Montenegro Social Democrats Give Krivokapic Fresh Term


News
04 Jun 15

Montenegro Social Democrats Give Krivokapic Fresh Term

Montenegro’s junior ruling Social Democratic Party has re-elected Ranko Krivokapic as its leader – a result that may impact on the party’s long-term relations with the main governing Democratic Party of Socialists.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN

Podgorica

The Speaker of Parliament, Ranko Krivokapic, on Wednesday was re-elected leader of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in an outcome that some see as an opportunity for the party to distance itself from the dominant Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS.

Krivokapic won a third term against his party colleague, the Minister of Transport, Ivan Brajovic, at a congress preceded by a sharp campaigns by the two opposing factions.

The faction behind Brajovic was considered closer to the politics of the DPS, while Krivokapic has shifted aways from government policies in the past two years.

After the SDP congress, Krivokapic said his re-election was a victory for a party that has managed to defend its independence.

Nedeljko Rudovic, an analyst, said Krivokapic’s win could shake up the ruling coalition, which has governed the country for more than 15 years.

Although he does not expect Krivokapic’s re-election to lead the country to an early election, Rudovic predicted that after the next general elections, planned for 2016, the parties will no longer be together.

“The parties in the ruling coalition were quite distanced in recent years and the only thing that kept them together was the NATO [membership] bid,” Rudovic told BIRN.

In recent years, the SDP has often voted with opposition MPs on important laws and has criticized the government’s performance in reforming the judiciary and on media freedom.

The two parties agreed to redefine their relations in May following months of conflict over the privatisation of the state-owned electric power company, Elektroprivreda, the proposed lease of a luxury coastal resort to foreign investors and the fight against organised crime.

They signed an annex to their coalition agreement proclaiming Montenegro’s EU and NATO membership as their joint priority.

In May, DPS leader Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said that the coalition was only being held together by joint support for Montenegro’s bid to join NATO.

He accused the SDP of deceiving the public by remaining part of a government that it wants to “tear down”, calling their longstanding coalition a painful relationship.

Djukanovic’s party has been in power for 25 years, which makes Montenegro the only state in the Balkans that has been run by the same party without interruption ever since its first democratic elections in 1990.

The current government was elected on December 2012. It comprises Djukanovic’s DPS, the SDP and three ethnic minority parties.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)