Strasbourg, 5 June 2002

CG/Bur (8) 169 English only

Report on the local elections in Montenegro (15 May 2002)

Rapporteur: Mr. Tomas JIRSA (Czech Republic)

Document adopted by the Bureau of the Congress on 5 June 2002

Introduction

The President of the Parliament of Montenegro, Mrs Perovic invited the Congress, in a letter dated 4 April 2002, to observe the local elections in Montenegro, which will be held in 19 of the 21 municipalities of Montenegro on 15 May 2002.

Early elections were held in June 2000 in Podgorica, the capital and Herceg Novi where the ruling coalitions collapsed long before the end of the mandate. The Congress took part in the observation of local elections in Podgorica and Herceg Novi on 15 June 2000 (see Mr Claude Casagrande's report CG/Bur (7) 45).

At its meeting of 7 May 2002, the Bureau of the Congress decided to send an observer delegation comprising Mr Tomas JIRSA (Czech Republic, L, Head of the delegation), Mrs Marie Renee BORDRON (France, L), Mr Yavuz MILDON (Turkey, R) Mr Christopher NEWBURY (United Kingdom, L), Mr Fabio PELLEGRINI (Italy, L), Mr Bernard SUAUD (France, R) accompanied by Mr. Alessandro MANCINI and Mr Medhi REMILI (Congress Secretariat).

Mrs Eva KOPROLIN, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Podgorica and Mr Dragotin DJEKOVIC, delegate of the Local Democracy Agency of Niksic were also part of the Congress delegation. The Congress wishes to thank them for their strong assistance provided before, during and after the elections.

The Congress delegation worked closely with the election observation mission appointed by the OSCE/ODIHR. The Congress wishes also to express its thanks to the ODHIR EOM (Election Observation Mission), in particular to Mr Balian, Head of the ODIHR Elections Section, to Ambassador Vukanovic Head of the EOM, Mr Olszewski Election Advisor and all the ODIHR staff for their very competent and useful support and for their sincere co-operation.

The Council of Europe’s delegation took part in the preparatory meetings organised by the ODIHR in the town of Budva where a preliminary overview of the political situation of the country and of the electoral procedures were provided.

OSCE/ODIHR had also gathered nearly hundred short-term observers, most of them with a very large experience, but not representing any elected body. In this case the integration between the Congress delegation, mostly made of locally and regionally elected representatives with the OSCE/ODIHR delegation was very effective.

POLITICAL BACKGROUND

Montenegro: a brief statistical overview

Montenegro is a republic of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The population is estimated at 600,000 inhabitants. It is divided into 21 municipalities, with between 3,500 and 112,000 electors. According to the 1991 census, the population is composed of:

61.7% Montenegrins
9.3% Serbs
14.5% Moslems
6.5% Albanians
8% other communities, including 1% Croats.

There are an estimated 20,000 Roma. The Albanian population is concentrated in the municipalities of Bar and Ulcinj and the Tuzi district in Podgorica. The Bosnian/Moslem population is concentrated in the north of the country, in the municipalities of Plav, Berane, Rozaje and Bielo Pole.

Political situation

Two major events affected the political life of Montenegro and had an impact on the electoral campaign and on the local elections.

The first one was the signature on 14 March in Belgrade of the Agreement on principles of relations between Serbia and Montenegro. After the adoption of the agreement the government of Montenegro’s coalition made up of the DPS (Democratic Party of Socialists) of the President Djukanovic, the LGSC (Liberal Alliance) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) fell apart. The latter two parties left the government considering that the coalition was created after the early parliamentary elections in 2001 with the precise objective to hold a referendum on the independence of Montenegro, which should have taken place on 15 May 2002, the date chosen later for the municipal elections.

This new scenario very strongly affected all the parties and forced them to change their political platforms, in particular the DPS which had previously built up its campaign on the issue of “sovereignty/independence”.

The elections were held with no government in place, as the meeting of the Parliament supposed to vote no confidence in the government it was decided to be convened after the elections of 15 May. On 29 May President Djukanovic asked the outgoing Prime Minister Fillip Vujanovic to form a new government on the basis of a coalition between DPS and SDP.

It seemed also that the negotiations for an agreement to form a coalition at national level, would also affect the creation of local coalitions to elect the mayors, of the municipalities where the parties of the former government coalition have won elections. We were being told that no negotiation on the election of any mayor would start before an agreement was signed and the government was formed.

The second major event that shocked Montenegrin political life was the adoption by the Federal Government in Belgrade on 11 April of the Law on co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY).

This event affected much more the opposition coalition “Together for Yugoslavia” and in particular the major party the SNP (Socialist People’s Party). SNP is the only major Montenegrin Party represented in the federal parliament, since the parties of the ruling coalition boycotted the elections for the federal parliament held in September 2000, and SNP representatives have voted in Belgrade in favour of the adoption of the law on cooperation with ICTY.

It should be underlined that the SNP supporters are very “Pro Serb” and in many cases they still feel themselves victims of NATO aggression and of an “international plot” to destroy Yugoslavia. They also see the ICTY as the final act of this aggression. It is evident that the sessions of the ICTY are of interest for part of the Montenegrin population; since they are broadcast live on one of the major private channels.

We were also told that anonymous posters, circulated throughout the country, where the motto “Together for Yugoslavia” was changed into “ Together for the Hague”. This shows the evident dissatisfaction of the pro unification coalition.

The municipal elections were overshadowed by the breakdown of the governing coalition and anticipated changes in the state status. The majority of political parties viewed the elections as a test of their support in the run-up to presidential and possible early parliamentary elections later this year.

The preparation of the elections

The ODIHR mission was deployed on 22 April 2002, rather late for a very late approval of the budget allocated to the election observation. ODIHR supervised the preparation of the elections and in particular the various political parties' access to the media. The results are described in the OSCE's statement of preliminary findings and conclusions (Appendix 5).

The electoral procedure

The elections took place in accordance with the requirements of the law on the election of councillors and representatives adopted in 2000 and amended in 2001.

For the 19 municipalities where elections took place, 630 councillors were elected from 3,229 registered candidates for a four-year term. By law each assembly should consist of at least 30 councillors with an additional councillor for each 5,000 voters. The decision on the number of seats was taken the day before the elections.

Only Andrievica opted for a minimum number of 30 seats whereas Niksic opted for 41 seats, Bielo Polje for 37 etc.

The assemblies are elected according to a system of proportional representation with each municipality considered as a separated multi-mandate constituency. Submitters of electoral lists registered by the respective municipal electoral commission (MEC) contest the councillors’ seats. The seats are allocated via the d’Hondt process to all the lists that have more than the 3% threshold.

As it concerns the political parties four major coalitions participate in the elections:

    1. DPS+SDP (the government coalition) in 10 municipalities;
    2. SNP, National Party (NS) and Serbian People’s Party (SNS), (the opposition together for Yugoslavia coalition) in 9 municipalities;
    3. SNP and SNS in 6 municipalities;
    4. People’s Socialist Party (NSS) and the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) (the so-called Patriotic Coalition for Yugoslavia) in all the 19 municipalities.

The 2 major coalitions, DSP+DDP and the SNP+NS+SNS were facing off in 5 municipalities.

The Liberal Party ran independently in 17 municipalities. Albanian and Bosnian minorities parties also participated in the elections.

Two of the major Albanian Parties are the Democratic Union of Albanians (DUA) and the Democratic Alliance in Montenegro (DSCG). They were present in three municipalities (Bar/Plav/Ulcinj), on the coast and on the eastern part of the country next to the border with Albania and Kosovo.

The Bosnians parties formed the Bosnian Democratic Coalition (BDK) and ran in two municipalities (Berane/Rozaje) in the eastern part of the country next to the region of Sanjak in Serbia.

Concerning the presence of women candidates they were 392 out of 3,299 candidates (around 12%). Five women headed electoral lists, and 27.04% of women candidates occupied positions in the top third of the lists. Among the parties and coalitions that registered more than 100 candidates, the SDP had the highest number of women candidates with 18.5%.

The two main coalitions, DPS/SDP and SNP/SNS/NS, allocated respectively 12.13% and 12.67% of their lists to women. There were a larger number of women candidates in the coastal area, around 20 % and a very small number in the eastern area, down to a minimum of 2% in Plav.

Party campaigns and election coverage in the media generally lacked information targeted at women. Awareness of women’s right to equal participation in politics remains limited. The same conclusion applies to the very limited number of women as members of the polling boards.

Observation of the elections

The eight Congress observers were included in the deployment plans of the OSCE/ODIHR, which had gathered some 110 short term observers (STOs), mostly persons seconded by the OSCE member states and a limited part OSCE/ODHIR staff.

The members of the CLARE delegation who were the only elected people acting as STOs, got the very useful and competent assistance of the Long Term OSCE observers in their area of deployment.

The Congress delegation visited some 60 polling stations, in the municipalities of Berane, Bielo Polije, Budva, Danilovgrad, and Niksic. This provided coverage of a variety of geographical regions, urban and rural, and communities, in particular Bosnian in Berane. The list of deployment areas is appended.

Quoting the statement of preliminary findings and conclusions issued by the International Election Observation Mission, the elections “generally were conducted in accordance with international commitments and standards for democratic elections. The elections built upon progress noted during the 2000 early municipal by-elections and 2001 parliamentary elections in the Republic, though shortcomings remain.”

But some positive results should first be underlined. The turnout was generally quite high, a general figure is not available but it can be evaluated at around 70/72%.

The voter registers were very much improved and it was possible for the individuals to inspect the voter list or to obtain a printout. Several complaints were addressed on the accuracy of the register from the parties; in particular in some municipalities either ruled by the opposition or where the difference between the 2 coalitions was very tight.

The reason for these complaints lays in the system of the creation of registers. In fact two different kinds of data are combined to create the register. First the civil status, managed by the Municipality and the data related to the Ids that are kept by the local offices of the Ministry of Interior. The allegation in some cases was that since the representatives of the Ministry of Interior being part of a “pro government” institution would have tried to erase from the lists or possible voters for the opposition.

ODIHR was asked to inquire on several occasions in this respect but no evidence was found that deliberate attempts were made to manipulate the registers.

Another positive result was the participation of a large number of parties and coalitions, including those representing national minorities in the election.

The representation of the political parties in the municipal election commissions and in the polling boards were very good, with a limited participation of women in most of the cases.

It has also to be noted that a large number of domestic observers were allowed to monitor the polling and the counting. The most represented NGOS were the Centre for Democratic Transition (CDT), the Centre for Monitoring Elections (CEMI) and the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy (Ce SID), all big Belgrade based NGOS active in the whole FRY and also involved in the last Kosovo Assembly elections in 2001 in the Northern area of Kosovo. According to the ODIHR the domestic observers were able to cover almost 80% of the polling stations. In general in every polling station visited we found at least one domestic observer.

Concerning the negative aspects of these elections, first the print media and the radios were biased and broke in several cases the silence imposed 48 hours before the elections.

According to a study carried out by ODIHR the State media fulfilled their obligations to the contestants as prescribed by the law but favoured slightly the incumbents. The parliamentary channel belonging to the State media was used for the municipal electoral campaign and offered equal free time to all contestants. More comprehensive information can be found in Appendix 5.

A second important problem was the lack in many cases of the secrecy of the votes. This was mainly due to the bad shape and positioning of the polling booths. The booths were most of the time placed in front of the table of the polling board and had no curtains. Other times the tables provided with the booths were not used and the people were forced to cast their vote writing on tables which were covered if only partially by the booths.

In this case knowing the position of the list on the bulletin, it would have been very easy to “guess” for which party the voter had voted. No information on where to place the booths were given to the members of the polling board not even in the handbook provided with the other materials so the choice was on the “common sense” of the board members.

As a third problem, just a few cases of family voting were observed in rural areas in the eastern part of the country. They were mainly cases of elderly women, most probably illiterate or short sighted who were accompanied into booths by the husband or by a son or daughter. In very limited cases the male took the bulletins and voted for several person, while the women sat and waited. This behaviour seemed not to worry too many the members of the polling boards who considered this a traditional system. They did not receive a specific training on this issue and it is not generally considered a major violation.

A far more general problem, which should also tackled, and was already underlined in 2001, is the control exerted by the political parties and the coalitions on electoral mandates. Since according to Article 96 of the Election law if a list is getting seats, 50% of the posts will be allocated to the persons on the top of the list and the other 50% is left to the party leaders’ discretion. In this case the voter is only sure of which list is voting and not for whom if only partially.

The political parties also tightly control the elected persons in their lists. IN fact according to Article 101 of the election law a councillor can see his/her term of office terminated before the expiry of the term if he/she ceases to be a member of the political parties on whose electoral lists they have been elected. It is therefore very difficult for an elected person to change his/her affiliation or to become more independent from the party or coalitions structures and guidelines.

Conclusions of the Congress delegation

The delegation welcomes the very high turnout of Montenegrin voters (70%) and their sense of civic commitment to these elections.

It also welcomes the good atmosphere in the polling stations and the co-operation between the members of the polling board, members of the different political parties and the municipal electoral commissions and the domestic and international observers.

The delegation was impressed with the standard of training of members of the election commissions and their knowledge of electoral procedures. However, it regrets the limited number of women in these commissions and in the party or coalition lists and invites the Montenegrin authorities to increase women's involvement in future elections.

The practice of family voting was observed in very limited cases mostly involving elderly persons' votes. A specific training on this issue should probably be provided in this sense in accordance with the RES/REC.

Legal and /or procedural provisions should be adopted to improve the confidentiality of votes, in particular on the shaping and location of polling booths, e.g. curtains should be provided and a correct positioning of the booths should be indicated in the handbook or taught when training polling board members.

The Congress wishes to express its satisfaction and congratulates the Montenegrin authorities on the smooth running of the elections, which serve to strengthen its democracy. It calls for the opening of genuine dialogue between all sectors of society, in the light of the results of these early elections.

APPENDIX I: Programme of the Congress delegation

Strasbourg, 2 May 2002

OBSERVATION MISSION FOR THE LOCAL ELECTIONS OF THE REPUBLIC OF MONTENEGRO OF 15 MAY 2002

APPENDIX II: Deployment area of the CLRAE Delegation

 

TEAM

NATIONALITY

TEL NUM

DEPLOYMENT AREA

         

A

Mrs R. BORDRON

French

33 613 79 85 80

NIKSIC

 

Mr Y. MILDON

Turkish

905 424 170 017

 
         

B

Mr T. JIRSA

Czech

420 38 7966 156

BERANE

 

Mr A. MANCINI

Italian

33 6.72.75.42.70

 
         

C

Mr C. NEWBURY

English

441 373 822 508

BIELO POLJIE

 

Mr B. SUAUD

French

33 6 14 47 00 89

 
         

D

Mr F. PELLEGRINI

Italian

39 335 280 429

BUDVA

 

Mr M. REMILI

French

33 6.07.42.77.45

 
         

E

Mrs E. KOPROLIN

Austrian

381 69 331 831

DANILOVGRAD

 

Mr D. DJEKOVIC

Montenegrin

   

APPENDIX III: Map of Montenegro

OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission
Republic of Montenegro/FRY
Municipal Elections 2002

APPENDIX IV: Election results (from OSCE ODIHR)

Municipal Elections 2002 Results
as of 20 May 2002
All results are final unless otherwise indicated

ANDRIJEVICA

Number of registered voters

4345

Number of council seats being contested

30

Total number of voters who voted

3417

% Turnout

78.3%

Number of valid votes

3387

Number of invalid votes

27

Threshold level (3%)

102

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

SNP-SNS-NS

a

2056

60.7

19

2

DPS

a

1005

29.7

9

3

Patriotska Koalicija

a

225

6.6

2

4

KK

 

20

0.6

0

5

SDP

 

78

2.3

0

BAR

Preliminary Results as of 20.05.02. Final results to be known by 26 May 02.

Number of registered voters

28 602

Number of council seats being contested

35

Total number of voters who voted

17 547

% Turnout

61.34%

Number of valid votes

17 276

Number of invalid votes

269

Threshold level (3%)

518

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

DSCG

a

1 118

6.35

2

2

SDP

a

2 392

13.8

5

3

NSS-SRS

a

915

5

2

4

Gradjanska Partia

 

446

2.5

0

5

DPS

a

5 576

31.78

12

6

LSCG

a

1 829

10.6

4

7

SNP-SNS-NS

a

5 000

28.49

10

Repeated Voting

Repeat voting is to be held in one polling station on Wednesday 22 May.

BERANE

Number of registered voters

27 056

Number of council seats being contested

35

Total number of voters who voted

19 512

% turnout

72%

Number of valid votes

19 327

Number of invalid votes

185

Threshold level (3%)

585

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

SNP – SNS

a

8183

42.3

16

2

K for ZD

 

213

1

0

3

SDP

a

955

4.9

1

4

DPS

a

7942

41

16

5

KK

 

56

0.2

0

6

SMP

 

60

0.2

0

7

Patriotska Koalicija

 

330

1.7

0

8

NS

a

1226

6.3

2

9

BL

 

254

1.3

0

10

BDK

 

108

0.5

0

BIJELO POLJE

Number of registered voters

38 323

Number of council seats being contested

37

Total number of voters who voted

28 116

% turnout

73.37

Number of valid votes

27 780

Number of invalid votes

336

Threshold level (3%)

833

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

DPS-SDP

a

15 446

55.6

23

2

DZMB

 

548

1.97

0

3

LSCG

 

426

1.53

0

4

SDA

 

433

1.56

0

5

SNP-SNS

a

9 205

33.14

13

6

NS

a

968

3.48

1

7

NSS-SRS

 

515

1.86

0

8

Coalition for a Common Country

 

239

0.8

0

BUDVA

Preliminary Results as of 19.05.02. Final results will be known on 27.05.02

Number of registered voters

11199

Number of council seats being contested

32

Total number of voters who voted

8389

% turnout

74.9%

Number of valid votes

8275

Number of invalid votes

114

Threshold level (3%)

248

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

LSCG

a

776

9.3

3

2

Patriotska Koalicija

 

249

3

0

3

Niko Krpa

 

144

1.7

0

4

SNP – NS – SNS

a

3623

43.7

15

5

SPJ

 

84

1

0

6

DPS – SDP

a

3399

41

14

Repeated Voting

There will be repeat voting in one polling station on 23 May.

CETINJE

Number of registered voters

14 604

Number of council seats being contested

33

Total number of voters who voted

10415

% turnout

70%

Number of valid votes

10268

Number of invalid votes

146

Threshold level (3%)

312

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

SNP-SNS

a

589

5.74

2

2

Communist Coalition

 

61

0.59

0

3

LSCG

a

4569

44.5

16

4

Citizens Party of Montebegro

 

83

0.81

0

5

SDP

a

355

3.46

1

6

DPS – Dr. Milovan Jankovic

a

4212

41.02

14

7

NSS-SRS

 

182

1.77

0

8

NS

 

180

1.75

0

DANILOVGRAD

Number of registered voters

11 165

Number of council seats being contested

33

Total number of voters who voted

8 326

% turnout

74.57%

Number of valid votes

8 228

Number of invalid votes

98

Threshold level (3%)

249

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

NSS-SRS

a

470

5.71

2

2

DPS-SDP

a

4011

48.75

17

3

SNP-NS-SNS

a

3039

36.93

12

4

LSCG

a

388

4.72

1

5

SPJ

a

320

3.89

1

KOLASIN

Number of registered voters

7 484

Number of council seats being contested

31

Total number of voters who voted

6 219

% turnout

83

Number of valid votes

6 096

Number of invalid votes

123

Threshold level (3%)

187

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

DPS-SDP

a

2 352

38.58

13

2

SNP-SNS

a

3 066

50.29

16

3

NSS-SRS

a

191

3.1

1

4

NS

 

138

2.2

0

5

LSCG

a

233

3.8

1

6

SPJ

 

116

1.9

0

KOTOR

Number of registered voters

16 756

Number of council seats being contested

33

Total number of voters who voted

11 472

% turnout

68.47%

Number of valid votes

11 277

Number of invalid votes

195

Threshold level (3%)

338

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

LSCG

a

2 086

18.5

6

2

Natural Law Party

 

109

0.97

0

3

Patriotska Koalicija

a

528

4.68

1

4

DPS – SDP

a

4 081

36.19

13

5

Komunisticka Koalicija

 

94

0.83

0

6

SNP – NS – SNS

a

4 379

38.83

13

MOJKOVAC

Number of registered voters

7498

Number of council seats being contested

31

Total number of voters who voted

6 224

% turnout

83%

Number of valid votes

6 124

Number of invalid votes

100

Threshold level (3%)

186

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

SNP-SNS

a

2 890

47.20

15

2

SPJ

 

74

1.21

0

3

LSCG

 

65

1.06

0

4

DPS-SDP

a

2 791

45.58

15

5

NSS-SRS

 

90

1.47

0

6

NS

a

213

3.48

1

NIKSIC

Preliminary results as of 19.5.02

Number of registered voters

53 145

Number of council seats being contested

41

Total number of voters who voted

41 149

% turnout

77.4%

Number of valid votes

40 709

Number of invalid votes

440

Threshold level (3%)

1 234

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

SNP-SNS-NS

a

17 149

42.1

18

2

KPJ Communist Coalition

 

533

1.3

0

3

JUL-SPJ-Hard Currency

 

399

1

0

4

LSCG

a

2869

7

3

5

DPS-SDP

a

18 984

46.6

20

6

NSS-SRS

 

775

1.9

0

Repeated Voting

Voted was repeated in 1 polling station on Sunday 19 May.

PLAV

Number of registered voters

11100

Number of Council Seats being contested

32

Total Number of voters who voted

6 919

% Turnout

62.3%

Number of Valid Votes

6 854

Number of Invalid Votes

65

Threshold level (3%)

267

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of
Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

DSCG

a

456

6.6

2

2

LSCG

 

121

1.7

0

3

DUA

a

404

5.8

2

4

SDA

a

904

13.1

4

5

DPS

a

2252

32.8

11

6

SNP – SNS – NS

a

1303

19

6

7

SDP

a

1329

19.3

7

8

Patriotska Koalicija

 

85

1.2

0

PLJEVLJA

Number of registered voters

27 414

Number of Council Seats being contested

35

Total Number of voters who voted

20 712

% Turnout

75.6%

Number of Valid Votes

20 447

Number of Invalid Votes

265

Threshold level (3%)

622

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

NSS-SRS

a

811

3.9

1

2

SNP

a

8 258

40.3

15

3

DPS-SDP

a

7 952

38.8

14

4

LSCG

 

254

1.2

0

5

SPJ

 

119

5.8

0

6

NS

a

731

3.5

1

7

SNS

a

2332

11.4

4

PLUZINE

Number of registered voters

3 347

Number of Council Seats being contested

31

Total Number of voters who voted

2 696

% Turnout

80%

Number of Valid Votes

2 673

Number of Invalid Votes

23

Threshold level (3%)

86

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

DPS

a

604

22.6

7

2

LSCG

 

57

2.1

0

3

SKJ-KCG Communist Coalition

a

181

6.8

2

4

SDP

 

28

1

0

5

SNS

a

401

15

5

6

NS

a

180

6.7

2

7

NSS-SRS

 

46

1.7

0

8

SNP

a

1 176

44

15

ROZAJE

Number of registered voters

18 265

Number of Council Seats being contested

33

Total Number of voters who voted

11 673

% Turnout

63.91%

Number of Valid Votes

11 615

Number of Invalid Votes

58

Threshold level (3%)

350

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

LSCG

a

503

4.33

1

2

NSS-SRS

 

105

0.9

0

3

SNP-SNS-NS

a

474

4.08

1

4

BDK

a

2 497

21.5

7

5

BMDK

a

466

4.01

1

6

DPS

a

5 975

51.44

18

7

SDP

a

1 595

13.73

5

SAVNIK

Number of registered voters

2404

Number of Council Seats being contested

31

Total Number of voters who voted

2138

% Turnout

88.93%

Number of Valid Votes

2116

Number of Invalid Votes

22

Threshold level (3%)

64

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

NS

a

124

5.86

1

2

NSS-SRS

 

38

1.79

0

3

DPS-SDP

a

981

46.36

15

4

SNP-SNS

a

973

45.98

15

TIVAT

Number of registered voters

10 293

Number of Council Seats being contested

32

Total Number of voters who voted

6 673

% Turnout

64.18%

Number of Valid Votes

6 534

Number of Invalid Votes

139

Threshold level (3%)

201

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

SPJ

a

256

3.9

1

2

DPS-SDP

a

2 684

41

14

3

LSCG

a

1 035

15.8

5

4

NSS-SRS

a

303

4.6

1

5

SNP-SNS-NS

a

2 256

34.5

11

ULCINJ

Preliminary results as of 19.05.02

Number of registered voters

15 567

Number of Council Seats being contested

32

Total Number of voters who voted

9704

% Turnout

62.33%

Number of Valid Votes

9609

Number of Invalid Votes

95

Threshold level (3%)

288 votes

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

PDP

a

1609

16.58%

6

2

DUA

a

2520

25.96%

9

3

DSCG

a

1688

17.39%

6

4

LSCG

a

493

5.08%

1

5

SNP

a

802

8.26%

2

6

Patriotic Colaition and JUL

a

338

3.48%

1

7

DPS/SDP

a

2159

22.24%

8

Repeated Voting

Repeat voting was held in two polling stations on Sunday 19 May.

ZABLJAK

Number of registered voters

3 451

Number of Council Seats being contested

31

Total Number of voters who voted

2 861

% Turnout

82.9%

Number of Valid Votes

2 835

Number of Invalid Votes

26

Threshold level (3%)

85

Results

Number on List

Name on Electoral List

Passed Threshold

Number of Votes

% of valid votes

Council Seats Won

1

SNP

a

990

34.92

11

2

NS

a

141

4.97

1

3

NSS-SRS

a

177

6.24

2

4

DPS

a

1111

39.18

13

5

LSCG

 

42

1.48

0

6

SDP

 

27

0.95

0

7

SNS

a

347

12.23

4

APPENDIX V: OSCE/ODIHR/CLRAE preliminary statement following the elections

Republic of Montenegro
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Municipal Elections – 15 May 2002

INTERNATIONAL ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION

Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions

Podgorica, 16 May 2002 – The International Election Observation Mission (IEOM) for the 15 May 2002 elections of Councillors to Municipal Assemblies in the Republic of Montenegro, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is a joint effort of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) and the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE).

PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS

The 15 May 2002 elections of Councillors to Municipal Assemblies in the Republic of Montenegro, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, generally were conducted in accordance with international commitments and standards for democratic elections. The elections built upon progress noted during the 2000 early municipal by-elections and 2001 parliamentary elections in the Republic, though shortcomings remain.

The international commitments and standards for democratic elections are formulated in the 1990 Copenhagen Document, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and UN resolutions and other documents. These criteria require that the vote be universal, secrete, accountable, transparent, free, fair, and equal.

The municipal elections were overshadowed by the breakdown of the governing coalition and anticipated changes in the State status. The majority of political parties viewed the elections as a test of their support in the run-up to presidential and possible early parliamentary elections later this year.

Features contributing to this positive evaluation include:

    - Broad participation of political parties and coalitions in the elections, including parties representing national minorities;
    - Continued improvement of the accuracy and transparency of the voter registers;
    - Representation of political parties on election commissions at all levels; and
    - Broad access for domestic observer organizations to monitor the polling and counting.

As during previous elections, the voter registers again were contentious. The EOM followed up on numerous complaints on the issue and found that the accuracy of voter registers had further improved, although a small number of errors well within the parameters of established democracies with similar registration systems still remained. Moreover, the EOM found no evidence to support allegations that deliberate attempts were made to manipulate the voter registers. Nor did the EOM find evidence to question the integrity of the voter registers.

A broad range of electronic and print media, including a TV channel devoted exclusively to the pre-election campaign, provided voters with sufficient information. However, all media were biased.

While noting the strengths of the electoral framework in Montenegro, other shortcomings remain, including:

    - Control of electoral mandates by political parties and coalitions;
    - Lack of uniformity in the administration of the elections resulting from a passive role adopted by the Republic Election Commission;
    - Blurring of State and political party functions;
    - Violation of the campaign silence period by the print media; and
    - Isolated incidents of violence.

On election day, the voting and counting processes were carried out largely in accordance with the legal and procedural requirements and in a calm atmosphere. The 70% turnout was a strong indication of high voter interest. The few shortcoming noted on election day involved isolated incidents of violence and insufficient attention to the secrecy of the vote.

The OSCE/ODIHR and the CLRAE are prepared to assist the authorities and civil society of Montenegro to overcome the remaining challenges and to build on the progress already accomplished in previous elections.

PRELIMINARY FINDINGS

Background

The 15 May 2002 municipal elections in 19 of the 21 municipalities of the Republic of Montenegro/ Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) took place in a dynamic political environment. Elections did not take place in Podgorica and Herceg Novi where early municipal elections were held in 2000. The breakdown of the governing coalition brought on by impending changes in State status shaped the context of the elections. Another factor was the adoption by the FRY Parliament of the Law on Co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY).

On 14 March 2002, Montenegrin, Serbian, and federal officials with European Union mediation signed the Belgrade Agreement proposing to restructure relations between Serbia and Montenegro, to adopt a new Constitutional Charter, and to replace the FRY with “Serbia and Montenegro”. The Belgrade Agreement effectively ended plans for holding a referendum on the independence of Montenegro in the immediate future, significantly impacting the political landscape in the Republic.

In April 2002, the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro (LSCG) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) withdrew support for the Government headed by the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) of President Milo Djukanovic. The SDP and the Liberal Alliance interpreted the Belgrade Agreement as failure by the DPS to fulfil its election promise to hold a referendum. On 19 April, the Prime Minister returned his mandate to the President, but later informed that he did not resign. The prolonged debate surrounding the return of the mandate provoked speculation in the media about the possibility of early parliamentary elections.

The main opposition party, the Socialist People’s Party (SNP) came under criticism for finally agreeing to support in the Federal Parliament the Law on Co-operation with the ICTY. Thus, with republican presidential elections scheduled for the fall and speculations about early parliamentary elections, the local elections provided insight into the level of support enjoyed by parties.

Legislative Framework

The legislative framework for the municipal elections, consisting of the Constitution, the Law on the Election of Councillors and Representatives (hereinafter the “Election Law”), the Law on the Voters’ Register, and other laws, provides an adequate basis for democratic elections. However, two features of the system of distribution and control of electoral mandates are not conducive to the development of democratic institutions.

First, the election law provides that only one half of the seats won by a party or coalition is allotted to its candidates according to the order of the candidates on the electoral list. Other candidates on the list fill the second half of the seats at the discretion of the party or coalition. Thus, voters do not necessarily know which candidates they are electing. Second, the electoral mandate belongs to the party and not to the elected councillor. In the event an elected councillor ceases to be a member of a party, the party has the right to strip the mandate from the individual and assign it to another candidate on its electoral list.

The OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe repeatedly have brought these issues to the attention of the authorities and the political parties in Montenegro for revision, including after the 2000 and 2001 elections, but to no avail.

Election Administration

A three-tiered election administration in Montenegro includes the Republican Election Commission (REC), the Municipal Election Commissions (MEC), and the Polling Boards (PB). Political parties were represented at all levels. Although some parties criticized the dominance of polling board presidencies by the DPS in several municipalities, all parties gave general support for the work of the commissions.
While the Election Law requires the REC “to coordinate and supervise” the elections, the REC interpreted its role primarily as an appellate body for decisions of MECs. In addition, the REC did not have the mandate to issue binding instructions and undertook a limited number of other tasks such as accreditation of observers and organization of prison voting. This resulted in a lack of uniformity, in particular in the supply of ultraviolet lamps, indelible ink, and ballot boxes. Thus, the MECs were responsible for administering these elections.
The prolonged period of holidays between 1 and 6 May adversely affected the preparations for these elections as well.

Election Campaign

Thirty-two parties, some of which joined in 11 coalitions, contested the elections. In addition, one citizens’ group registered an electoral list in Budva. The major coalitions included:

    · DPS and SDP in 10 municipalities;
    · SNP, Serbian People’s Party (SNS), and People’s Party (NS) in 9 municipalities;
    · SNP and SNS in 6 municipalities
    · People’s Socialist Party (NSS) and Serbian Radical Party (SRS) in all 19 municipalities

The main coalitions during the 2001 parliamentary election, the DPS/SDP and SNP/SNS/NS, competed in five municipalities: Budva, Danilovgrad, Kotor, Niksic, and Tivat. The Liberal Alliance ran alone in 17 municipalities and the NS in nine.

Eleven parties, including three coalitions, representing national minorities participated in the elections. Montenegro has a positive record for the integration of national minorities into the electoral process. While the Albanian and Bosniac minorities have their own parties, both groups also have integrated into other parties, particularly the DPS.

The economy, privatisation, social policy, and local issues were important campaign themes. The future status of Montenegro remained topical. Anonymous campaign posters targeting the SNP with reference to the Law on Co-operation with the ICTY appeared in a number of municipalities. However, the campaign was calm and quiet in general. Most parties preferred door-to-door campaigning and small meetings instead of large campaign rallies, although this changed to some extent in a number of municipalities as election day drew near.

Several parties complained about vote buying, intimidation of voters, pressure on employees to vote for certain parties, and abuse of State resources during the campaign. However, the EOM did not receive any evidence documenting these allegations. The EOM is aware of only 6 MEC decisions that were appealed to the REC. The REC did not reverse any MEC decision – 4 of the appeals were rejected as groundless, and 2 did not meet the deadline for submission. Although the REC decisions could be appealed to the Constitutional Court, none was filed.

Some parties claimed that a lack of sufficient funds hampered their ability to campaign. In particular, the Liberal Alliance requested that the REC intervene on its behalf to release municipal campaign funds. The REC declined, indicating that reimbursement of campaign expenditures is the responsibility of the municipalities under Article 7 of the Law on Political Party Financing. Nonetheless, provisions on campaign financing were not applied uniformly.

In Niksic and Budva, violent incidents took place against opposition activists. In Niksic, unidentified individuals attacked NSS/SRS supporters. The perpetrators have not been identified to date. In another incident in Niksic on the eve of elections, the SNP reported an explosion in their local office. The EOM inspected the premises and found little damage. A police investigation is ongoing. In Budva, the nightly “poster war” between supporters of the DPS/SDP and SNP/SNS/NS escalated into violence. The local Office of the Prosecutor opened an investigation into the case.

Participation of Women in the Electoral Process

The electoral lists submitted by parties and coalitions included 392 women candidates, representing 11.88% of the total. Five women headed electoral lists, and 27.04% of women candidates occupied positions in the top third of lists. Among the parties and coalitions that registered more than 100 candidates, the SDP had the highest number of women candidates with 18.5%. The two main coalitions, DPS/SDP and SNP/SNS/NS, allocated respectively 12.13% and 12.67% of their lists to women.

Party campaigns and election coverage in the media generally lacked information targeted at women. Awareness of women’s right to equal participation in politics remains limited.

Voter Registers

A remarkable level of transparency characterizes the voter registers in Montenegro. The law ensures that all political parties receive both electronic and hard copies of the register at a very early stage of the electoral process, thereby affording them full opportunity to audit the register. The law also allows the parties to inspect the archives of the Ministry of Interior (MI) regarding permanent residence and ID cards. During the pre-election period, the MI provided information about 76,490 individual records to parties. The law also permits citizens to inspect the voter registers, but the practice is not uniform across the Republic. In some municipalities, lists are displayed for inspection in the local community offices (mjestna zajednica) and in others at the municipal office.

Only municipal authorities can amend the Municipal Voter Registers (MVR), provided they have paper evidence of changes from the municipal Civil Status Offices (CSO) or the local branches of the MI. In a positive development, in May 2001 the Constitutional Court abolished the right of political parties to request changes to the voter register without the knowledge of subject citizens.

The Secretariat for Development (SD) maintains an electronic Central Voter Register (CVR), a merged compilation of the MVRs from all 21 municipalities. The CVR enables the identification of potential duplicate records in the MVRs. However, the SD cannot change the CVR, and instead is expected to inform other relevant agencies of potential problems for action.

The local branches of the MI register and de-register the permanent residence and address of citizens; issue a unique civil number (JMBG); provide evidence for citizenship based on date of first declared permanent residence in the Republic; and issue ID cards according to permanent residence. Citizens must report changes of permanent residence to the local branches of MI.

The EOM received numerous complaints about the voter registers, investigated these, and found the following:

A complaint submitted by the LSCG regarding some 42 suspected duplicate records with identical JMBGs was well founded. The same complaint also alleged an additional 615 duplicate records due to identical old ID registration numbers. This part of the complaint was not accurate as only 25 records are likely to be duplicates, and another 25 must be verified for possible but unlikely duplication. In the vast majority of cases, the individuals with suspected duplicate records were in fact different people.

Another complaint from the LSCG alleged that persons known to be deceased are on the voter registers. However, investigation showed that the individuals named in the complaint were not registered as deceased in the municipal records. The same complaint also provided a list of 137 citizens, mostly from Niksic but also from

Berane, whose date of birth is not recorded in the voter register and therefore, the complaint alleged, these individuals are deceased. Investigation showed that these individuals’ date-of-birth was omitted in the MVR in error. But without further investigation, this fact alone is not sufficient to conclude that the subject individuals are deceased.

A number of complaints from SNP concerned the deletion of records from the voter registers in Bijelo Polje, Niksic, and Budva due to missing information at the local MI on citizens’ permanent residence. Individuals whose records were deleted for such reasons have appealed and have been reinstated in the voter registers. The EOM received these complaints during the last week of the campaign and is still investigating the allegation.

Another complaint from the SNP dating back to 2001 related to an allegation that 613 names were deleted from the voter registers in Podgorica. While the SNP made no direct allegation of wrongful deletion of these names, the EOM undertook a thorough investigation of the matter in an attempt to exclude any insinuation of fraud. This investigation showed that the deletions were part of a legitimate procedure to update the voter register in Podgorica and no violations of the law were established. The OSCE/ODIHR will publish a detailed report on this matter shortly.

A third complaint from the SNP listed 69 names deleted from the voter register in Budva following the cancellation of their permanent residence status by the local police. The EOM established that these records were deleted from the police records for permanent residence and the voter register around the end of March 2001, prior to the parliamentary elections, without informing the concerned individuals. In this same period, 381 such deletions were made in Budva, 9 of which were subsequently reinstated following appeals. In addition, 38 similar decisions have been made elsewhere in the Republic during March and April 2001. Such unilateral action raises concerns as voters, albeit a small number, may be disenfranchised.

According to the Law on the Voter Register, citizens can request amendments to the voter register through the competent local authority until 25 days before the election. During an additional 15-day period, amendments can be requested only through the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court received 1,527 requests for changes to the voter register, 973 of which were requests for additions to the voter registers, 240 were requests for deletions from the registers, and the remainder were requests for other changes, additions, and corrections of data. The Supreme Court denied 8 requests that failed to meet the deadline for submission, rejected 68 requests, and granted the requests in the remaining 1,451 cases.

While the accuracy of the voter register has improved, errors still exist in spite of the significant effort undertaken during the past year to remove inaccuracies. However, the error rate of the voter registers in Montenegro falls well within the parameters of established democracies with similar registration systems. If citizens reported more regularly about changes in permanent residence or other civil events, the accuracy of the voter registers would be further enhanced. Nonetheless, the EOM found no evidence to support allegations that deliberate attempts were made to manipulate the voter registers. Nor did the EOM find evidence to question the integrity of the voter registers.

Media Coverage of the Pre-Election Period

Voters in Montenegro have access to a broad range of print and broadcast media with the exception of some northern municipalities where the electronic media has limited reach. The highly regulated State media generally fulfilled its obligations to the contestants as prescribed by law, but overall it favoured the incumbents. Most private media – print and electronic – openly supported one of the major political parties or coalitions. Strict rules for electoral coverage reduced the ability of State media to analyse political issues, no debates were broadcast, and the Parliamentary Channel format failed to present interesting political discourse.

On 30 April, the National Assembly of Montenegro adopted a regulation establishing the “Rules of Media Presentation for Submitters of Electoral Lists”. The majority of these rules applied to the State media and required them to provide equal access to all participants. After the regulation was adopted, the electronic State media shifted all electoral coverage to the Parliamentary Channel, which also offered equal free airtime to all contestants.

Only parties with substantial financial resources could purchase ads. Media outlets did not comply with the requirement that paid advertisements must be designated as “Paid Election Spots and Advertisements”. Dan and Glas Crnogorca violated the 48-hour silent period before the elections, and Glas Crnogorca also published an opinion poll on 12 May in violation of the law.

The EOM monitored the print media – Pobjeda, Vijesti, Dan, Glas Crnogorca, and Publika – and the broadcast media – RTCG1, the Parliamentary Channel, TV Elmag, IN TV, and the Yugoslav station Yu Info.

The State-owned RTCG1 generally met the provisions of the media regulations prohibiting pre-election campaign coverage during its news programs, but favoured the Government in its overall programming.

The two private channels, TV Elmag and IN TV did not offer free airtime to contestants. Both channels carried limited coverage of political issues and the electoral campaign. During its news programs, TV Elmag provided generally neutral political coverage to all participants. IN TV devoted most of its coverage to the Government and the DPS. Yu Info, monitored as a sample from 23-30 April, provided limited coverage of the election campaign.

Pobjeda devoted more than half its political content to the Government, President Djukanovic, and the DPS. The private dailies Publika and Vijesti also provided positive coverage of the DPS and SDP. However, Dan and Glas Crnogorca tended to devote positive political coverage to the SNP and its partners, and reported negatively on the Government and the President.

Domestic Observers

Two domestic observer groups received accreditation to observe the elections – the Centre for Democratic Transition (CDT) and the Centre for Monitoring Elections (CEMI). The latter monitored the elections in co-operation with the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID) from Belgrade.

CDT and CEMI accredited approximately 600 and 1,000 observers respectively, covering an overwhelming majority of the 849 polling stations. Both organized parallel vote tabulations. Their activities provided an exceptional level of scrutiny of the electoral process.

Election Day

On election day, voting and counting processes were carried out largely in accordance with the legal and procedural requirements, and the turnout of over 70% was a solid indication of the high voter interest. In 80% of polling stations observed, non-partisan domestic observers were present. Although the elections took place in a generally calm atmosphere, isolated violent incidents were reported, including shooting outside of one polling station in Budva and the stabbing of a party activist in Niksic following the vote count.

The large majority of observers characterized the voting (86%) and counting (81%) as “good” or “excellent.” A small number of irregularities were noted, in particular with the secrecy of the vote (6%), stamping of ballots in advance (4%), and identification (1%) and ink (1%) checks. Serious violations such as voters failing to sign the voter register led to the cancellation of voting in at least one polling station. Procedures for mobile voting and voting in prisons did not always provide for sufficient secrecy of the ballot, in particular when the number voters was small. No significant problems were observed concerning the vote count.

This statement also is available in Serbian.
However, the English text remains the only official version.

MISSION INFORMATION & ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Mr. Nikolai Vulchanov (Bulgaria) heads the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission. Mr. Tomas Jirsa (Czech Republic) leads the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe short-term observation delegation

The IEOM issues this statement before the final certification of the election results and before a complete analysis of the IEOM observation findings. The OSCE/ODIHR and the CoE/CLRAE will issue comprehensive reports shortly after the completion of the electoral process.

This statement is based on the election preparations and campaign observations of eight election experts of the OSCE/ODIHR EOM stationed in Podgorica and 10 long-term observers deployed in Berane, Bijelo Polje, Budva, Niksic, and Pljevlja for three weeks prior to election day. The statement also incorporates the election day findings of 114 observers, including 9 from the CLRAE, reporting from some 500 polling stations out of a total of 849 polling stations in all 19 Municipalities where elections were held.

The IEOM wishes to express appreciation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, the Republic Election Commission, and other Republic and Municipal authorities of Montenegro for their cooperation and assistance during the course of the observation.

Republic of Montenegro
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Municipal Elections – 15 May 2002

INTERNATIONAL ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION

Press Release
Montenegrin municipal elections generally in line with international standards

PODGORICA, 16 May 2002 – Yesterday’s municipal elections in Montenegro, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia generally were conducted in accordance with OSCE commitments for democratic elections and Council of Europe standards, concluded the International Election Observation Mission in a statement issued today (attached).

“The elections built upon the progress we noted during the early 2000 municipal elections and last year’s parliamentary elections, but some shortcomings still remain”, said Nikolai Vulchanov, Head of the Election Observation Mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

“The voting and counting yesterday were largely in accordance with the legal requirements and carried out in a calm atmosphere. However the secrecy of voting could improve”, said Tomas Jirsa, head of the delegation of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE).

The international observers noted that voters were able to choose between a wide range of political parties and coalitions, including parties representing national minorities. Broad access to information was provided through both the electronic and print media, including a TV channel devoted exclusively to the election campaign. The accuracy and transparency of voter registers was further improved, and political parties were well represented on election commissions at all levels. Domestic observers monitored the voting and counting procedures effectively.

While noting the strengths of the electoral framework, the international monitors also observed some shortcomings. The control of election mandates by political parties and coalitions remains a key concern, as this practice in effect prevents voters from knowing which candidates they are electing. There were isolated incidents of violence. The blurring of State and political party functions caused concern as well. The passive role assumed by the Republic Election Commission resulted in a lack of uniformity in the administration of the elections. All media in general were biased and the print media violated the campaign silence period.

Mission Information
The International Election Observation Mission is a joint undertaking by the OSCE/ODIHR and the CLRAE. The OSCE/ODIHR long-term observation mission was established in mid-April and comprises of 18 election experts and long-term observers. For election day, the International Election Observation Mission deployed 114 short-term observers, including 9 from the CLRAE.

The OSCE/ODIHR and the CLRAE will issue comprehensive reports on these elections shortly after the completion of the electoral process.

APPENDIX VI: Preliminary Report of the Centre for Democratic Transition
Local Elections, May 2002

General Assessment of the Process

The Centre for Democratic Transition considers that the local elections held on 15 May in 19 Montenegrin municipalities enabled local parliaments to be constituted in a way, which will represent the expressed will of the citizens. In the majority of towns, the campaign was conducted in a correct, or at least acceptable, atmosphere. However, several physical attacks or clashes that occurred on political grounds indicate that some politicians and activists who wanted to win the elections do not understand that the victory is achieved through quality presentation of political programs and not through threats and intimidation of political opponents.

CDT Activities

The Centre followed the activities of political parties on the basis of the Agreement of Rules of Conduct during the Campaign for Local Elections, which was signed by six political parties. We also monitored the voting process in over 85 percent of polling stations in all 19 municipalities with our monitors and mobile teams on election day.

The Campaign

During the campaign, the Centre strongly condemned through its public statements the physical attack on a candidate and activist from the Patriotic Coalition for Yugoslavia on 1 May in Niksic, as well as the physical conflict between activists of political parties on 8 May in Budva (i.e., the alleged attack on the activists from Together for Budva by the activists from the Democratic Party of Socialists). However, we note that so far the Ministry of Interior has not given any information to the public about the perpetrators of these events. In the same way, we condemn the incident on 14 May with an explosive device in the facilities of the Socialist People’s Party in Niksic.

We also consider unacceptable the printing and distribution of anonymous propaganda material with the text “Together for the Hague” and, unfortunately, right before election day, the distribution throughout Montenegro of anonymous material with the text “Protect your back, Pedja’s coming” and “Goodbye Yugoslavia.”

Hanging of posters on public and private property that was not designated for that purpose, especially on traffic signs, is unacceptable and, unfortunately, according to our observations, was practiced by DPS, SNP, LSCG, Patriotic Coalition, People’s Party and SDP – and, most likely, by other parties as well.

The vocabulary of certain party representatives did not represent the grounds for improving cooperation among parties but rather created an environment of unnecessary political tensions. In addition to some examples that we mentioned in our last assessment of the campaign, we can now mention other examples: “so-called President of Montenegro,” “pretender,” “to destroy the mob-police regime” and “trading with people, principles and the state.”

Based on the information we received and allegations we are investigating, some municipal governments did not completely respect the provisions of the law on financing political parties and did not provide financial means to political parties on time for the purposes of the election campaign. We would like to say that, if these allegations are true, equal conditions for all participants in the election contest were not fulfilled.

Some of the most serious problems of this campaign were complaints from several parties about alleged pressures, blackmail and bribery of voters, as well as about manipulation of the Register of Voters. We would emphasize the burden of proof belongs to those who made these allegations and to the competent state organs. We would also note that an important of element of fair and democratic elections is an environment of trust among the citizens in the state institutions and organs, as well as respect for the law.

Election Silence

The Center notes that the election law mandates election silence 48 hours before election day but, unfortunately, we noted several examples of violations of this silence:

In Berane on 13 May, Radio Station Boje broadcast a jingle inviting people to circle #3 (SDP) on the ballot paper;
On 13 May, daily Glas Crnogoraca publicized a report from the musical “happening” organized by the coalition “Together for Niksic” (SNP-NS-SNS) wherein the title, photographs and their written descriptions could be considered to be an indirect violation of the election silence.

Election Day

Based on the reports of its monitors, the Centre for Democratic Transition judges that election day took place in accordance with the election procedure and that violations of the election procedure noted in several polling stations did not influence significantly the regularity of the elections.

In Bar, polling station 23 (primary school Mrkojevici), 27 voters did not sign the Book of Voters, which caused the closure of the polling station.

In Ulcinj, polling stations 17 and 31, were closed because several voters did not sign the Book of Voters and some people who were not on the Register of Voters were allowed to vote.

In Mojkovac, polling station 15 (Zari), a misunderstanding in the work of the polling board occurred – and because of that, voting was temporarily suspended at around 11.00.

In Savnik, polling station 15 (Tusina), a voter purposely ripped the control coupon.

In at least 20 polling stations in Niksic, cases of public voting were noted. In those polling stations, from 2 to 15 citizens on average voted in that way and 90 percent of them voted for the DPS-SDP coalition.

In Niksic, polling station 109 (kindergarten Ciciban), a voter voted publicly, threatening the members of the polling board.

In Budva, polling station 5 (Brajici), a member of the polling board violated the voting process by putting the invisible ink on the index finger of the left hand – although the other members of the polling board intervened. Also, at this polling station, a ballot paper with the control coupon was put into the ballot box, and one voter signed the Book of Voters twice.

In Mojkovac, polling station 7 (Stevanovac), at about 19.00 the number of voters who had voted was 70 percent but not one of them had signed the Book of Voters.

We strongly condemn the attack on an LSCG member of the polling board in polling station in Niksic (Dragova Luka) that occurred about 22.30 after the polling station was closed.

Recommendations

Although the general assessment of the election laws is good, certain inaccuracies should be eliminated or clarified in a better manner in order to improve the election process. While monitoring the campaign of the political parties and on election day, the Centre faced several of these examples, which suggest the following:

The method of financing of political parties should be clarified;
The definition of election silence should be clarified and violations of said election silence should be sanctioned;
Reasons for dismissing the polling boards should be reviewed or modified and, in any case, should be implemented in accordance with the law;
More attention should be paid to education of the municipal election commissions and polling boards.

In addition, in some countries, there are limitations or prohibitions on participation of the representatives of state institutions and organs in the pre-election campaign. With the goal to separate the state and governing parties, we believe that such election practice or legal regulations in Montenegro could contribute to the conduct of fair and democratic elections.

We believe that the post-election period is the right time to introduce new solutions that can be implemented in the next elections. CDT will provide more detailed analysis and suggestions for new solutions regarding the election laws in its final report.

Since the data processing is still underway and the complaint period is still open, this is just a preliminary report. The Centre for Democratic Transition will present to the public, political parties and international and domestic institutions a final report with a full analysis of the election process in three weeks.

Podgorica, 16 May 2002

For further information and complete appendix please contact webcplre@coe.int



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