Centre for monitoring and research CeMI held a press conference today in order to present project of civil monitoring of upcoming 2016 elections in Montenegro, which is supported by the Embassy of the United Kingdom and Embassy of Germany in Podgorica and Embassy of Kingdom of the Netherlands in Belgrade.
Main goal of the project is to contribute to the democratic conditions for holding transparent, free and fair elections through civil control of the electoral process on parliamentary and local elections. The project is created so higher level of implementation of international standards in the field of elections can be provided. Besides that, the project aims to prevent electoral frauds and misuse of state resources.
PhD Djuro Stojanovic, the head of the mission, MsC Nina Tomovic, deputy of the mission, Dubravka Popovic, coordinator of long-term observers and Marko Savic, media analyst within the mission, spoke during the media conference.
Head of the mission, PhD Djuro Stojanovic, announced that CeMI will carry out following activities during the electoral process:
- Organization of training for police officials and state prosecutors, by hiring renowned experts from the region, in order to support police officials and state prosecutors in the implementation of more efficient protection of voters’ rights.
- Monitoring of performance of the State Election Commission (and Municipal Election Commissions) compared to the proper implementation of the Law on the Election of Councilors and Representatives and the Law on the Electoral Roll
- Monitoring of the work of the Anti-Corruption Agency regarding the implementation of the Law on Financing of Political Entities and Electoral Campaigns
- Monitoring of misuse of state resources in pre-electoral period based on the methodology that was developed by Transparency International – which was adapted and implemented by CeMI during previous 2008, 2009, and 2012 Elections.
- Monitoring of media performance and reporting during the pre-electoral campaign
- Monitoring of system for electronic identification of voters
- Participation in the work of Coordinating Body for the monitoring of the implementation of electoral legislation.
- Monitoring of central electoral roll, its alterations and updating
- Hiring long-term observers who are going to monitor the process of pre-electoral campaign and their reports that are going to be published periodically
- Hiring over 1000 short-term observers in order to cover all polling stations during the election day
- Giving preliminary statement on the regularity of the elections and projection of election results.
- Issuing comprehensive Final Report on the 2016 Elections after the elections.
In relation to the problems that are occuring in the current period of the electoral process, Stojanovic stressed the need to undertake the following activities:
- to ensure the full integrity of the electoral roll as a precondition for holding the elections;
- to increase transparency of political parties in the field of financing of electoral campaigns;
- to alter the Law on the Election of Councilors and Representatives in Article 80, after the confirmation of experts that Montenegrin identity card is not a biometric document;
- to significantly increase the coordination of the institutions responsible for the implementation of electoral laws – State Election Commission (SEC), the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the Anti-Corruption Agency.
MsC Nikoleta Tomovic specified that CeMI will accredit over 1,000 observers on the election day, which will throughout the day report the percentage of voter turnout and possible irregularities to the central office of CeMI, and after the closing of polling stations and the counting of votes they will report voting results.
Dubravka Popovic, coordinator of long-term observers, added that the long-term observers will establish contacts with all relevant actors in the electoral process (election commissions and political parties at all levels, the media, non-governmental organizations and other relevant actors), and that they will be ready to examine and check all possible misuses and any errors that might occur during the election campaign at all times.
Marko Savic, election analyst, pointed out the basic problems of the current implementation of obligations of institutions and the implementation of the election legislation. He said that, given the timelines, priority should be realized activities of control of issued identity documents and indisputable determination that there is no double registered voters in the electoral roll, as well as the deletion of deceased persons from the electoral roll. The institutions involved in the creation of conditions for the implemetation of the elections must communicate intensively and ensure coordinated action during the electoral process.
So far, according to Savic, this was not the case, especially when it comes to communication and coordination between the two key institutions in the electoral process – Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Election Commission.
In response to questions of reporters, Stojanovic said that CEMI will be the first to present accurate projections of the election results on the basis of the parallel counting of votes, because our goal is to reduce tensions on the election night and to ensure that fair elections become a habit.