He led Montenegro for 30 years: Who is Milo Dukanović?

He served as Prime Minister of Montenegro between 1991 and 1998. He was elected President of Montenegro in 1998. He continued this duty until 2002. Djukanovic was Europe's youngest prime minister when he came to power at the age of 29 in 1991, the beginning of Yugoslavia's collapse.

By David Foster Published on 10 Mayıs 2024 : 21:48.
He led Montenegro for 30 years: Who is Milo Dukanović?

Montenegrin leader Milo Djukanovic, who served as president or prime minister for more than thirty years, suffered a major defeat in the second round of presidential elections held in April 2023. In his place, 36-year-old centrist politician and former economy minister Jakov Milatovic was elected president.

Djukanovic was Europe's youngest prime minister when he came to power at the age of 29 in 1991, the beginning of the collapse of Yugoslavia. He was in power when Montenegro gained independence from Serbia in 2006.

Who is Milo Đukanović?

After Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Đukanović resigned from the presidency on 25 November 2002, he was appointed prime minister on 26 November 2002. Milo Đukanović was born in Niksic in 1962. The son of a judge, Milo Đukanović quickly climbed the Socialist Party ladder in his youth. He studied economics and joined the Central Committee of Yugoslav Socialists in 1979.

In 1991, with the support of Slobodan Milosevic, who later became one of his greatest enemies, he became Europe's youngest prime minister at the age of 29.

Milo Đukanović (born 15 February 1962) is a Montenegrin politician who served as the President of Montenegro from 2018 to 2023, previously serving in the role from 1998 to 2002. He also served as the Prime Minister of Montenegro (1991–1998, 2003–2006, 2008–2010 and 2012–2016) and was the long-term president of the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro, originally the Montenegrin branch of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, which governed Montenegro alone or in a coalition from the introduction of multi-party politics in the early 1990s until its defeat in the 2020 parliamentary election. He is the longest-ruling contemporary politician in Europe, having held key positions in the country for over 33 years. 

It was debated by many observers whether Milo Đukanović, who was appointed to this position without any political experience other than youth and party organizations, could fulfill his duty properly. But the young leader showed that he could understand and manage the affairs of the Republic. Milo Đukanović, who served as prime minister for three years, noticed the growing discontent in the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) against Slobodan Milosevic and came to the conclusion that a partnership with the Serbian President would be a political murder in the long term.

In a 1997 interview in which he angered Milosevic, he described him as having an archaic political philosophy and surrounded by deceivers. This was a statement that caused division within the DPS. The party was split between Milo Đukanović and pro-Milosevic former President Momir Bulatovic.

In July 1997, the two leaders faced each other in the presidential elections. Using the resources and opportunities of the DPS, Milo Đukanović was elected president by a narrow margin. Bulatovic was elected Prime Minister of the Federal Government and founded the Socialist People's Party (SNP).

This party continued to pursue pro-Milosevic policies in Montenegro. During his presidency, Milo Đukanović took the affairs of the Republic step by step from the Yugoslav federal structures through political and economic struggles.