Kovačević: SEC and Anti-Corruption Agency are too passive

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President of the Centre for Democratic Transition (CDT), Milica Kovacevic, said in an interview with Pobjeda daily that the State Electoral Commission (SEC) and the Agency for the Prevention of corruption are way too passive and rarely communicating with the public.

Kovačević also underlined the dissatisfaction with the work of Parliament, which failed to establish a Committee to monitor the electoral process since 2014. Although the elections were announced, the NEC continues to not inform the public about the date of sessions and does not publish information from the meetings.

This institution, according to the findings of the CDT, did hold important sessions after the elections were formally announced, and discussed topics important for the organization of the electoral process, which would interest the public, but failed to make a single announcement about them.

This practice violates the SEC’s own Rules of Procedure, the latest version of which is not even published on their website, Kovacevic said for the daily.

CDT recently came out with alarming information about non-disclosure of information on the consumption of public resources in the election period. Are institutions and municipalities violating the law on financing of political parties and election campaigns in some other way as well, and how?

KOVAČEVIĆ: Besides the obligation to regularly report their spending, all budget-spending units at the state and local level, as well as public enterprises, are also required submit these data to the working body of the Parliament responsible for monitoring application of the spending Law and other regulations of importance for building trust in the electoral process. But at the moment, there’s no one to deliver these data to – because the body to monitor them hasn’t even been formed yet. There is some indication that this might happen today, but it hasn’t happened since 2014.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled for the 16th of October. Is the State Election Commission, in your opinion, ready for their organization?

KOVACEVIC: It is difficult to assess the extent to which the SEC is equipped to organize the elections, due to the lack of transparency of the institution and its rare communications with the public.

Are other competent institutions ready to monitor the electoral process?

KOVAČEVIĆ: We have heard statements from different officials, and believe not everyone is ready. However, if all institutions invest enough effort to meet their obligations, there is no reason to think things won’t be ready in three months. There are no unsolvable issues and insurmountable obstacles, if all available resources of the society are properly utilized. Some institutions are already moving in that direction and seeking cooperation and assistance.

And the newly formed Agency for prevention of corruption?

KOVACEVIC: The Agency is yet another institution involved in the electoral process very poorly involved in communication with the public. What we do know is that they announced adoption of a plan for supervision and control. We’ll see how the capacities of the Agency match to what they have planned, but especially in relation to how they fulfill their obligations. In the elections in Tivat, the Agency technically did everything it planned. However, with the core issues, it has refused to take responsibility and confront the political parties. For example, in our opinion, they failed to process the illegal campaign financing from the funds given to parties for their regular work.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro