|2nd and 4th President of Montenegro|
|Assumed office |
20 May 2018
|Prime Minister||Duško Marković|
|Preceded by||Filip Vujanović|
15 January 1998 – 25 November 2002
|Prime Minister||Filip Vujanović|
|Preceded by||Momir Bulatović|
|Succeeded by||Filip Vujanović|
|Prime Minister of Montenegro|
4 December 2012 – 28 November 2016
|Preceded by||Igor Lukšić|
|Succeeded by||Duško Marković|
29 February 2008 – 29 December 2010
|Preceded by||Željko Šturanović|
|Succeeded by||Igor Lukšić|
8 January 2003 – 10 November 2006
|Preceded by||Dragan Đurović (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Željko Šturanović|
15 February 1991 – 5 February 1998
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Filip Vujanović|
|Minister of Defence|
5 June 2006 – 10 November 2006
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Boro Vučinić|
|President of the DPS|
|Assumed office |
31 October 1998
|Preceded by||Milica Pejanović-Đurišić|
|Born||15 February 1962|
Nikšić, Montenegro, Yugoslavia
|Political party||League of Communists of Yugoslavia (1979–1991)|
Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (1991–present)
|Coalition for a European Montenegro (1998–2016)|
|Height||6 ft 6 in (198 cm)|
|Relatives||Aco Đukanović (brother)|
|Alma mater||University of Montenegro Faculty of Economics|
Milo Đukanović (Cyrillic: Мило Ђукановић, pronounced [mǐːlo dʑǔkanoʋitɕ] (listen); born 15 February 1962) is a Montenegrin politician who has been the President of Montenegro since 20 May 2018. He served as Prime Minister of Montenegro in three governments from 1991 to 1998, as the President of Montenegro from 1998 to 2002, and as Prime Minister again from 2003 to 2006, from 2008 to 2010, and from 2012 to 2016. Đukanović is also the long-term president of the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro, originally the Montenegrin branch of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, which has governed Montenegro since the introduction of multi-party politics.
When Đukanović first emerged on the political scene, he was a close ally of Slobodan Milošević during the anti-bureaucratic revolution. In 1996, however, he turned against Milošević, abandoning the traditional joint Serbian and Montenegrin vision in favour of an independent Montenegro. He oversaw the conversion of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and Montenegro's increasing separation from Serbia under his leadership, culminating in victory in the May 2006 independence referendum. Over the course of his premiership and presidency, he oversaw the privatization of public companies to foreign investors and firms.
After serving continuously in office from 1991 to 2006, Đukanović first retired from politics in late 2006, but he returned to the office of Prime Minister in February 2008. He stepped down again in December 2010 before returning for a second time in December 2012 to lead Montenegro for a seventh term. After winning the 2016 parliamentary elections, Đukanović announced that he would resign as Prime Minister again. Speculation that he may run for President in 2018 was confirmed in March of that year. He was elected President in April 2018 in a landslide.
Some observers have described his rule as authoritarian or autocratic, as well as kleptocracy. Đukanović is often described as having strong links to Montenegrin mafia. He was listed among the twenty richest world leaders according to the British newspaper The Independent in May 2010, which described the source of his estimated £10 million wealth as "mysterious".
Milo Đukanović was born in Nikšić on 15 February 1962, to Radovan and Stana Đukanović (née Maksimović). His given name is derived from that of a paternal relative who had fought alongside Đukanović's grandfather Blažo during World War I; the name was selected by Đukanović's paternal grandmother. Đukanović's paternal ancestors, members of the Ozrinići tribe who hailed from the village of Čevo, had settled in the Nikšić area following the Battle of Vučji Do in 1876. Prior to the birth of Đukanović's older sister Ana in 1960, Đukanović's father had worked as a judge in Bosnia and Herzegovina, before relocating to Nikšić with his family and taking up residence in the Đukanović family's ancestral village, Rastovac. Đukanović's mother was a nurse. His younger brother Aleksandar (Aco) was born in 1965. Đukanović completed his primary and secondary education in Nikšić, before relocating to Titograd to attend Veljko Vlahović University's Faculty of Economics. He graduated in 1986 with a diploma in tourism studies. Đukanović was an avid basketball player in his youth.
In 1979, while still in high school, Đukanović joined the Yugoslav Communist League (SKJ), the only political party allowed by law in the Yugoslavian one-party political system. His father Radovan was already an influential member within the party's Montenegrin branch, which initially opened many doors for him. By 1986, he was a presidency member of Socialist Youth Alliance's (SSO) Montenegrin branch as well as the presidency member of its federal-level parent organization.
As a member of the party's various youth bodies he quickly stood out from the pack, earning a nickname Britva ('Straight razor') for his direct and forceful rhetoric. Progressing steadily up the party ladder, by 1988 Đukanović became a member of the League's highest decision-making body, the Central Committee (CK SKJ). It turned out to be the committee's last sitting and he became its youngest member ever.
By mid-1989 following the anti-bureaucratic revolution, Đukanović became the Secretary at the Presidency of the Montenegrin branch of the Yugoslav Communist League, a post he held until the branch's eventual transformation into the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS CG).
Actively tagging along with somewhat more seasoned Communist League members like Momir Bulatović and Svetozar Marović, Đukanović was still only 26 years old when the trio effectively gained power through full institutional control in Montenegro on 10 January 1989. They forced out the old Montenegrin communist guard by riding the wave of the anti-bureaucratic revolution, an administrative putsch within the Communist League orchestrated by Slobodan Milošević and the state security apparatus. Effectively, Đukanović, Bulatović, and Marović became Milošević's extended hands in Montenegro, controlling the political and security apparatus he was in the finishing stages of molding to his personal preferences.
Within days in January 1989, the trio ousted Miljan Radović, the chairman of the Montenegrin Communist League and Božina Ivanović, the Presidents of the Presidency of Montenegro, replacing them with politically obedient confidants Veselin Vukotić and Branko Kostić, respectively. President of the Executive Council Vuko Vukadinović initially survived the coup d'etat, but within months he was on his way out as well, to be replaced with Radoje Kontić. Đukanović and the others galvanized public opinion within the republic by organizing workers and bussing them to the capital Titograd to protest in front of the Assembly.
The 1990 Montenegrin parliamentary election in early December resulted in a remarkable victory for the League of Communists of Montenegro, who won 83 parliament seats out of the total 125. On 15 February 1991, Đukanović was, somewhat surprisingly, appointed Prime Minister of the first democratically elected government by President Momir Bulatović and with the blessing of Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.
Later in 1991, the Montenegrin Communist League finished its transformation into the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (DPS). Đukanović's office was secured after the 1992 parliamentary election. Held in December, they were called early due to the disintegration of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the formation of a new state entity, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In the elections, the DPS won an absolute majority, 46 seats out of the total 85. Between 1991 and 1997, Đukanović was loyal to Milošević.
Đukanović's government sent troops to fight seceding Croatia as he opposed the fallout of Yugoslavia caused by Slovenian independence and rebellions in other areas. Đukanović's cabinet actively participated in the Siege of Dubrovnik from the autumn of 1991 until spring 1992, which resulted in the city suffering heavy structural damage. The surrounding area of Konavli also suffered due to looting raids. During this period Đukanović was one of the most vociferous hawks in the Montenegrin government. Some of his notable statements from this period include a proclamation about "starting to hate chess because of the šahovnica (the chequerboard Croatian coat-of-arms)" and an aggressive declaration delivered in a public speech during the assault on Dubrovnik that "We have already thinned the AVNOJ borders of Montenegro and Herzegovina, that is eastern Bosnia and Montenegro. Enough have the Serbian people been a slave to brotherhood and unity, AVNOJist, Tito's Yugoslavia, and even Aleksandar Karađorđević's dreams of fixing Yugoslavia". Đukanović campaigned for the modification of the internal borders of the ex-Yugoslav republics saying: "it's time to once and for all establish the firmest border possible with Croatia, but it will be a border a lot more just and realistic than the existing one that was drawn-up by Bolshevik map makers".
In the spring of 1992, the Bosnian War started and while Montenegro was not directly involved, it still played a role. The Montenegro-wide roundup of Bosnian Muslim refugees and their subsequent handover to the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) happened while Đukanović was Prime Minister. For more than three weeks, Montenegrin police and Yugoslav special forces hunted down Bosnian Muslim refugees. Two-hundred were handed over to the Trebinje Corps in neighboring Herzegovina and 83 were subsequently executed.
On the domestic political front in 1992, Đukanović became involved in a fierce political clash with the pro-Croatian Montenegrin artist and activist, Jevrem Brković, which resulted in Brković's exile to Croatia, which lasted until 1998. On this occasion, Đukanović stated: "Every smart Montenegrin and every honest man in this land mentions the name of the traitor Jevrem Brković with hatred, who in pure vanity betrayed his people and knowingly spreads anti-Yugoslav speeches across Zagreb, while the Ustašas, again like in 1941, bleed the defenseless Serbian civilians."
Milo Đukanović on August 7, 1992.
The siege of Dubrovnik had enormous consequences for Yugoslavia's international standing. The European Economic Community invited Carrington and representatives from Yugoslavia to negotiate the Carrington plan on October 19, 1991, in The Hague. Milošević rejected the proposal of a "loose federation of independent states", and preferred a centralized Yugoslavia with institutional powers in Belgrade. However, in open defiance to Milošević, Đukanović supported Momir Bulatović's agreement on Carrington's terms. Yet in a sharp turn, the Narodna Stranka (People's Party) called for an emergency session in the Montenegrin parliament, during which Bulatović was accused of treason. Đukanović defended Bulatović in the parliamentary hearing. As Bulatović's deputy, Đukanović was invited to negotiations with Milošević and Borisav Jović, after which a clause was added to the Carrington proposal such that a republic could decide to stay in Yugoslavia through a referendum. This resulted in the referendum on March 1, 1992, where voters in Montenegro decided to remain in Yugoslavia.
On August 6, 1992, a local warlord named Milika "Čeko" Dačević occupied police headquarters in Pljevlja after a vehicle used by his personal envoy was seized. In what quickly developed into an emergency, over half of the city's police surrendered to Dačević. As a result, Đukanović and Bulatović participated in negotiations with Dobrica Ćosić and Života Panić. One of Dačević's accomplices from Čajniče, Duško Kornjača, threatened to kill all of the Muslims in Pljevlja unless Dačević was released. During the meeting, Đukanović asked whether Montenegro could rely on the Army of Yugoslavia to protect the Muslims in Pljevlja. Đukanović and Bulatović ultimately negotiated the disarmament of Dačević's men. However, Pljevlja's Muslims were subject to multiple incidents up to 1995, particularly in the village of Bukovica where 6 Muslim inhabitants were killed from 1992.
In November 1995, Đukanović and Svetozar Marović visited the Pentagon at the invitation of the United States, where they allegedly offered the Port of Bar as a logistics venue for international peacekeeping in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The meeting at the Pentagon was criticized by Yugoslavia's ruling parties at the time. The vice-chairman of the Serbian Radical Party, Milinko Gazdić, claimed that his party had proof that Đukanović and Marović were appealing to the United States for Montenegro's eventual secession from Yugoslavia. This did not deter Đukanović from visiting Bill Clinton during his re-election campaign for the 1996 presidential elections in the United States. Some of Đukanović's critics claimed that he discussed donating to Clinton's campaign that year.
Đukanović's communication with Milošević began to deteriorate after a disagreement on how to address the hyperinflation of the Yugoslav dinar in 1993. He then expressed opposition to the Dayton Agreement, which he criticized as being anti-Serb. In what was his most open criticism to date, he publicly blasted Milošević in an interview with the Belgrade weekly Vreme, calling him a "a man of obsolete political ideas".
As a war of words erupted with Milošević and his wife Mira, Đukanović wrote a letter of support to the students demonstrating in the 1996-97 protests in Serbia. In a stark contrast, Momir Bulatović refused to attack Milošević. This set the stage for the split between Đukanović and Bulatović, whose partnership had stood remarkably strong up to that point. In spite of the initial disconnect in the DPS leadership, the party overwhelmingly won the 1996 parliamentary election.
On March 10, 1997, after a trip to Washington, D.C. for Montenegro's Trade Mission by the initiative of Ratko Knežević, The Washington Times published a letter allegedly written by Đukanović to congressmen Nick Rahall and Bruce Vento. Congressmen Rahall and Vento had traveled to Belgrade during the student protests, even appearing in a Zajedno opposition meeting. A week after The Washington Times publication, Politika ran the letter on its front page on March 18, adding the title: "Milo Đukanovic continues endeavoring to break up FR Yugoslavia and Serbia." Even though the letter did not actually mention Montenegrin secession, Đukanović denied writing the letter and said it was a forgery.
Another development which further distanced Đukanović from Milošević and Bulatović was his friendship with Vukašin Maraš, with whom he worked in the Automotive Association of Yugoslavia as a secondary job. On July 28, 1994, customs inspector Pavle Zelić informed the Federal Assembly of Yugoslavia that approximately 4-5 million DM was found in boxes in AMSJ's office, and that he was not given a chance to count the money. In 1997, DT Magazin published a story reporting that the money was a part of a laundering operation involving the importing of cigarettes, whisky, oil, and other scarce goods during the sanctions against Yugoslavia, although most of the report could not be proven with the exception of the fact that the customs had been terminated after an agreement with Montenegrin customs chief Radosav Sekulić, Maraš, Đukanović, and Ana Begović. The AMSJ affair was one of the early points in the breakup of Đukanović's affair with Bulatović.
In a more serious affair, in January 1996, Đukanović and Maraš met with MI6 agent Joseph "Joe" Busby in Hotel Yugoslavia in Belgrade, where the idea of Montenegro declaring independence from the state union with Serbia was first mentioned to a foreign representative.
On at least two occasions, in 1996 and in May 1997, Bulatović requested the resignation of Maraš. Instead, Đukanović kept Maraš as a security assistant to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Maraš initiated Operation Ljubović, an overnight raid of the Ljubović hotel in Podgorica five days before the 1997 election in which Đukanović ran, incriminating Bulatović's campaign of recruiting racketeers. Those arrested were released after the election and relieved of all charges by 2002.
Bulatović's actual departure from the DPS took place on July 11, 1997, when the DPS GO ("Glavni odbor") committee held a closed doors session, selecting Milica Pejanović-Đurišić to replace Bulatović as the party president. The party split had enormous implications, ultimately setting the stage for a confrontation between Đukanović and Bulatović inevitable. This manifested in the 1997 Montenegrin presidential election held in October, which Đukanović won by a thin margin. Clinton envoy Robert Gelbard testified about meeting Đukanović before and after the election in front of the U.S. Senate during the "Prospects for Democracy in Yugoslavia" hearings on July 29, 1999.
Shortly after his inauguration in 1998, Đukanović told Gelbard and some foreign ambassadors about his vision of an independent Montenegro in the Gorica villa. Đukanović said that Gelbard and the ambassadors disagreed with him at the time, as they preferred Đukanović to work with the opposition in Belgrade.
On March 24, 1999, NATO began bombing Yugoslavia. During the bombings, Jean-David Levitte claimed that Đukanović asked Bill Clinton for airstrikes to remove Milošević. Curious about Levitte's claim, Jacques Chirac called Đukanović to ask if the Clinton requests were true. Đukanović told Chirac that "every bomb that fell in Montenegro threatened to weaken my government." Chirac subsequently contacted Clinton and arranged limitations on airstrikes in Montenegro. Shortly after the bombings ceased, Đukanović oversaw the implementation of the Deutsche Mark as the new currency in Montenegro, replacing the Yugoslav Dinar.
In a speech in June 2016, Đukanović told an audience that "1999 was a year of critical importance for the choice of an independent Montenegrin way. That meaning the rejection of the self-destructive war with NATO, and secondly, the implementation of the Deutsche Mark a few months later."
In June 2000, he apologised to Croatia for the Montenegrin participation in the Siege of Dubrovnik, saying: "On my own behalf and on behalf of all the citizens of Montenegro I want to apologise to all citizens of Croatia, particularly in Konavli and Dubrovnik for all the pain and material damage inflicted by any member of the Montenegrin people."
After the overthrow of Milošević, Đukanović faced a dilemma as he no longer could use Milošević's international standing to argue for Montenegro's independence from Yugoslavia. In early 2002, Đukanović was subject to an investigation on international cigarette trafficking by the public prosecutor Guisseppe Scelsi of Bari. Simultaneously, he was involved in negotiations ahead of the Belgrade agreement, and Javier Solana tried persuading him to abstain from independence at least temporarily and that Montenegro should remain in Yugoslavia. After the meetings with Solana, Đukanović signed the Belgrade Agreement on March 14, 2002, in addition to the signatures of Filip Vujanović, Zoran Đinđić, Vojislav Koštunica, and Miroljub Labus. The agreement led to the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro. It mandated that after a period of three years, Montenegro could hold a referendum on the question of independence. In a bid to prolong his executive powers, Đukanović and Prime Minister Vujanović agreed a job-swap that same year. Đukanović did not run for president in the 2002 election and Vujanović replaced him as the DPS candidate. On 25 November 2002, Đukanović resigned as president, several months before the end of his term, in order to become Prime Minister again. Vujanović, who had resigned as prime minister at the start of the month to become Speaker of the Montenegrin Parliament, was sworn in as acting president. Đukanović took office as prime minister on 8 January 2003. Vujanović succeeded him as president on 22 May 2003.
The 2006 Montenegrin independence referendum resulted in Montenegro declaring independence from the state union with Serbia. After the declaration of independence, Montenegro's Parliament appointed Đukanović as the first Minister of Defense,. Đukanović also acted as the president of the National Council for Sustainable Growth, a member of the Council for European Integration, and the president of the Agency for Promotion of Foreign Investment's managing board.
On 3 October 2006, it was announced that Đukanović was stepping down as prime minister, despite the victory of his Coalition for a European Montenegro in the September 2006 parliamentary election, although he would remain leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists. On 4 October, he endorsed Željko Šturanović as his successor. The choice of Šturanović was considered a compromise between Đukanović and Svetozar Marović, as Đukanović's first candidate was Igor Lukšić, the Minister of Finance.
Đukanović formally ceased to be the Prime Minister on 10 November 2006, as the new Government was elected by Parliament of Montenegro. He cited his reasons for stepping down as "being tired of politics", and wishing to try himself out as a businessman. Đukanović served as a member of Parliament from October 2006 to February 2008. He announced that he might be willing to run in the April 2008 presidential election but eventually decided against it, allowing Vujanović to easily win a second term.
Đukanović headed the proclamation of the new Constitution of Montenegro on 22 October 2007. He received support from almost all DPS municipal boards and committees. Since 2006, Đukanović has opened five private businesses, the latest called Global Montenegro on 25 February 2008, and bought actions in his brother's bank, altogether amassing property worth millions of euros. His other four companies are: Universitas, Capital Invest, Primary Invest, and Select Investments.
On 20 February 2008, President Vujanović nominated Đukanović as prime minister after Šturanović resigned due to illness. He was accordingly elected as prime minister on 29 February 2008. His party won the 2009 parliamentary election.
From 2008, Đukanović's time in the office was marked with advancing EU and NATO integration processes, in which Montenegro mostly went ahead of its neighbors. In the meantime, on 9 October 2008, Montenegro recognized Kosovo's independence, becoming the fourth former Yugoslav republic to recognize Kosovo. In the 2009 parliamentary election, Đukanović's coalition again won a majority of seats.
Montenegro submitted its application for EU membership in December 2008. On 22 July 2009, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn handed over the Commission's Questionnaire to Đukanović in Podgorica and on 9 December 2009, Đukanović delivered to Rehn Montenegro's replies to the Commission's Questionnaire in Brussels. Later that year Montenegro achieved visa liberalisation with the EU. On 1 May 2010, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) entered into force. On 17 December 2010, Montenegro became an official EU candidate. As for Montenegro's NATO accession bid, the Allies decided to grant its request to join the Membership Action Plan (MAP) in December 2009.
After giving indications he would step down once the European Union granted official candidate status to Montenegro's membership application, which it did on 17 December 2010, Đukanović resigned as prime minister on 21 December 2010. His party's leadership proposed Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Igor Lukšić to lead the new government. Lukšić was confirmed as the new prime minister by the Parliament of Montenegro on 29 December 2010.
Just like when he stepped down last time, Đukanović again retained the DPS party chairmanship. Furthermore, he did not rule out possible future campaigns for public office, including a 2013 run for President of Montenegro or a run for another tenure as prime minister.
After the parliamentary election on 14 October 2012, Đukanović informed President Vujanović that he was capable of forming a government. His cabinet was approved by Parliament on 4 December 2012 and Đukanović returned to the office of Prime Minister on the same day. Together with Viktor Orbán of Hungary, Đukanović was a runner-up to Vladimir Putin for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project's 2014 "Person Of The Year In Organized Crime" award, recognizing "the person who does the most to enable and promote organized criminal activity." He later won the award in 2015.
In 2018, it was announced Đukanović would be his party's candidate for the 2018 presidential election. It was the second time Đukanović ran for president, the last time having been in the controversial 1997 election. He won the election by a large margin, as opposition parties by and large campaigned for independent campaign Mladen Bojanić.
The chart below shows a timeline of the offices held by Đukanović and the Montenegro status. The left bar shows president and all prime ministers terms of Đukanović, and the right bar shows the country status of Montenegro at that time.
In July 2003, the prosecutor's office in Naples linked Đukanović with an organised crime racket worth billions of euros. Đukanović called a press conference in Podgorica to deny the allegations as a "loathsome political trick", aimed at criminalising him and his country.
On 16 April 2003, the Judge for Preliminary Inquiries in Naples rejected the Antimafia Commission's request for a warrant for Đukanović's arrest, claiming him to be immune from arrest as Prime Minister of Montenegro. The Commission had been investigating him for some time, since at least May 2002 and had further requested his arrest as a precautionary measure.
The case was appealed to the Naples Court of Review, which ruled in Đukanović's favor. Besides claiming his immunity, he was described as not socially dangerous as well as ignorant that he was committing crimes. The case was then once again appealed, to the Court of Cassation (Corte di Cassazione). On 28 December 2004, this court ruled in favor of the Antimafia Commission. It argued that as Montenegro was not a sovereign state, Đukanović had no diplomatic immunity.
After the independence referendum, Đukanović's lawyer, Enrico Tuccillo, said that "The referendum has confirmed the premise of the Prime Minister, Milo Đukanović, about the sovereignty of Montenegro: therefore no doubt can now remain about the immunity, granted to heads of state and of government, which Đukanović enjoyed and enjoys."
On 27 March 2008, Đukanović made a low-profile visit to the prosecutor's office in Bari. He was questioned for six-and-a-half hours and answered about 80 prosecutor's questions regarding the accusations against him. On this occasion, Đukanović's lawyer said that he had written evidence proving that, at the time when his client submitted the request to give a statement to the Italian prosecution authorities in Bari, he did not occupy any public office whatsoever and, therefore, had no intention of hiding behind immunity in the first place. In April 2009, the prosecution authorities finally dropped the case against Đukanović.
In 2015, the investigative journalists' network OCCRP has named Milo Đukanović 'Person of the Year in Organized Crime'. The extent of Đukanović's corruption led to street demonstrations and calls for his removal.
Several thousand protesters demanding the resignation of Milo Đukanović and the formation of an interim government marched in the centre of the capital Podgorica on the evening of 25 October 2015. Montenegrin police fired tear gas at opposition supporters, while chasing away the demonstrators with armored vehicles.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Milo Đukanović.|
|New office|| Prime Minister of Montenegro
| President of Montenegro
| Prime Minister of Montenegro
|New office|| Minister of Defence
| Prime Minister of Montenegro
| Prime Minister of Montenegro
| President of Montenegro
|Party political offices|
| Leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists