Alberto Sartori, Joachim Pranzl
December 17, 2018
In 2015, Montenegro’s oppositional alliance Democratic Front (DF) launched ‘Freedom Calling’, a contentious campaign demanding regime change. Although presented as non-partisan, it did feature a party-stemming background. Thus, politics turned civil—meaning that the civil character was a disguise for a planned, creative party endeavour. Methodologically, the authors interpret the DF’s campaign, elaborating on process tracing and applying Tilly and Tarrow’s ‘contentious politics’ approach. They enquire into how the political-party background of the organizers influenced the unfolding of the contentious campaign, thereby addressing the role of parties as initiators of movements. This is especially pertinent in hybrid regimes with formally democratic institutions and persisting authoritarian practices. The Montenegrin case study of contentious (party) politics reveals that, while resources are available, the strong (ethno)political identity label of the party imposes constraints on the construction of a programmatic campaign.