Centre for Civic Education (CCE) notes that inconsistent statements and legal interpretations by the President of the Administrative Committee, Luidj Skrelja, and the President of the State Election Commission (SEC), Djordjije Vukcevic, represent convincing reflection of the state of the institutions that need to control the most important process in a democratic society, i.e. the electoral process.
From Vukcevic’s statement one can conclude that he informed the Parliament of Montenegro about his eligibility for an old-age pension on 10 October 2019, which is true, but his interpretation that he may remain in his current position until the Parliament decides otherwise is disputable. Also, the question arises: why has the Parliament taken nothing for more than three months to elect a new president, especially knowing that 2020 is an election year?
In the situation undoubtedly caused by the Parliament there are two possible solutions. The first is the SEC’s paralysis until the election of a new president, which is the most probable consequence of this situation. The second is that the Parliament decides not to respect the law that has itself enacted and to retain Vukcevic in position until the election of a new SEC president, which he actually suggests. Of course, we can also hypothetically think about the third one, which would only be legal, although it is impossible – to somehow rejuvenated Vukcevic.
The ambiguities are further compounded by the statement of the president of the Administrative Committee, Luidj Skrelja, who says with certainty that “the SEC will have a new president by March“. It should be recalled that the current SEC’s president was elected after two unsuccessfully announced calls, thus the election of a new president waited more than four months. Vukcevic was elected president of the SEC in March last year because the term of the previous president of the SEC, Budimir Saranovic, expired on 7 October 2018. Therefore, it is unclear how Skrelja can now in advance and with certainty claim that this procedure will be so quick and efficient.
Symptoms of a stagnation in the SEC’s work are already visible, because after the outbreak of the affair, this institution has stopped submitting the requested information under the Law on Free Access to Information within the legal deadline.
Time is running out and this situation indicates that in an election year we will have some forced solution for such a responsible position, and this can have very serious consequences on the election process legitimacy.
Vasilije Radulovic, Programme Associate