41st Cabinet of Montenegro
|Date formed||28 November 2016|
|Date dissolved||2 December 2020|
|People and organisations|
|Head of government||Du?ko Markovi?|
|No. of ministers||20 (1 of them without portfolio)|
|Member parties||DPS, SD, BS, DUA, HGI|
|Status in legislature||Coalition government|
|Election(s)||16 October 2016|
|Predecessor||?ukanovi? VI Cabinet|
The Markovi? Cabinet, led by Du?ko Markovi?, is the 41st cabinet of the Montenegro. Cabinet was elected on 28 November 2016 by a majority vote in the Parliament of Montenegro. The coalition government was composed of the Democratic Party of Socialists, the Social Democrats, and ethnic minority parties. Cabinet lasted until December 2020, and represents the eleventh and the last cabinet during the DPS-led regime in Montenegro that has been in power since 1990 and the establishment of the multi-party system in country.
Elections for the composition of new parliament of Montenegro were held on October 16, 2016 and resulted in a new victory for the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) led by long-term PM Milo ?ukanovi?, which has been in power since introduction of multi-party system in 1990.
Although the DPS failed to win the majority on its own, they succeeded in remaining in power once again, forming a government with the newly formed Social Democrats (SD) and national minorities parties.
On 9 November 2016, Deputy PM Du?ko Markovi? was nominated as Prime Minister by the president of Montenegro Filip Vujanovi?, and on 28 November new government was elected by 41 out of 81 members of the parliament (with the entire opposition boycotting the assembly), with the support of DPS, SD and the Albanian, Croat and Bosniak minority parties.
|Investiture votes for Markovi? Cabinet|
|Ballot ->||28 November 2016|
|Required majority ->||41 out of 81|
|General Affairs||Du?ko Markovi?||DPS||28 November 2016|
|Deputy Prime Ministers|
|Justice||Zoran Pa?in||none||28 November 2016|
|Agriculture and Rural Development||Milutin Simovi?||DPS||28 November 2016|
|Regional Development||Rafet Husovi?||BS||4 December 2012|
|Interior||Mevludin Nuhod?i?||DPS||28 November 2016|
|Defence||Predrag Bo?kovi?||DPS||28 November 2016|
|Finance||Darko Radunovi?||DPS||28 November 2016|
|Foreign Affairs||Sr?an Darmanovi?||none||28 November 2016|
|Education||Damir ?ehovi?||SD||28 November 2016|
|Science||Sanja Damjanovi?||DPS||28 November 2016|
|Culture||Aleksandar Bogdanovi?||DPS||28 December 2017|
|Economy||Dragica Sekuli?||DPS||28 November 2016|
|Transport and Maritime Affairs||Osman Nurkovi?||BS||28 November 2016|
|Sustainable Development and Tourism||Pavle Radulovi?||DPS||28 November 2016|
|Health||Kenan Hrapovi?||SD||28 November 2016|
|Human and Minority Rights||Mehmet Zenka||DUA||28 November 2016|
|Labour and Social Welfare||Kemal Puri?i?||BS||28 November 2016|
|Public Administration||Suzana Pribilovi?||DPS||28 November 2016|
|Sports||Nikola Janovi?||DPS||28 November 2016|
|Without Portfolio||Marija Vu?inovi?||HGI||4 December 2012|
In its political rights and civil liberties worldwide report in May 2020, Freedom House marked Montenegro as a hybrid regime rather than a democracy because of declining standards in governance, justice, elections and media freedom. Freedom House stated that years of increasing state capture, abuse of power, authoritative and populist leadership had tipped country over the edge, and for the first time since 2003, Montenegro was no longer categorised as a democracy. The report emphasised the unequal electoral process, cases of political arrests, negative developments related to judicial independence, media freedoms, as well as a series of unresolved cases of corruption within the DPS-led government.
All 39 opposition MPs (out of 81 in total) started boycotting Parliament since the constitution of its current convocation in December 2016, due to claims of electoral fraud and that the elections were not held under fair conditions, at the 2016 parliamentary elections. They are demanding snap elections and reform of electoral laws.
In its June 2018 report, the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, called for election reforms in Montenegro, and for more integrity, impartiality, and professionalism in election administration. The period before the 2020 parliamentary election also 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 said that although the elections were competitive, the governing party also benefited from a lack of independent media.
A coup d'état in the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica was allegedly planned and prepared for 16 October 2016, the day of the parliamentary election, according to Montenegro's special prosecutor. In September 2017, the trial of those indicted in connection with the plot began in the Higher Court in Podgorica, the indictees including leaders of the Montenegrin opposition and two alleged Russian intelligence agents. Russian government denied any involvement. In 2019, the Higher Court found guilty of plotting to commit ?terrorist acts?, also of "undermine the constitutional order of Montenegro" and first instance sentenced 13 people, including Montenegrin opposition leaders. On 5 February 2021, the Court of Appeals of Montenegro annulled the first instance verdict on all counts of the indictment. "The Council annulled the first-instance verdict because significant violations of the provisions of the criminal procedure were committed in the procedure of its passing and in the verdict itself, due to which neither factual nor legal conclusions could be accepted in the first-instance verdict, as in the existence of criminal offenses guilty, as well as in relation to the existence of their guilt for the acts ", it is stated in the announcement of the appellate court. The "coup d'etat" case was returned to the Higher Court in Podgorica, for a retrial before a completely changed composition. Many saw the decisions of the appellate court as a confirmation of then ruling Democratic Party of Socialists's mounted political process against its political opposition, and proof that the first instance verdict was passed under the pressure of the then DPS-led regime in Montenegro.
In early May 2018 Olivera Laki?, an investigative journalist from the Montenegrin daily newspaper Vijesti, was shot and wounded in front of her house in Podgorica after she published a series of articles about allegedly corrupt businesses involving top state officials and their families. The identity of the shooter is still unknown.
In 2016, then Vice President of the ruling DPS Svetozar Marovi? was arrested in connection to a long-running corruption case concerning his hometown of Budva; the Montenegrin prosecutor's office labeled him as "head of Budva criminal group," which he later admitted in court. He eventually fled to neighboring Serbia for alleged psychiatric treatment in Belgrade, where he currently resides. Montenegro has repeatedly requested his extradition from Serbia.
In August 2020, Marovi? spoke to the media for the first time, after fleeing to Belgrade, accusing the leadership of the party he founded of corruption, nepotism, partocracy and authoritarianism, also accusing DPS leader Milo ?ukanovi? of rigging the corruption process against him and members of his family.
In mid-January 2019, a video clip from 2016 surfaced in which fotlrmer DPS-led regime former ally, Montenegrin-British businessman Du?ko Kne?evi?, chairman of the Montenegro-based Atlas Group, appeared to hand the Mayor of Podgorica and high-ranked ruling party member, Slavoljub Stijepovi?, an envelope containing what Kne?evi? later said was $97,000, to fund a Democratic Party of Socialists parliamentary election campaign. After fleeing to London, Kne?evi? told the media he had been providing such unreported money to the DPS for the past 25 years.
Protests against corruption within Montenegrin DPS-lead government have started in February 2019 soon after the revelation of footage and documents that appear to implicate top officials in obtaining suspicious funds for the ruling party.
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". As of late December 2019, the newly proclaimed religion law which de jure transfers the ownership of church buildings and estates from the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro to the Montenegrin state, sparked a series of massive protests followed with road blockages, which continued to 2020.
During the mass protests from December 2020 to August 2021, many Serb Orthodox clerics were attacked by the police, also being apprehended, and a number of opposition journalists, activists and protesting citizens were also arrested and injured by the police forces. PM Markovi? and ruling Democratic Party of Socialists officials, including president Milo ?ukanovi? and members of the cabinet blamed the Belgrade-based media and Government of Serbia for the current political crisis, destabilization and unrest across the country, claiming that the ongoing Church protests actually are not against the disputed law but "against Montenegrin statehood and independence." Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro categorically rejects that allegations. President Milo ?ukanovi? called the protesting citizens "a lunatic movement".
In the 2020 election aftermath, President ?ukanovi? and the outgoing Markovi?'s DPS-led cabinet 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, NGOs and political analysts saw as a new turn in the foreign policy of the outgoing DPS regime.
On 1 September, Milo ?ukanovi? conceded defeat, accusing Serbian President Aleksandar Vu?i? and Belgrade-based media of interfering in the internal politics of Montenegro, as well of alleged trying to revive a "Greater Serbia policy". He stated that it is possible that his party lost its support due to dissatisfaction with some policy, but also due to manipulations from Belgrade, as well from the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, due to the disputed Law on Religious Communities.
On November 28, 2020, Serbian ambassador to Montenegro Vladimir Bo?ovi? was declared persona non grata in Montenegro by then outgoing Markovi? cabinet, for alleged meddling in interior affairs of Montenegro and for making multiple statements that were "unacceptable for a diplomat" according to Montenegrin ministry of foreign affairs. On November 28, 2020, in response to Montenegro declaring Serbian ambassador Bo?ovi? person non grata, Serbian ministry of foreign affairs declared Montenegrin ambassador to Serbia Tarzan Milo?evi? persona non grata and was given 72 hours to leave Serbia. Next day Serbian prime minister, Ana Brnabi? revoked the decision by Serbian ministry of foreign affairs and Tarzan Milo?evi? wasn't expelled and wasn't persona non grata anymore, at the suggestion of the European Commission and European Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi. Outgoing DPS-led cabinet rejected the suggestion, calling European Commissioner Várhelyi "Belgrade-affiliated diplomat" and an "ignorant".
In late 2020 it was uncovered that a number of individuals close to the ruling DPS party, such as controversial religious leader Mira? Dedei?, were given free tickets or significant discount for the flights of the Montenegro Airlines.
In December 2020, the new government cabinet announced the shutdown and liquidation of the company in the forthcoming weeks stating mismanagement and accumulating losses for several years. Shortly after, it has been announced that the airline will suspend all flights from 26 December 2020 marking the end of its operations.