SEC will be paralized in the election year as of the next week

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) expresses concern over the fact that mandate of the President of the State Election Commission (SEC), Djordje Vukcevic, expires on 17 January this year, i.e. in a week, as he turns 67, and that the call for the election of new president of the SEC has not yet been announced. Hence, this central electoral institution will be unable to hold sessions and conduct other regular activities during the election year, which additionally and unnecessarily burdens the ongoing problems related to the electoral issues.

According to the Law on Election of Councillors and Members of Parliament, the president of the SEC is appointed by the Parliament, following the proposal of the Administrative Committee, after previously conducted public call. The Administrative Committee has the competence to timely announce a call and to conduct necessary procedure.

Considering the length of the procedure for electing a new president of the SEC, it is already clear that the SEC will, at best, get a new president by the end of the first quarter, and meanwhile it will be paralyzed. This situation in the SEC, which is already burdened with affairs related to respect for laws and internal acts, does not contribute to raising citizens’ confidence in the electoral process, which this institution should take the lead as its mission is to control the regularity of the electoral process.

An additional concern is the fact that we are approaching to the date when the local elections in Tivat must be called. Bearing in mind that the election regulations require continuous SEC activities since the day of the calling of an election, it raises the question of whether a new president will be elected on time, which is a prerequisite for such elections to be conducted in legal manner.

Also, ambiguous is the indolent position of the Administrative committee, as they knew the date of termination of Vukcevic’s term as indicated by the minutes of the session at which he was elected by that same Committee and further submitted at the plenary for the president of the SEC.

Distrust into the electoral process has become its main characteristic in Montenegro, and such irresponsible behaviour of the subjects obliged to take care of the legality and legitimacy of the electoral process only deepens seriousness of the current state of affairs.

Today, the CCE also sent an inquery to the Prosecutor’s Office in order to obtain information on whether the Prosecutor’s Office acted on the criminal charges filed by the CCE against unknown persons in the SEC on the ground of reasonable doubt that they had committed the criminal act of abuse of official status under Article 416 Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Criminal Code of Montenegro.

Vasilije Radulovic, Programme Associate