Since 1997, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has engaged electoral stakeholders on strengthening the electoral process in Montenegro, with particular focus on electoral reform, legal frameworks, voter education and anti-corruption. IFES has worked with election commissions, state institutions, civil society and media outlets to improve cooperation and promote secure elections.
Under IFES’ Regional Europe program, Montenegrin stakeholders are engaged in a number of activities designed to continue support to election administrators. This includes building capacity in cybersecurity and elections through IFES’ Regional Election Technology and Cyber-Hygiene course developed for election management bodies and other electoral stakeholders. Through the Europe and Eurasia Election Management Body Working Group on Social Media, Disinformation and Electoral Integrity, Montenegrin election officials are also addressing key challenges to information integrity in the electoral process.
IFES is engaging the Center for Monitoring and Research (CeMI) in Montenegro on two projects. Under the State Department-supported “Effective Combat Against Corruption” project, IFES and the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative (CEELI) Institute are working with CeMI to shift incentives around implementation of international and regional anti-corruption standards and commitments. With technical assistance, coordination and advocacy support from IFES and CEELI, CeMI is strengthening the Montenegrin Agency for the Prevention of Corruption’s approach to monitoring and control of political finance during election campaigns. They are also engaging with the Council of Europe and the Montenegrin judiciary on enhancing transparency and disciplinary processes.
Under a “Global Election Integrity” program funded by Facebook, IFES is also supporting CeMI’s efforts to monitor social media for evidence of abuse of state resources and instances of mis- and disinformation in electoral campaigns. Lessons from this project are being leveraged to raise voter awareness of online election violations, and to inform parallel monitoring initiatives among a growing civil society network in Eastern Europe working for transparent and fair elections.
Current IFES programs in Montenegro are funded under the Global Elections and Political Transitions mechanism sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and Facebook.