President of the Parliament of Montenegro Mr Aleksa Bečić took part in the round table on Conclusions and recommendations of the ENEMO International Observation Mission of the parliamentary elections in Montenegro on 30 August 2020: promoting a comprehensive revision of the election legislation.
Thanking the organisers for the opportunity to take part in discussion on this important topic, the President of the Parliament said that ENEMO representatives, in a way, took part in writing the history, by monitoring the national elections in a devoted and unbiased manner. President Bečić reminded that creating conditions for fair and free elections, whose outcome would be acceptable to all election participants, and not contested by either domestic or international public, remained a priority of the Parliament in the first year of its term.
“In this regards, we adopted the Decision on establishing the Committee on Comprehensive Electoral Reform. The deadline for the Committee to complete its work is 30 June, and it is expected that soon it will be filled with members from both the government and the opposition, on a parity basis”, the President of the Parliament said.
He pointed out that fair elections and the overall environment for their holding, to be characterised by the same epithet, were conditio sine qua non (an indispensable condition) of a democratic order in every country, and that they must become so in Montenegro.
Speaking of ENEMO report on the 30th August parliamentary elections, the President of the Parliament said that it represented a comprehensive analysis, which broadly treated the events before the election and on the election day itself.
“Instead of the conclusion, it contains around forty recommendations, of which 25 are related to the Parliament. Therefore, I can already promise that the Parliament of Montenegro will treat them with due care and seriously consider every and each of them", the President of the Parliament said.
Head of the ENEMO Mission Mr Gianluca PASSARELLI said that the election process was an essential element of all democratic countries, and that respect for international standards in election management was the basis for strengthening and consolidating democracy in a country and a guarantee to citizens that their rights would be respected.
"The health of the electoral process is a great indicator of human rights, inequality, the role of women, the relevance of young people, the level of democracy. Therefore, observing the elections means observing the society as a whole", Mr Pasarelli pointed out.
He stated that the presence of international observers, such as ENEMO, has contributed to improving the transparency of the election process, assessing its integrity and compatibility with international standards and domestic legislation, but also in making recommendations for improving certain areas.
The Head of the ENEMO mission noted that, according to the recommendations of that organisation, it is necessary to work on the harmonisation of the election legislation through a comprehensive, transparent and inclusive electoral reform.
"We hope that today's event, bringing together key stakeholders from across the spectrum, with efforts to work on necessary improvements for future elections, will help advocate for electoral reform. ENEMO is convinced that dialogue, transparency, democratic values, international standards and common experience should be the starting points for progress in this regard", Mr Passarelli concluded.
US Ambassador to Montenegro Ms Judy Rising Reinke said that it was important for Montenegro to deliver on electoral reforms, emphasising that it was very important for the President of the Parliament Mr Bečić as well. She stated that areas in need of improvement should be identified, and that this was the first step in order to implement the necessary electoral reforms in Montenegro.
“In order to carry out the necessary electoral reforms, the ruling parties and the opposition will have to come together and collaborate. As Speaker Bečić and his parliamentary colleagues know, this will be hard work, and sacrifices will have to be made on both sides, but I am confident in your ability to put party politics aside to find a common ground and to do the important legislative work on behalf of the Montenegrin people”, Ambassador Reinke said.
Representative of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) Ms Slavica Biljarska said that although international and domestic observers generally assessed the elections to be in accordance with the standards for free and fair elections, they still made remarks and recommendations for its improvement.
“However, it is necessary to emphasise that after the elections, and even after this discussion, it is the responsibility of political representatives to address these recommendations and to incorporate them adequately into legislation. Therefore, the enthusiasm and determination should be shown to ensure the credibility of the election process. "The credibility of the election process is possible only if the public and all political actors participate in all its phases, including determining the provisions according to which the elections will be conducted, and if they are sure that the process is inclusive, transparent and responsible," Ms Biljarska said.
The representative of NDI pointed out that for this organisation, every election was an opportunity to help in promoting democratic progress.
“For more than three decades, the Institute has been supporting non-partisan civic groups in monitoring elections worldwide, in line with the highest international standards of transparency, impartiality and professionalism. Our efforts during Montenegrin national elections of 2020 also served the same purpose. Through our support to ENEMO and CDT, we were trying to contribute to the protection of electoral integrity of Montenegro enabling the citizens to be participants and guardians of their local elections”, Ms Biljarska said.
Remarks by the President of the Parliament at ENEMO roundtable