Centre for Civic Education (CCE) sent today an initiative to the President of the State Election Commission (SEC), Aleksa Ivanovic, to urgently consider postponement of local elections in Tivat.
The CCE assesses that the competent authorities should make a decision on the postponement of the elections as soon as possible, which would be in accordance with orders to take provisional measures to prevent the entry of the virus into the country, suppression and prevention of transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Preparing and holding local elections requires numerous activities, such as: having extended Local Election Commission composition sessions, drawing lots to determine presiding officer of polling boards by polling station, distribution of election materials, capacity building of polling board members and finally, holding elections themselves. All these electoral actions require movement and contact of a large number of people, staying in same premises, inability to maintain recommended social distance, etc. Insisting on ignoring the current situation and holding local elections in Tivat could have serious and negative consequences for the citizens’ health, which must be before party and other related interests.
The CCE understands that all the capacities of the competent authorities are focused on the implementation of measures and actions related to the COVID19 epidemic, but we believe that this issue also requires urgent resolution in order to avoid further escalation of the epidemic problem.
Postponement of elections in Tivat is in the interest of all citizens of Tivat, but also of all citizens of Montenegro, because we are a small country in which citizens move freely even in these conditions. This decision should be passed as soon as possible in order to avoid unnecessary contact between a large number of persons within the preparation of these local elections.
The CCE expects rapid and responsible response from the authorities, as the public health must be a priority.
Vasilije Radulovic, Programme Associate