"The most important development in Montenegro is the recent change in government,” says Marko Ivkovic, Senior Lawyer at the Prelevic Law Firm in Podgorica, referring to the August 2020 victory of opposition parties and the fall from power of the DPS party, which had ruled the country since the introduction of the multi-party system in 1990.
Just in December the leaders of three opposition coalitions — For the Future of Montenegro, Peace is Our Nation, and In Black and White — agreed to form an expert government, which he says requires "a little change in our perspective.” According to him, “it’s a new situation, and all of us are trying to understand what’s going on, because they have restructured the ministries and so on.” Indeed, he points out that “some discrepancies between the President Milo Dukanovic — who is a member of DPS — and the new government. It’s the first time we’ve had a division like that in 30 years. That will be interesting to watch.”
At the moment, though, Ivkovic says, as the government finishes the transition process, things are fairly calm. "Everything is on stand-by,” he says, "because of the coronavirus on one side and the new government on the other. So there are no new things happening right now.”
“After 30 years, change is good for democracy,” Ivkovic says, but he warns that it’s too early to know how things will work out. “Let’s see. There are totally new people and a new government formed in the beginning of December. They are still restructuring the ministries and reorganizing the government. It’s too early to know the outcome for sure.”
The only other recent development of significance in Montenegro (other than the ongoing Covid-19 crisis), Ivkovic says, is the entrance into effect of the new Company Law in July of last year, which was enacted to harmonize local law with EU standards. According to Ivkovic, "It’s a little more complex than the previous law, with new institutions.” He points particularly to the new procuration rules (a form of power of attorney, authorizing natural persons to conclude legal transactions and take other legal actions on a company's behalf) and new rules regarding conflicts of interest, affiliated persons, and corporate governance. According to him, the acclimation process is still under way. "This is new for us,” he says with a smile. "We need some time for a practice to develop in this regard.” In the meantime, he says, lawyers are staying busy helping clients comply with the new standards, as they were last year advising clients on Covid-19-related rules.
Otherwise, he says, until the new government really begins to move forward with its pro-EU agenda, not much is happening.