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Civic Monitoring of the Parliamentary and Local Elections – Montenegro 2016

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Te overall impression is that neither the new electoral legislation, nor the Government of Electoral Trust, the State Election Commission, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, nor any of the other bodies or political entities responsible for restoring trust to the electoral process caused an increase in trust in the electoral process among the overall population; on the contrary, these led to even greater degree of distrust of citizens.

The legal framework is inadequate, inconsistent and outdated. Continuous and numerous amendments and changes to the basic law made clear the need for a comprehensive electoral reform, for both the legal and institutional frameworks, which will guarantee the full integrity of the electoral process and the restoration of the public’s trust in it.
The existing electoral system, which has one national multi-seat constituency, without the possibility of preferential voting, minimises the impact of voters on the election of MPs, thereby signifcantly weakening the relation between citizens and their representatives, as well as diluting MPs’ responsibilities for their actions. 
In the decision-making process and in the regular work of the State Election Commission (SEC), it was evident that the members of the SEC were driven by party interests and not by respect for the legal regulations. Some of the SEC’s important decisions were highly politicised and adopted by outvoting, even though they were not opposed in the legal procedure.
The work of the SEC was not open enough for the public, and at some moments completely non-transparent. This problem was clearly exposed after the adoption of the preliminary results of the election, and it was expressed through the unwillingness for full cooperation with the accredited domestic observers. The decisions of the SEC were not regularly updated and later completely removed from the website, while the SEC did not meet the requirements of observers to have access to required documents afer adopting the preliminary results.

 

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