenegro – the division between those of a pro-Western and pro-Serbian/Russian orientation. However, the Djukanović regime is also widely considered to be extremely corrupt, and has been accused of electoral fraud and pre-poll deception amongst other things. Thus, even those aligned with the DPS’s stance on independence and foreign policy objectives have had cause for dissatisfaction with the government. An investigation prior to the August 2020 election by the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network found more than 50,000 ‘phantom voters’ eligible to vote, with some municipalities having more registered voters than the actual population, and more than half of registered voters listed without valid addresses.[xix] This is not the first time Djukanović and the DPS have been accused of manipulating democratic processes in Montenegro. The population of Montenegro has increased by just under 7,000 since 1991, yet the number of eligible voters has increased in this period by 138,000, with notable increases taking places between 1991-1992 and 2004-2006, coinciding with two significant referendums in which the government was accused of vote-rigging.[xx] It is an issue that has been raised frequently both domestically and internationally, and raises questions as to the proper functioning of democracy in the country.

Allegations of corruption have followed Djukanović since the 1990s. In 2005, Italian prosecutors accused Djukanović, as well as other Montenegrin officials, of illegal cigarette smuggling between Italy and Montenegro in the 1990s, while Djukanović was serving as Prime Minister.[xxi] The case was eventually dropped in 2009 when Djukanović declared diplomatic immunity. Since then his rule has been characterised by further corruption and accusations of nepotism, with his brother owning Montenegro’s First Bank, the country’s largest financial institution, and his nephew and sister dealing in the nation’s largest tourism projects and encouraging foreign investors to build up the country’s coast.[xxii] Watchdog groups in Montenegro have also consistently argued that Djukanović’s position in government is a conflict of interest when his private investments are taken into account.[xxiii]

Given the long history of democratic tampering and questionable business practices that have characterised the last 30 years of DPS rule, their defeat in August 2020 should signal a success for democracy and a new beginning of stability and progress for Montenegro. However, ideological and ethnic differences are already serving to complicate the transition of power.

The new government

The parties constituting the opposition, and thus the new government, come from a broad ideological spectrum, making it difficult to predict what the future holds for Montenegro.

The largest coalition forming the new government is ‘For the Future of Montenegro’, or ‘Za budućnost Crne Gore’ in Montenegrin. The leader of this alliance, Zdravko Krivokapić, has enjoyed the support of the SOC,[xxiv] with the now deceased Metropolitan bishop of Montenegro and the Littoral, and Primate of the SOC Amfilohije Radović publically waiting for Krivokapić outside the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica after the election, while crowds gathered in celebration of the victory.[xxv] The alliance is dominated by pro-Russian, pro-Serbian and Eurosceptic parties, most of whose leaders campaigned for maintaining the State Union with Serbia in 2006.[xxvi] The largest party in the alliance is the Democratic Front (DF), whose election campaign was also openly supported by pro-government media in Serbia.[xxvii] Its leaders Andrika Mandić and Milan Knežević were charged with participating in the alleged coup d’état in 2016, which was thought to have been backed by the Kremlin.[xxviii] Another party in the alliance, the right-wing True Montenegro party, boasts a founder and president who has openly led the anti-NATO campaign in Montenegro, including publicly burning NATO flags.[xxix] Given the heavy Russian and Serbian influence in this coalition, there is some concern this will lead to a backtracking of some of the progress Montenegro has made in recent years towards EU accession, and in its recognition of Kosovo’s independence in 2008, which was controversial given its relationship with Serbia. There is further concern that the ideological orientation of these parties will allow for Russian influence to be present in the political sphere of a NATO member.

Although perhaps less overtly pro-Serbian, the Peace is Our Nation coalition, the second largest bloc in the new government, has also come under scrutiny. The civic political coalition is led by Aleksa Bečić and his centrist Democratic Montenegro party, created after a split in the Montenegrin branch of former Serbian president Slobodan Milošević’s Socialist People’s Party (SPS).[xxx] While the party has since attempted to portray itself as civic and pro-European, its elected members of parliament have boycotted Montenegro’s National Assembly for the last four years, thus avoiding taking a position on Montenegro’s 2017 accession to NATO, and also allowing them to openly support the SOC during the anti-government protests.[xxxi] This raises some concerns about their foreign policy objectives, which remain somewhat ambiguous. Another party within the coalition is Demos, led by Miodrag Lekić, who was in fact the DF’s presidential candidate in 2012, and remains one of the most vocal critics against the former government’s support of EU sanctions against Russia.[xxxii]

In stark contrast, the smallest bloc forming the new government is the Black on White coalition. The liberal, pro-EU and pro-Western coalition won 5.5% of the vote, with a campaign that centred on anti-corruption policies,[xxxiii] and an original manifesto promise of a government not composed of politicians, but experts not chosen on the basis of political, national and religious affiliation.[xxxiv] Their leader is ethnic Albanian Dritan Abazović, who is also a founder of the United Reform Action (URA) movement, a green political party, included in the coalition. They were supported in the election by a broad spectrum of intellectuals who opposed the DPS government. Their campaign attracted some controversy after Tatjana Bečanović, a member of the party’s presidency, denied the genocide of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995, however the coalition is openly committed to EU accession and implementing a pro-Western foreign policy.[xxxv] There is some hope that this party will serve to restrain the ideological leanings of the other coalitions, although given their size and share of seats in parliament, this may be an ambitious hope. They may be too inexperienced without the insight or control over their coalition partners that would be necessary in such a task,[xxxvi] so time will have to tell what role they will play in the new government.

The coalitions are already encountering obstacles to forming the new government. There is a dispute emerging between future Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić’s plan for establishing an administration of experts, not political figures, to lead the government, and the Democratic Front’s insistence of installing its leaders Knezević and Mandić into these positions-[xxxvii] As things currently stand, the leaders of the three parties dominating each of the political blocs have agreed on a minimum set of principles which will form the foundation of their governing coalition, with the predominant message being ‘Out with the old, in with the new’.[xxxviii] These include promising not to retract Montenegro’s recognition of Kosovo or leave NATO, which were a concern given the pro-Serbia orientation of many of the parties, and to continue on a path of EU accession and integration.[xxxix] Despite these initial agreements, there is a concern that this might not be upheld, with some foreseeing a move toward a more pro-Serbia and pro-Russia, and thus anti-NATO and anti-Western politics through day-to-day governance.[xl] Prior to the election, Montenegro’s foreign policy was 100% aligned with the EU, while Serbia’s was aligned to the EU by 48%.[xli] Given that the ideological orientation of many of the parties forming the new government is towards Serbia, there is room for concern that the country will stray from the path of EU integration. Further fuelling concern, there have been incidents in the past in which Russian influence has been observed in Montenegro’s security sector. In 2017, the USA uncovered members of Montenegrin intelligence forces as Russian operatives, and while Djukanović agreed to remove them from these positions, he transferred them to senior positions in the state police.[xlii] Russian influence in the security services of a NATO member is undoubtedly a cause for concern for the alliance, and with this government potentially more favourable towards Russian influence than the last, this may continue to be a conversation for the current administration.

Significantly, the new government has also pledged to revoke the controversial 2019 Law on the Freedom of Religion,[xliii] which sparked protests from its inception that were only halted by the coronavirus pandemic. For the Future of Montenegro leader Krivokapić stated “I know our partners will accept that this law needs to be repealed and a more equitable one made which will find the right balance between the church and the state, the best model that would fit the traditional confessions in Montenegro”.[xliv] The law meant that the SOC had to prove ownership of religious sites prior to 1918, when Montenegro became a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, otherwise the property would belong to the state of Montenegro. The church vehemently opposed the law, as did the DF, with Bishop Amfilohije even stating that the law would cause the eruption of a civil war in Montenegro, while the government warned that the Church’s actions were undermining Montenegro’s statehood.[xlv] The Law also requires the SOC to register officially, as it is currently the only religious institution not registered in this way in Montenegro, a fact which allows it to operate in a legal vacuum while pursuing a political and economic agenda through the ownership of vast amounts of land.[xlvi] The repealing of this law could be interpreted as a shift towards a pro-Serbian politics, given that it was the Church that most opposed the law and is the primary way in which Serbia continues to exert influence over Montenegrin affairs. The URA has supported amending some of the disputed articles of the Law, but has said that it will not be supporting revoking the Act completely.[xlvii] It is unclear what the outcome will be in regards to this law, which is causing difficulties in the reaching of a second coalition agreement.

Importantly, if the current administration is to differentiate itself from the era of DPS rule, it will need to address longstanding issues in Montenegro’s political sphere. A 2020 report done on Montenegro by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR) found that while the August elections were managed with transparency and efficiency, the political environment was marked by high polarization over issues of church and national identity.[xlviii] The OSCE/ODIHR also recommends the new government prioritises professionalism, transparency of the election administration, mechanisms for authentication of credibility of voter signature, and gender balanced political representations amongst other reforms.[xlix] The defeat of the DPS does not render such reforms unnecessary. While some limited progress was made in the past year in the fight against corruption, it remains prevalent and is a serious concern in the country, needing strong political will to address this issue.[l] The new government is an opportunity for some of these outstanding OSCE/ODIHR recommendations to be addressed, and for genuine political dialogue to return to the Parliament.

The ethnically and religiously motivated attacks that have been reported in Montenegro since the election are a further cause for concern. Muslims are a minority population in Montenegro, constituting 19.11% of the population in 2011[li], the last time a census was taken. There have been reports of attacks and violence against Bosniaks (ethnic Bosnian Muslims) in Montenegro since the elections, with a reported rise in concern and anxiety among Bosniaks given the election of a largely right-wing, pro-Serbian government.[lii] Two Bosniaks were reportedly attacked at a café in the city of Pljevlja, while far-right supporters of the new government are reported to have provoked other residents in the city by singing Četnik, a Serbian nationalist guerrilla movement prominent during WW2 responsible for terrorising Croats and Muslims, ultranationalist songs.[liii] While these events are not explicitly related to the election, there are concerns that the election has emboldened those that may be motivated to engage in such activities. There have been further reports of vandals smashing the windows of the local office of the Islamic community in Pljevlja, with graffiti praising the 1995 genocide of over 8,000 Bosniaks in Srebrenica also appearing in the city and in neighbouring towns.[liv] Publically, Krivokapić told TV Vijesti that “No one should be in danger in Montenegro. Especially national minorities.”[lv] in response to the ethnic provocations. It must also be mentioned that the new government includes the URA, whose leader is an ethnic Albanian, Dritan Abazović, which in theory shows minorities are included in the new administration. Abazović has been criticised for forming a government with For the Future of Montenegro, due to their ideological leanings, but has said he will withhold his support if the coalition takes a strong pro-Serbian approach.[lvi] However, if the recent attacks are any indication, it seems that this is not sufficient to ensure that ethnic relations remain peaceful in Montenegro.

Conclusion

The new parliament needs to come to a cross-party and societal consensus on key issues on the country’s future. The August 2020 elections took place in a highly polarised environment, particularly over issues including the church and national identity,[lvii] which will need to be taken into account by the new parliament to ensure stability in Montenegro. Many of the issues that the new government will have to face are identity related, such as the dispute over the Law on Religious Freedom, as well as conversations about NATO and EU integration, and are thus likely to trigger emotional responses among coalition representatives as well as the Montenegrin public. Such issues could turn out to be destabilising if the government does not commit to engaging in an inclusive, democratic process and meaningful debate.

This is the first time in Montenegro’s history that all opposition parties have managed to unite and form a government in spite of their differences,[lviii] perhaps inspiring hope that they are committed to beginning a new, more positive chapter in Montenegrin politics. However, if the resurgence in ethno-nationalist discourse and violence in the country is any indication, and if we are to take lessons from the trajectory of other former Yugoslav republics, this is an evolving situation that should be carefully followed.


[i] Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, ‘Person of the Year 2015: Milo Djukanovic’, [website], <https://www.occrp.org/en/poy/2015/>, accessed 10 November 2020.

[ii] E. Žižmond, ‘The Collapse of the Yugoslav Economy’, Soviet Studies, vol. 44, no. 1, 1992, pp.101-112.

[iii] Peace and Security Section of the Department of Public Information, United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Background’, [website] <https://peacekeeping.un.org/en/mission/past/unmibh/background.html>, accessed 10 November 2020.

[iv] G. Noutcheva and M. Huysseune, Serbia and Montenegro’, Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, Vol. 1, pp.1-29, p.1.

[v] D. Durić, ‘The economic development of Montenegro’in Florian Bieber ‘Montenegro in Transition: Problems of Identity and Statehood’, 2003.

[vi] S. Darmanovic, ‘Montenegro: A Miracle in the Balkans?’, Journal of Democracy, vol. 18, no.2, 2007, pp.152-159, p.152.

[vii] A. G. Corpadean, Assessments and prospects for the integration of the Western Balkans. The case of Montenegro, Online Journal Modelling the New Europe, no.25, 2018, pp.87-105, p.92.

[viii] D. Brunnstrom, ‘Russia threatens retaliation as Montenegro becomes 29th NATO member’, [website], 6. June 2017, <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nato-montenegro-idUSKBN18W2WS>, accessed 10 November 2020.

[ix] A. G. Corpadean, ‘Assessments and prospects for the integration of the Western Balkans. The case of Montenegro, Online Journal Modelling the New Europe, no. 25, 2018, pp.87-105, p.93.

[x] European Western Balkans, Twenty years after the bombing – where do Serbia and NATO stand today?’, [website], <https://europeanwesternbalkans.com/2019/03/25/twenty-years-bombing-serbia-nato-stand-today/>, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xi] M. Bešić and D. Spasojević, Montenegro, NATO and the divided society’, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, no. 51, 2018, pp.139-150, p.140.

[xii] ibid, p.141.

[xiii] F. Heckert, Protests against the Law on Religious Freedom in Montenegro. A Challenge to the “Djukanović-System”?, Contemporary Southeastern Europe, vol. 7, no. 1, 2019, pp.11-24, p.11.

[xiv] K. Morrison and N. Čagorović, The Political Dynamics of Intra-Orthodox Conflict in Montenegro’ in G. Ognjenović and J. Jozalić ‘Politicization of Religion, the Power of State, Nation, and Faith’, 2014, pp.151-152.

[xv] F. Heckert, Protests against the Law on Religious Freedom in Montenegro. A Challenge to the “Djukanović-System”?, Contemporary Southeastern Europe, vol. 7, no. 1, 2019, pp.11-24, p.17.

[xvi] R. Pobjede, Djukanović: Ne radi se o Zakonu, niti o imovini, ovdje je rijeć o državi’, [website], 31 January 2020, <https://www.pobjeda.me/clanak/dukanovic-ne-radi-se-o-zakonu-niti-o-imovini-ovdje-je-rijec-o-drzavi>, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xvii] F. Heckert, Protests against the Law on Religious Freedom in Montenegro. A Challenge to the “Djukanović-System”?, Contemporary Southeastern Europe, vol. 7, no. 1, 2019, pp.11-24, p.21.

[xviii] ibid.

[xix] J. Martinović and S. Radulović, Army of ‘Phantom Voters’ Cases Doubt over Fairness of Montenegro Vote’, Balkan Insight, [website], 23 July 2020, <https://balkaninsight.com/2020/07/23/army-of-phantom-voters-casts-doubt-over-fairness-of-montenegro-vote/>, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xx] ibid.

[xxi] J. Dragičević, Balkan Spring’, Harvard International Review, vol. 41, no. 2, 2020, pp.49-53, p.53.

[xxii] ibid.

[xxiii] ibid.

[xxiv] I. Stradner and M. Jovanović, ‘Montenegro is the Latest Domino to Fall Toward Russia’, Foreign Policy, [website], 17 September 2020, <https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/09/17/montenegro-latest-domino-fall-russia-pro-west-europe-nato/>, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xxv] E. Vijesti, ‘Slavlje ispred Hrama, Amfilohije dočekao Krivokapića’, [website], 31 August 2020, <https://www.vijesti.me/vijesti/politika/465027/slavlje-ispred-hrama-amfilohije-docekao-krivokapica>, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xxvi] M. Ruge and S. Vukovic, ‘What Montenegro’s future government means for the Western Balkans’, European Council on Foreign Relations, [website], 15 September 2020, <https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_what_montenegros_future_government_means_for_the_western_balkans>, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xxvii] Ibid.

[xxviii] V. Utjesinović, ‘Montenegro election: Who are the triumphant opposition factions and what do they stand for?’, Euronews, [website], 2 September 2020, <https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/02/montenegro-election-who-are-the-triumphant-opposition-factions-and-what-do-they-stand-for->, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xxix] ibid.

[xxx] ibid.

[xxxi] M. Ruge and S. Vukovic, What Montenegro’s future government means for the Western Balkans’, European Council on Foreign Relations, [website], 15 September 2020, <https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_what_montenegros_future_government_means_for_the_western_balkans>, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xxxii] Ibid.

[xxxiii] D. Bajramspahić, ‘Montenegro election – What lies beneath the surface’, European Western Balkans, [website], 21 September 2020, <https://europeanwesternbalkans.com/2020/09/21/montenegro-election-what-lies-beneath-the-surface/>, accessed 14 November 2020.

[xxxiv] V. Utjesinović, ‘Montenegro election: Who are the triumphant opposition factions and what do they stand for?, Euronews, [website], 2 September 2020, <https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/02/montenegro-election-who-are-the-triumphant-opposition-factions-and-what-do-they-stand-for->, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xxxv] ibid.

[xxxvi] M. Ruge and S. Vukovic, What Montenegro’s future government means for the Western Balkans’, European Council on Foreign Relations, [website], 15 September 2020, <https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_what_montenegros_future_government_means_for_the_western_balkans>, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xxxvii] S. Kajosević, Political Wrangling Delays Formation of New Montenegro Govt’, Balkan Insight, [website], 26 October 2020, <https://balkaninsight.com/2020/10/26/political-wrangling-delays-formation-of-new-montenegro-govt/>, accessed 12 November 2020.

[xxxviii]  M. Ruge and S. Vukovic, ‘What Montenegro’s future government means for the Western Balkans, European Council on Foreign Relations, [website], 15 September 2020, <https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_what_montenegros_future_government_means_for_the_western_balkans>, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xxxix] ibid.

[xl] ibid.

[xli] ibid.

[xlii] D. Knežević, With power within reach, this is what Montenegro’s new coalition government needs to do first’, Euronews, [website], 10 September 2020, <https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/10/this-is-what-montenegro-s-new-coalition-government-needs-to-do-first-view>, accessed 12 November 2020.

[xliii]  M. Ruge and S. Vukovic, ‘What Montenegro’s future government means for the Western Balkans’, European Council on Foreign Relations, [website], 15 September 2020, <https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_what_montenegros_future_government_means_for_the_western_balkans>, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xliv] N. Dordević, Opposition claims victory in Montenegro election’, Emerging Europe, [website], 31 August 2020, <https://emerging-europe.com/news/opposition-claims-victory-in-montenegro-election/>, accessed 14 November 2020.

[xlv] S. Maksimović, ‘Montenegrin Law on Religious Freedom: Polarization that benefits the government(s)?’, European Western Balkans, [website], 13 January 2020, <https://europeanwesternbalkans.com/2020/01/13/montenegrin-law-on-religious-freedom-polarization-that-benefits-the-governments/>, accessed 14 November 2020.

[xlvi] M. Ruge and S. Vukovic, ‘What Montenegro’s future government means for the Western Balkans’, European Council on Foreign Relations, [website], 15 September 2020, <https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_what_montenegros_future_government_means_for_the_western_balkans>, accessed 11 November 2020.

[xlvii] M. Dragojlović, Montenegro: Election winners in dispite over Law on Religious Freedom’, Independent Balkan News Agency, [website], 2 October 2020, <https://balkaneu.com/montenegro-election-winners-in-dispute-over-law-on-religious-freedom/>, accessed 14 November 2020.

[xlviii] European Commission, ‘Key findings of the 2020 Report on Montenegro’, [website], <https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/COUNTRY_20_1796> accessed 14 November 2020-

[xlix] ibid.

[l] ibid.

[li] Montenegro Statistical Office, ‘Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in Montenegro 2011’, <http://www.monstat.org/userfiles/file/popis2011/saopstenje/saopstenje(1).pdf>, accessed 14 November 2020.

[lii] M. Gadzo, ‘Bosniaks in Montenegro live in ‘fear, anxiety’ following election’, Al Jazeera, [website], 5 September 2020, <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/09/05/bosniaks-in-montenegro-live-in-fear-anxiety-following-election/>, accessed 14 November 2020.

[liii] ibid.

[liv] M. Pantović, Serbia’s Muslims fear new ethnic violent after Montenegro post-election attacks’, Euronews, [website], 28 September 2020, <https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/21/serbia-s-muslims-fear-new-ethnic-violence-after-montenegro-post-election-attacks>, accessed 12 November 2020.

[lv] S. Kajosević, Montenegro Opposition Pledges to Maintain Country’s EU Path’, Balkan Insight, [website], 1 September 2020, <https://balkaninsight.com/2020/09/01/montenegro-opposition-pledges-to-maintain-countrys-eu-path/>, accessed 12 November 2020.

[lvi] E. Sinanovic, How the use of ethnonationalism backfired in Montenegro’, Al Jezeera, [website], 4 September 2020, <https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2020/9/4/how-the-use-of-ethnonationalism-backfired-in-montenegro/?gb=true>, accessed 14 November 2020.

[lvii] European Commission, ‘Key findings of the 2020 Report on Montenegro’, [website], <https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/COUNTRY_20_1796>, accessed 14 November 2020.

[lviii] D. Koseva, ‘Montenegro’s main opposition parties ink historic coalition deal’, Intellinews, [website], 9 September 2020, <https://intellinews.com/montenegro-s-main-opposition-parties-ink-historic-coalition-deal-191509/>, accessed 14 November 2020.

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Published by Asfar in London, UK - ISSN 2055-7957 (Online)