By Vladimir Krulj
In the difficult environment of managing a public health pandemic because of the coronavirus, Montenegro would be well advised to invite international support organisations to monitor the upcoming parliamentary elections later this year, to ensure that there are no politically motivated restrictive measures. The Coronavirus pandemic should not be used as a pretext for limiting the transparent election process. such a move risks the governmentto negative criticism of their commitment to democracy and deal a serious blow that would impact on the reputation for any future Government for many years.
To the contrary, the presence of international observers to monitor the process during such difficult times would be crucial for protecting these fundamentals for Montenegro in the context of their ongoing EU accession process.
Election observation today is the norm with 85% of all elections in new democracies organising the involvement of international agencies to monitor their operation. In today's world, failure to invite election observers could be misinterpreted as meaning that the country is not guided by basic democratic principles, and give rise to accusations that the society tolerates electoral malpractice.
International observers representing diverse political interests, academic and professional expertise give credibility to the full international legitimacy of the election process and can lend important support to the country during its transition to the democratic set of norms established by EU.
Safe, peaceful, free and fair elections will foster democratic development in Montenegro, reinforce its sovereignty and independence, and pave the way for greater cooperation with the EU and economic prosperity for the Montenegran people.
This article was first published in EU Reporter, www.eureporter.eu, and is replicated here with their permission.
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