Podgorica, October 12, 2022.
Women’s Rights Center supports the reaction of the Center for Democratic Transition, pointing out the inadmissible omissions in the work of municipal election commissions, which illegally declared as many as 23 electoral lists for the upcoming local elections. These lists are contrary to the provisions of the Law on the Election of Councilors (ZOIP) which states that at least 30% of candidates of the underrepresented gender must be on the electoral list and that among every four candidates on the list there must be at least one candidate of the underrepresented gender (Article 39a).
It is intolerable that such illegalities take place 11 years after the adoption of electoral quotas, which seek to improve the still insufficient political participation of women. The aforementioned provisions of the Law on the Election of Councilors and Members of Parliament have been in force for more than a decade, so such continuous failures that occur during local elections indicate that this is not a technical failure, but rather a clear intention to prevent greater political participation of women, without which we cannot talk about a democratic society.
We remind you that the issue of insufficient political participation of women, especially representatives of minorities and marginalized groups, is the subject of continuous criticism by important international actors, such as the European Commission, the OSCE and the UN Committee on the Prohibition of Discrimination against Women, and that such failures directly undermine the European path and the status of Montenegro before the international bodies that monitor the situation in the country.
Therefore, we demand that the National Election Commission stops playing the role of a passive observer, to more carefully monitor compliance with the mentioned provisions of the Law on the Election of Councilors and Members of Parliament, instead of leaving its duties to the NGO sector, which representatives, as many times before, are the only ones seriously engaged in monitoring the electoral process.
We also demand that the state prosecutor’s office initiate proceedings to determine the responsibility of the members of the municipal election commissions in Kolašin, Plav, Rožaje, Bar, Bijelo Polje, Plužine, Danilovgrad, Žabljak and Pljevlja, who approved illegal electoral lists.
And finally, we ask citizens not to vote for those political parties that have shown a lack of democratic potential by preventing women’s political participation.
Women’s Rights Center will inform the EU Delegation in Montenegro and the OSCE about these illegalities, which, as part of their mandate, carefully monitor the legality of the implementation of electoral processes in Montenegro.