Institutions covered by the Agreement on free and fair elections to ensure full transparency of work and proactive disclose of information

Centre for Civic Education (CCE), Institute Alternative (IA) and Network for the Affirmation of NGO sector (MANS) call all institutions, subjects of Agreement on free and fair elections, to ensure full transparency of their work and to provide continuous and timely disclosure of all relevant information in their possession on their official websites. Also, we call also other institutions, which are not under this Agreement, to ensure full transparency and proactivity in the disclosure of information, and thus to contribute to the creation of conditions for fair and free elections.

Law on Financing of Political Subjects and Election Campaigns prescribes the obligation of every institution to publish a set of most important information concerning their work, from the moment the elections were announced until a month after the end of elections. Still, due to the fact that Montenegro is characterised with high level of distrust into election process, as well as the suspicions that public funds and authorisations are being abused for electoral purposes long before the elections are published, the institutions should regularly publish all information about their work, regardless of whether the election campaign is ongoing or not.

All ministries, directorates, state funds, local self-governments and state and locally-owned companies should publish most important information related primarily to every aspect of financial management, employment and conduct of programme activities which could be the subject of abuse for electoral purposes. Every institution should post the following information on their websites: analytical cards from all their accounts, information on payments, employment, procurement, all kinds of transfers from the budget, fees, severance pay, assistance and sponsorships and number of other activities of the respective authority on which the public was not fully informed so far.

Special emphasis should be put on data of the Ministry of Finances and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, since the information from these two institutions could indicate on the largest number of abuse of public funds and authorisations for electoral purposes. The Ministry of Finances should post on two-weeks level the complete except from state treasury, for all budgetary units, as well as the analytical card of budgetary reserve. On the other hand, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare should regularly publish the information on one-off and regular social benefits, including the information on the number of users and individual and total amounts of benefits paid.

Regular and proactive disclosure of all these information is not just the obligation of Government of Election Trust, but the basic standard that should become the commitment of every future government.

Consequently, regular disclosure of such information would significantly increase the level of transparency of the work of public administration, since the interested public would have insight into the basic information on the financial flows and particularly important activities of authorities, which were so far opaque.

By increasing the framework of disclosed information proactively, we would subsequently on long term reduce the space for abuse, which produced distrust into election process and empowered the suspicion on the occurrence of misuse of public funds for party interests.

By implementing this approach as a new open platform, Government, local self-governments and public companies would demonstrate that they are prepared through their own actions to restore the trust into election process, thus also into legality of work of public sector bodies in general. Hence, we call every institution to provide full transparency of its work as well as a proactive disclosure of every information in the intervals no longer than 15 days and thus create the prerequisites for the beginning of building trust into election process.

Vanja Ćalović                       Stevo Muk                  Daliborka Uljarević
Executive director, MANS      President of MB, IA       Executive director, CCE