Amendments to bylaws and recommmendations have been submitted to State Election Commission for reviewal

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), today successfully completed its work and forwarded 39 amendments to 5 bylaws and 10 recommendations to State Election Commission which adoption would contribute in the improvement of system of elections in Montenegro.

Working group held four sessions before defining final amendments and comments, followed by intensive communication among members and public debate conducted throughout Montenegro, during which we encountered nearly 100 representatives of municipal election commissions and political subjects from every Montenegrin municipality.

If State Election Commission adopts the submitted amendments, it would be the first time in Montenegro that we defined clear and precise procedure for the consideration of merits of the complaint for the violation of right to vote, while the competent election commissions would dispose with diverse mechanisms based on which they could review the allegations from the complaint in a professional and unbiased manner. In that manner, we would put an end to current poor practice of political outvoting on electoral irregularities, which would yield a specific contribution in the improvement of process of elections in Montenegro.

Also, should SEC adopt the submitted amendments, it would thus improve the secrecy of vote of Montenegrin citizens, since they envision the measures which ensure the incapacitation of video surveillance on polling stations and reduce the possibility of entering the voters illegally on polling stations.

Further, the adoption of said amendments would reduce the possibility of misuse when voting via letter, because the same envisage that persons who are not in a conscious state of mind cannot be allowed to vote, and that the records must conclude all relevant data on persons who bring several requests for vote via letter to polling stations, in order to reduce the misuses and violations of law in this segment.

Also, we gave the State Election Commission a set of measures which would essentially improve the independence and autonomy of vote of persons with disabilities – precise instructions for the installation of ballots and voting boots, or voting screens, and the provision which would change the colour of pattern for the vote of persons with sight impairment, so that no one could assume how they voted based on the prints of pen.

Working group, which completed its job today, was formed by CCE, AYDM and MANS. In addition to organisers, it 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), Democratic 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.

We call upon the State Election Commission to review and adopt the proposed amendments and recommendations as soon as possible, and thus improve the process of elections considerably, which could be noticed already on first parliamentary elections planned for October 2016. We would like to believe that State Election Commission will adopt these amendments as soon as possible, and unanimously in doing so, same as they were adopted by all members of working group which come from the ranks of civil sector and political subjects.