First 100 Days: Between Expectations and (Un)kept Promises 

The first 100 days of the 44th Government and the ruling coalition in Montenegro have been marked by successes in appointing judicial officials, reaching agreements on conducting the census, giving good momentum to reviving the European integration process, and initiating work on electoral reform. However, the quality of work in certain areas varies significantly. The Government has been unable to adopt an annual work program, it cannot boast a high level of transparency, and the ongoing struggle for dominance in the security sector continues to hinder the development of sustainable and effective policies in this field. 

Approaching the first “milestone” of the Government, we are publishing the document “First 100 Days: Between Expectations and (Un)kept Promises” in which we provide an overview of the Government’s achievements in areas that are part of the CDT’s mission. 

The Government and ruling coalition behind it, and even part of the opposition, in a formal sense, have fulfilled what this society has not been able to do for years – to complete appointing judicial officials, which certainly represents a success. However, even though some of the selected candidates do have satisfactory references, it remains to be seen whether the appointments will lead to the establishment of independent institutions. 

It seems that an important feature of the Government’s first 100 days in office is the expressed resolve to obtain the final benchmarks in Chapters 23 and 24 before the European elections to unblock the closing of chapters in other areas. 

Another noteworthy achievement is a very important political development and success of the government, ruling parties, and opposition – the agreement on conducting the census in 2023 – a key factor in defusing tensions that threatened to escalate into serious social tensions. 

It is praiseworthy that some important processes overlooked in the Prime Minister’s program, such as the beginning of electoral reform and work on the Law on Government, have been the subject of work by the Government or ruling coalition. However, only tangible results count. Due to negative past experiences, one should be very cautious in assessments. 

The impression is that the differences in the quality of certain sectors, as outlined in the Prime Minister’s program, have actually been translated into the quality of a work of individual ministers. We have ended up having a government of uneven quality across ministries, and these differences should concern its president. 

The first 100 days of the Government were an insufficiently long period to clarify doubts about the attainability of its goals, so the improvisation from the Prime Minister’s program has translated into the Government’s functioning. This is best evidenced by the fact that the Government has still not adopted an annual work program. 

Instead of the Government steering a sustainable policy in the security sector in the first 100 days, thereby improving the security of citizens and the fight against corruption and organized crime, it has continued along well-trodden paths of internal struggles for political dominance in this sector. 

Improvisation is obvious regarding the Government’s communication with the public. After closing government sessions to the public and announcing regular updates through press conferences afterward, it turned out that announced conferences were not held after half of the sessions. There are evident differences in communication with the public among various ministries, and the Prime Minister himself has given only one interview to domestic media just before the 100 days of the Government. The non-transparent borrowing of 109 million euros represents one example of this communication philosophy. 

There is also an unusual phenomenon worth noting – immediately upon the formation of the Government, one of the ruling coalition members opened discussions about its reconstruction. According to the coalition agreement reported by the media, reconstruction is indeed scheduled to happen by the end of 2024. However, it remains to be seen whether the fact that discussions about changes in its composition are initiated within the first 100 days of the Government represents a signal of dissatisfaction with the work of certain ministries or underlying negative political relations within the ruling coalition. 

It remains to be seen whether this Government will be remembered as a reformist government of discontinuity or as a government of continuity of populism and abuse of office. 

English version of the analysis is available here.

Milena Gvozdenovic, Deputy Executive Director of the CDT