Montenegro election: fundamental freedoms respected; governing party candidate had institutional advantage

Fundamental freedoms were respected in the 15 April Montenegro presidential election, although the governing party candidate held an institutional advantage, the international observers concluded in a preliminary statement today. Candidates campaigned freely, and the media provided the contestants with a platform to present their views, but the lack of analytical reporting and absence of the frontrunner in the televised debates reduced voters’ opportunity to make an informed choice, the statement says.

“Yesterday, voting was well organised, and voters made their choice among a wide range of candidates. As for the election campaign, there were reported cases of the misuse of state resources and credible allegations of pressure on voters in favour of the ruling party candidate,” said Jonas Gunnarsson (Sweden, SOC), head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

“Regrettably, those problems are recurrent from past elections in Montenegro. Television debates among presidential candidates are a democratic procedure allowing voters to make an informed choice, and the PACE delegation regrets that the ruling party candidate did not take part in the debates.”