Amendments on bylaws of SEC gained full support on public debates in northern and southern region of Montenegro

Working group for the analysis and improvement of bylaws of State Election Commission (SEC), previously established by Centre for Civic Education (CCE), Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro (AYDM) and Network for the affirmation of non-governmental sector (MANS), conducted five public debates in northern and southern region of Montenegro and gained the support for every proposed amendment, especially for those which adoption would, for the first time, define the procedures which would consider the merits of the complaint for the violation of voting right.

During the course of previous several days, representatives of Working group met with about 70 members of municipal election commissions and representatives of political parties within five public debates held in northern and southern Montenegrin municipalities: Žabljak, Berane, Kolašin, Bar and Tivat, whereby, they reviewed every draft of amendments and gathered additional recommendations and suggestions for the improvement of this process.

Hence, amendments which adoption would, for the first time, define the procedures which would consider the merits of the complaint for the violation of voting right gained full support on the field, because these amendments render a host of mechanisms available to election commissions based on which they can determine whether some complaint for the violation of voting right is founded, which would finally prevent political decision-making on electoral irregularities and outvoting in the bodies for the conduct of elections.

Also, amendments which adoption would further empower the secrecy of vote also gathered large support, primarily in the part of the obligations of election commissions to, before the day of the vote, ensure that video surveillance on polling stations, if there is any, is disabled, as well as in the part of mandatory informing by election commissions on situations when there is a doubt that voters are illegally registered on polling stations where they already voted.

In addition, amendments which adoption would improve the possibility of independent vote of persons with disabilities in practice, gained the support, as well as the amendments which elaborately specified related to electronic device for the identification of voters.

Apart from the proposed amendments, the majority of participants of public debates pointed out that the Law on the election of committee members contains series of legal omissions and incomplete provisions which hinder its implementation, and that right after the elections, we must consider the amendments of laws, as it was done with bylaws within the Working group of CCE, AYDM and MANS i.e. based on broad consultations with every interested subject, primarily with bodies in charge of the conduct of elections on state and local level, every political subject, NGO, international organisation and professional association.

Tomorrow, on 4 July, Working group will organise a round table that will be the final stage of public debate, for the representatives of SEC and political parties from central Montenegrin municipalities.

We invite you to cover the final public debate which will be held tomorrow, 4 July 2016, in hotel “Ramada” in Podgorica, starting at 12h00.

Working group established by CCE, AYDM and MANS, apart from the organisers, also consists of representatives of following political subjects and civil society organisations: Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), Socialist People’s Party, Social-Democratic Party (SDP), DEMOS, Social-democrats of Montenegro (SDCG), Positive Montenegro (PCG), Bosniak Party (BP), Democrats of Montenegro (Democrats), Civic Movement United Reform Action (GP URA), Liberal Party (LP), FORCA, Albanian Alternative (AA), Center for Democratic Transition (CDT) and Center for Monitoring and Research (CeMI).

Constitution and work of the Working group is part of the project “Fair elections free of corruption”, financed by the European Union.