The Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI) will advocate that the findings, conclusions and recommendations, made by the Citizens’ Council for Free and Fair Elections, be implemented within the new electoral legislation reform.
The first meeting of the Citizens’ Council for Free and Fair Elections was held today, within the project “Let Fair Elections Become a Habit! – Building Trust in the Integrity of the Electoral Process in Montenegro”, conducted by CeMI, with the financial support of the European Commission.
Public Policy Researcher at CeMI, Nikola Zecevic, said that the Citizens’ Council for Free and Fair Elections represents a project body formed with the goal of starting an expert discussion and dialogue about questions that, as he clarified, deal with the disputable electoral process in Montenegro and electoral legislation reform.
“The purpose of this Council and its functioning will be opening a very complex thematic framework, which implies a very intensive interaction with citizens and has the goal to include them in the public discussion concerning these questions”, said Zecevic.
Members of the Citizens’ Council for Free and Fair Elections are, as he stated, representatives of political parties, nongovernmental sector, media, academic workers and university professors.
Zecevic said that the Council will hold regular meetings where, as he explained, research findings will be analyzed, realized by the expert research team of CeMI.
“It is important to emphasize that the Council remains open to expanding, for all parties that want to participate and advance this thematic context. The epilogue of this project will be the organization of a national conference where all members of the Council will participate and observe the topics which were initially discussed today and will be talked about in more detail”, said Zecevic.
CeMI will, as he pointed out, support and affirm the recommendations, conclusions and analyzations made by the Citizens’ Council for Free and Fair Elections.
“We will, in the form of a very concrete campaign, present those findings, conclusions and recommendations, promote and fight for their implementations within the framework of the new electoral legislation reform”, said Zecevic.
Professor Djordjije Blazic said that the session of the Citizens’ Council for Free and Fair Elections a nice way of trying to go back to, as he stated, a significantly important topic related to the original sovereignty of citizens.
“This topic is not only related to the right of citizens but has reflections on the complete state and the legitimacy of the institutions, that were brought into question with the electoral system which we’ve had for decades in Montenegro”, said Blazic.
He said that he expects that CeMI will do its part of the job, as it has before, to the extent that belongs to NGOs and, as he clarified, give appropriate recommendations.
“But in the end, it all comes down to the team that will work in the Parliament. Unfortunately, it all comes down to MPs, which are MPs much less than they are party soldiers. But, we will open this discussion at the sessions and see what attitudes others will have”, said Blazic.
A representative of the Citizens’ group “Citizens’ Action”, Bozidar Vujicic, said that he expects that Montenegrin citizens will use their right to elect and be elected in the way the Constitution guarantees “without discrimination and with an equal voting right”.
“I expect from the political party representatives within the composition of the Council, to distance themselves from their party’s attitudes and represent the citizens’ interests and their citizen right, and their right to be elected and elect in the way Montenegro’s Constitution stipulates”, said Vujicic.
The meeting was attended by Nada Drobnjak, from the Democratic Party of Socialists, Neven Gosovic from Democratic Montenegro, professor Jelisava Kalezic, Ivan Vujovic from the Social Democratic Party, Mico Orlandic from the Social Democrats, Dragisa Janjusevic from the Centre for Political Education, professor Djordjije Blazic, Bozidar Vujicic from the Citizens Group Citizens’ Action, Goran Djurovic from the Media Centre, Zlatko Vujovic, Nikoleta Djukanovic and Nikola Zecevic from CeMI.
Members of the Citizens’ Council for Free and Fair Elections are also Vladimir Pavicevic the Montenegrin party, Stevo Muk from Institute Alternative and Boris Maric.