Elections 2020: Biggest Turnout Since Introduction of Multiparty System in MNE

By , 30 Aug 2020, 15:27 PM Politics
Elections 2020: Biggest Turnout Since Introduction of Multiparty System in MNE Illustration, Source: Independent Balkan News Agency
August 30, 2020 - Parliamentary elections are being held in Montenegro today, the eleventh since the introduction of the multiparty system in Montenegro, and the fifth since the restoration of independence in 2006, in which six coalitions and five political parties are participating.
Five hundred forty thousand twenty-six (540,026) citizens have the right to vote. The parliamentary elections are monitored by 2,089 observers, of whom 265 are foreign observers. There are 1,217 polling stations in Montenegro, which are open from 7 am to 8 pm. Today, local elections are being held in Budva, Kotor, Tivat, Andrijevica, and Gusinje.

SEC: 51.51% of citizens voted, without significant irregularities

In the parliamentary and local elections in five municipalities in Montenegro, 278,151 voters, or 51.51 percent voted by 1 pm, the State Election Commission (SEC) announced. As SEC President Aleksa Ivanovic said, Municipal Election Commissions (MECs) did not report major irregularities during the election process. Everything, as he said, is mostly resolved as it happens.
Ivanovic said that the SEC is familiar with issues related to the operation of electronic identification devices. As he pointed out, these are being resolved in communication with the SEC, the MEC, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
"The SNP Nikšić Municipal Board reported to the SEC that at polling stations 108, 118 and 105, polling boards are not allowing authorized representatives and their deputies to monitor the postal-based election process. We have discussed these and similar dilemmas in recent days. One of the opinions we have prepared and published is that the SEC recommends that the commissioners' team for postal voting is composed in a parity manner of representatives of the government and the opposition to improve confidence in the election process further.

Election turnout to 1 pm:

Andrijevica: out of 4106 registered voters, 1766 or 43.01% voted
Bar: enrolled 39376, 21578 or 54,80% voted
Berane: 23729 enrolled, 14546 or 61.30% voted
Bijelo Polje: 39913 enrolled, 21972 or 55.05% voted
Budva: 18062 enrolled, 8489 or 47% voted
Cetinje: 13766 enrolled, 6635 or 48.22% voted
Danilovgrad: 13095 enrolled, 7202 or 55% voted
Gusinje: 4607 enrolled, 1229 or 26.68% voted
Herceg Novi: 25485 enrolled, 14256 or 55.94% voted
Kolašin: 6319 enrolled, 3564 or 56.4% voted
Kotor: 18478 enrolled, 7450 or 40.32% voted
Mojkovac: 6891 enrolled, 4704 or 68.26% voted
Nikšić: 58342 enrolled, 33681 or 57.73% voted
Petnjica: 6198 enrolled, 1697 or 27.38% voted
Plav: 9202 enrolled, 3724 or 40.47% voted
Plužine: 2436 enrolled, 1544 or 63.38% voted
Pljevlja: 25394 entered, 16506 or 65% voted
Podgorica: 152404 entered, 78107 or 51.25% voted
Rožaje: 22511 enrolled, 8034 or 35.69% voted
Šavnik: 1616 enrolled, 1105 or 68.38% voted
Tivat: 11797 enrolled, 5663 or 48% voted
Tuzi: 12142 enrolled, 5050 or 47.59% voted
Ulcinj: 20376 enrolled, 7543 or 37.02% voted
Žabljak: 3082 enrolled, 1783 or 57.85% voted
UIKS: 699 enrolled, 343 or 49.07% voted
 Earlier today, Ivanovic said that the MECs did not report any irregularities at the polling stations.
"Except for polling station number 29, Elementary school "Ilino Brdo" in Pljevlja. At this polling station, voting will be extended until 9:15 pm," Ivanovic said.
The President of the State Election Commission (SEC), Aleksa Ivanović, said at the first press conference that, according to the Municipal Election Commissions' information, polling stations were opened on time, except for polling station number 29, Ilino Brdo Elementary School in Pljevlja.
"According to the information obtained by the Municipal Election Commissions, polling stations were opened on time, except for polling station number 29, Elementary school "Ilino Brdo" in Pljevlja, which was not open until 8 am due to the existence of propaganda material at a distance of fewer than 100 meters from the polling station." said Ivanovic.
The Municipal Election Commission of Pljevlja, as he said, is working on resolving that issue, and voting at that polling station will be extended, according to the procedure.
Ivanovic also said that the Operational Room of the State Election Commission received several calls from the polling boards to solve a printer problem connected to the device for electronic identification of voters.
"Problems are being resolved in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior and the Municipal Election Commissions. At polling stations where it is not possible to solve the problem according to the procedure, polling boards will switch to voters' visual identification," Ivanovic said.
He called on all voters in Croja Gora to patiently express their political commitment in a peaceful atmosphere.

CEMI: Over 400 irregularities reported for Parliamentary and Local Elections

A total of 54.1% of voters voted by 1 pm, i.e., 33.4% more than in 2016, CEMI announced. So far, CeMI's legal team has received more than 400 reports of irregularities, significantly more than in previous years.
54.4 percent of voters voted in Podgorica, 48.6 percent in the north, and 57.2 percent in the south.
According to the data of CeMI observers from the field at the polling stations, many citizens are violating the NCT's recommendations on keeping physical distance, especially when it comes to waiting in line in front of the polling station.
CeMI PR coordinator Maja Bjelic said that 400 reports of non-compliance with election rules had been received.
"The Chairman is announcing the names and surnames of the voters and their ordinal number, which grossly violates the secrecy of the vote. Such conduct is a violation of Article 69 of the Law on Election of Councilors and Deputies," said Bjelic.
Observers noted insufficient consistency in applying National Coordination Team for Infectious Diseases' measures and SEC technical recommendations to reduce the risk of COVID-19.
Loud voices were heard at several polling stations, as well as the use of mobile phones.
CEMI observers reported an irregularity at the polling station Dom Vojske Crne Gore - Music Center, where a book with voters' names was briefly taken out of the building where the voting is taking place.
As she said, there were reports of mass violations of the rules on visual identification of voters at some polling stations when it comes to irregularities.
 "Namely, the observers of CEMI, but also a large number of citizens, reported violations of Article 68 of the Law on the Election of Councilors and Deputies and the SEC recommendations. The violation is of the nature that that the polling boards are not requiring the removal of the protective medical mask for visual identification of the voters, which potentially enables voting with someone else's identification document. "Loud utterance of names and surnames of voters by members of polling station staff was noticed during the identification of voters, which is contrary to the provisions of the Law," said Bjelic.
In Podgorica and Danilovgrad, voters were observed photographing the ballots and not folding the voting slip to place it in the ballot box.
 "The polling board in the Ulcinj elementary school" Pistula "is not ensuring monitoring of the election process by an authorized observer of CeMI. In this way, the provision of Article 111d of the Law on the Election of Councilors and Deputies has been violated," CEMI announced on Twitter.

Parties also point out election irregularities

Apart from CEMI and CDT, irregularities were pointed out by political parties.
Democratic Montenegro claims that some DPS activists monitor the turnout and record it in a parallel list, as well as that some individuals, as they say, require their colleagues to contact them when they go to the polls.
The Democrats announced that the vice president of the Democrats and the candidate for the deputy of the coalition "Peace is our nation," Vladimir Martinović, has been arrested and is in the police station. 
Martinović, as they claim, was detained because of the video he published, which allegedly shows Grujica Matović monitoring the turnout at 10 meters from the polling station and recording it in a parallel list.
The Coalition Crno Na Bijelo (Black on White) considers that the Police Administration's decision on the assignment of police officers to work tasks in other municipalities, which prevents them from exercising their right to vote, is inadmissible.
"The Black on White Coalition supports the Police Directorate officers who raised their voices against such a decision, wanting to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right and vote," the statement said.
After that, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Montenegro, Mevludin Nuhodžić, announced that all police officers would be enabled to exercise their right to vote.
The civic movement URA reported that near the polling station 25 in Cetinje "Chess Club Cetinje," there was propaganda material by the DPS, which appeared overnight.
"URA demands that the Communal Police sanction the DPS for pasting propaganda material near the polling station," the statement said.
CEMI has 1355 accredited observers.
The project to monitor the parliamentary and local elections was made possible by the British Embassy in Podgorica, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Norway in Belgrade.
CEMI's observation mission has 1,355 accredited observers. CEMI observers have been deployed at polling stations throughout Montenegro.

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