EPDE Policy Alert - Electoral Reform in Ukraine #1

October 2017, Kyiv-Berlin
Electoral reform is currently not on the agenda of the Ukrainian Parliament. However, with the next parliamentary elections scheduled for 2019, the Parliament should start to discuss the already existing draft laws on parliamentary elections and the Elections Code right now. Even though reform of the electoral law and introduction of a proportional electoral system with open party lists are part of a 2014 agreement of the ruling coalition, Ukrainian politicians and lawmakers have been drawing attention away from the reforms.

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Fake observation at Russian elections: Golos portraits the "electoral tourists"

October 2017, Moscow
There were no official international observers at the September 10, 2017 elections, but election commissions and media reported about a group of foreigners who came to Russia with the informal status of “foreign experts.” Despite the fact that they had no official status of international/foreign observers, and, according to Russian law, could not be present in the voting premises, they were welcomed by the election commissions and allowed to spend time at the polling stations. A report by Golos analyses the background and portraits the "tourists".

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Photo: Opora

No significant law violations in run-up to Ukrainian local elections

October 2017, Kyiv-Berlin
On October 29, local elections will take place in 202 newly united territorial communities across Ukraine. According to a report by EPDE member OPORA, relatively few election law violations were committed during the formation of election commissions and their first meetings. At the same time, lack of coordination between the Law of Ukraine on Local Elections and other Ukrainian laws caused complications in a number of important procedures. Starting on October 23, EPDE will conduct a press trip to these elections.

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New Moldovan election law is partly unconstitutional, study shows

October 2017, Chisinau
A new study by Moldovan EPDE member Promo-Lex shows that the recently approved mixed-member electoral system will have negative consequences on democracy and civil society in that country. The study argues that the provision stipulating that a person has to have a domicile in order to exercise his/her right to vote in a single-member constituency is unconstitutional, discriminatory, and confining, because it limits the right to vote for about 155,683 of voters with no domicile or residence—nearly 5% of all registered voters.

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Georgia keeps controversial mixed voting system

October 2017, Tbilisi
On September 26, the Parliament of Georgia passed constitutional changes affecting the electoral system. Despite heavy protests by the opposition, civil society, and the Venice Commission, the mixed voting system will not be abolished until 2020. In the run-up to the local elections of October 21, ISFED has condemned conflicts of interests, illegal participation in campaigning, misuse of administrative resources, and the increasing trend of voter intimidation.

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EMDS criticizes infringement of fundamental freedoms in Azerbaijan

October 2017, Baku
EPDE member EMDS carried out an assessment of the implementation of election-related recommendations by OSCE and the Council of Europe in Azerbaijan. EMDS notes with regret that the Government of Azerbaijan has taken steps towards restricting freedom of expression on the internet and criminalizing unauthorized assemblies. Starting from the end of 2013, the operation of NGOs has effectively been prohibited in Azerbaijan.

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Photo: Marcin Konsek / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

HCA Vanadzor report finds lack of implementation of recommendations

October 2017, Yerevan
In Armenia, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor analyzed the recommendations by international election observers and their implementation in the 2017 National Assembly and Yerevan City Council Elections. According to the report, the current Electoral Code includes several recommendations by OSCE/ODIHR, yet many of these have not been properly adopted. The lack of open discussions during the drafting of the code, which would have helped increase public trust toward electoral processes, was unfortunate.

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Photo: KLMircea

Challenges, opportunities, and dangers associated with domestic election observation in Turkey

October 2017, Istanbul-Berlin
According to a new EPDE report evaluating the role of civil society organizations in the electoral process in Turkey, the country has seen a dramatic decline in the protection of human rights and freedoms in recent years. Analyzing the current political environment in Turkey, the report discusses opportunities for Turkish CSOs to function, looks at the challenges and successes they encounter in domestic election observation, and outlines EPDE’s recommendations on domestic election observation for the country’s upcoming elections.

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"Golos" analyses German elections

October 2017, Berlin
Upon invitation of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), several experts and analysts of "Golos", the Russian Movement for Defence of Voters' Rights, took part in a study mission to the German federal election. Within their one-week stay, they discussed important questions related to the elections with German authorities, committees, political scientists, experts and journalists. On Election Day, they visited several polling stations of Berlin and Brandenburg and analysed the election process on-site.

 

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NEW DEADLINE - Call for Applications: Press trip to Ukrainian elections

September 2017, Berlin
On the occasion of the Ukrainian local elections on 29 October 2017, the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE)
October 2017 will organize a press trip to Ukraine for German-speaking journalists, from 23 to 30 October 2017. Please see the full details of this call (in German language).

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