2015

Promo-LEX Association is hiring an International Expert on political parties funding

Promo-LEX Association, a non-government organization established in 2002 by a group of young lawyers with the aim at developing democracy in the Republic of Moldova, including in the Transnistrian region is looking to select International Experts on political parties funding who will work for 20 days during December 2015 – March 2016 both at distance (via e-mail, skype etc.) and in the country, together with the National/Promo-LEX experts.

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EPDE Annual Conference Took Place in Berlin, 14-15 December 2015

On 14 and 15 December 2015 a third Annual Conference of EPDE took place in Berlin. 20 top monitors from 14 EPDE member organizations participated in the conference. The election experts developed a strategy of election monitoring in the countries of the EU Eastern Partnership and in Russia for the coming years. A special guest, prof. Pippa Norris from the Harward University and the University of Sindey presented the Electoral Integrity Project.

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Armenia: Interviews with EPDE experts on the Technology of Stealing Votes [VIDEO]

Interviews at CIvilNet television with EPDE experts: Lene Wetteland, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Roman Udot, Movement Golos, Russia and Adam Busuleanu on the conduct of the Constitutional Referendum In Armenia. The experts present results and conclusions on the pre-referendum campaign and the voting day.

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Armenia: Referendum assessed as illegitimate by Citizen Observers and EPDE

Citizen Observer Initiative and the European Platform for Democratic Elections found an unprecedented number of violations on the December 6 Constitutional Reform.The referendum campaign was marred by massive misuse of administrative resources to campaign in favor of the constitutional changes and influencing the voting and tabulation process via control of electoral administration on the territorial and local levels. Inaccuracy of voter lists remained the most crucial issue considering the confidentiality of voter participation that leaves room for later manipulations. On the voting day, observers reported an unprecedented number of violations of the electoral law and international standards which had systemic character. Citizen observers and some of the international media reported intimidation and threats across the country. Numerous manipulations of the voter lists, violations during the voting and the vote count, as well as high number of cases of direct falsifications of results by electoral commissions influenced the final outcome of the referendum.

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Referendum in Armenia: EPDE opens media center in Yerevan

Yerevan, 1 December 2015: EPDE opens International Media Center in Yerevan, Armenia for the Constitutional Referendum scheduled on 6 December 2015. Domestic and international experts will provide exclusive information on the preparations for the referendum and the conduct of the voting day. Simultaneous English translation and live stream on the EPDE website will be provided during all press conferences.

 

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Ukraine 2015 Local Elections: EPDE Experts Reports

Election experts of the EPDE report on key aspects of the Ukraine Local Elections held in October and November 2015:  new election law, campaign in Donbass, so called "fake observation" and voting oportunities for Internally Displaced Persons. Also, 15 EPDE members assess the election day proceedings.The research project was founded by the EU, the German GIZ and the German-Polish Cooperation Foundation.

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source: apa.az

Azerbaijan: Parliamentary Elections Marred by Political Imprisonment, Violations of Freedoms to Assembly, Association, and Expression

EPDE notes with regret that the November 1, 2015, Parliamentary Elections were carried out amidst numerous incidents of political imprisonment and gross violations of freedoms to assembly, association, and expression. The nomination and registration stages of the elections were compromised by the exertion of pressure on candidates and their representatives during the signature collection process, along with the intimidation of voters, who were forced to withdraw their support signatures.

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Azerbaijan: Whitewashing of Flawed Parliamentary Elections Through PACE and Other EOMs

Baku, 5 November: EPDE expresses its concern over international election observation missions delegitimizing the institution of election observation as well as damaging the reputation of those parliaments and international institutions that they represent.  A significant number of international observation missions registered for the recent Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan have violated international standards of election observation. Among them was the delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) headed by Jordi Xucla (Spain, ALDE).

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Competitive elections despite serious shortcomings and imperfect election legislation - EPDE Experts' Discussion after the Local elections in Kyiv 27 October 2015

On October 27 2015 EPDE hold an experts' discussion in Kyiv on specific problems of the recent local elections. Arkadi Lubarev from GOLOS Moscow analysed the new law on local election in Ukraine. Steffen Hallig from the German think tank SWP reported on the conduct of elections in Eastern Ukraine. Anton Shekhovtsov from Legatum Institute London researched on the conduct of election observation through “fake observers”. Ol'ha Aivazovska, director of the civil network OPORA underpinned the need for a substantial reform of the law on local elections.

 

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EPDE expert evaluation of the parliamentary election in Poland, 25 October 2015

From 23 to 26 October 2015 the European Platform for Democratic Elections conducted its short-term election observation mission to the parliamentary election in Poland. EPDE observers note that the Electoral Code of the Republic of Poland does not provide civil independent domestic election observation. EPDE notes that the rights of the proxies and international observers are described insufficiently in the Electoral Code. In some of the polling stations members of election commissions were not aware of the rights of international observers.

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Invitation: EPDE expert discussion 27 October, 13.00, Kyiv

The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) in cooperation with OPORA and the Committee of Voters of Ukraine cordially invites to an experts’ discussion on specific problems of the process of local elections in Ukraine. WIth Oga Aivazovska (Opora, Kyiv), Arkadi Lubarev (Golos, Moscow), Anton Shekhovtsov (Legatum Institute, London), Steffen Halling (SWP, Berlin).

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EPDE observes local elections in Ukraine

A group of civic election observers from the EPDE member organizations from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Norway, Poland and Russia observe the local elections in Ukraine scheduled for 25 October 2015. The observation is supported by the European Union and the German-Polish Cooperation Foundation. In the field, the observers are supported by the Ukrainian EPDE members from the Civic Network Opora and the Committe of Voters of Ukraine.

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Belarus: Results of the monitoring of the Presidential Elections

The electoral process did not meet a number of key international standards for elections. This was due to the lack of equal access to the media for all candidates, the lack of impartiality of election commissions, use of administrative resources in favor of the incumbent, numerous facts of coercion of voters to participate in early voting, the closure of some election procedures for observers.

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Presidential elections in Belarus: Report on the observation of the stage of pre-election campaigning

The pre-election campaign did not become a significant socio-political campaign for the Belarusian society and was nearly invisible to the electorate. The lack of visual means of agitation for presidential candidates is apparently a result of the low activity of some candidates, as well as the refusal from the state financing of manufacturing of information materials.

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Armenian Election Monitoring Groups protest against pushing forward constitutional reform by the presidential administration

We urge the Armenian authorities not to appoint the constitutional referendum without a substantial public debate, as well as before establishing preconditions for transparent voting. We appeal to the international institutions who promotes democracy and human rights not to support the constitutional referendum in Armenia in the situation of the distrust towards the authorities or stay neutral towards the antidemocratic measures of the Armenian government. We regret the role of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe in the de facto promotion of the constitutional referendum which puts its professional reputation and impartiality into question.

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Upcoming Parliamentary Elections in Belarus, 11.10.2015: Report on the results of monitoring of the first day of early voting by the Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

The early voting started at the elections of President of the Republic of Belarus on October 6 in conformity with the Electoral Code of the Republic of Belarus. Forcing to voting took place at 10.6% of the polling stations. Non-members of precinct election commissions (PECs) interfered with the work of the commissions at 11.5% of the polling stations. At 2.5% of polling stations observers were deprived of the opportunity to monitor the sealing of the ballot boxes.  At 3.5% of polling stations obstacles were created for the independent observers who counted the electors who have cast their votes. At 1.2% of polling stations accreditation denials were issued to independent observers.

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Civic observers protest against the intransparent pushing for constitutional reform in Armenia

Armenian authorities push forward a referendum on comprehesive constitutional amendments changing the governance system  from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary one. The changes would enable the incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan to stay in power after the expiration of his second and last term in office and to secure the monopoly power of his polical party. The civic election observers and human rigths groups of Armenia protest against the lack of transparency and public consensus on the planned changes as well as the hasty and aggresive way of pushing for the constitutional reform.

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Upcoming Parliamentary Elections in Belarus, 11.10.2015: Analytical report on the results of weekly observation 28.09 -04.10 by the Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Observers in the region state that the electoral campaigning is almost invisible. There are very few printed agitation materials. The most noticeable event was the debate with the participation of three presidential candidates, broadcast on the national television. Observers note the the closed character of the electoral commissions, having to learn about many of their decisions already after their adoption. Refusals of the election commissions to provide observers with relevant information are registered all over the country.

 

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Increasing Harassment of EPDE Members - Results of the EPDE side event on the HDIM of ODIHR on the 25th of September, Warsaw

The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) is alarmed about the increasing harassment of citizens' election observers in the ODIHR region. EPDE members in Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and Belarus are affected by intimidation of staff members, criminal persecution, non-registration of the organisations or of labelling of the organisation as "foreign agents". Authoritarian regimes "copy and paste" laws to restrict the watchdog function of independent election observers. EPDE has organised a discussion on the Human Dimension Meeting of ODIHR in Warsaw 25 September 2015.

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Shameful statement of PACE pre-electoral mission raises concern about impartiality of PACE delegates

On 21 and 22 September a PACE delegation consisting of the delegates Jordi Xuclà, Aleksandar Nikoloski, Egemen Bagis and Agustín Conde visited Azerbaijan for a pre-electoral mission ahead of the Parliamentary elections on 1 November 2015. While Azerbaijan holds today 80 political prisoners, among them Anar Mammadli, director of the independent election observation organisation EMDS and board member of EPDE, the PACE statement does not mention the critical human rights situation in the country, does not comment on the total extinction of free and independent mass media, does not mention the repression against independent election observers.

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Upcoming Parliamentary Elections in Belarus, 11.10.2015: Brief Summary on the Preparation Stage by the Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

The elections will not be free, considering their preparation by the electoral administration, which should ensure a high turnout and a definite result during early voting. The country has no political prisoners left, although political cases against civil activists continue to be made. In the legislative area and in ensuring transparency in the preparation and conduct of the elections, there are no positive changes. As always, independent observers are faced with the problem that much of the information they need is not available to them, in part because it is not submitted by electoral commissions. At this stage of the campaign, the authorities have refrained from direct reprisals against human rights activists; instead, they chose to control the amount of information provided to activists.As in previous election campaigns, the opposition cannot effectively monitor the work of election commissions at all levels.

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Citizens’ election observation under pressure - Challenges for international institutions and civil society

EPDE will hold side event "Citizens' election observation under pressure" on "Human Dimension Meeting" of ODIHR on Friday, 25th of September 2015 in Warsaw, Hotel Bristol. The topic of the event is the increasing political, legal and administrative pressure against independent citizens' observers in OSCE countries. Examples from Russian Federation, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Belarus will be presented and discussed. How international institutions and international civil society can react? How can we defend a global liberal civil society? These and further issues will be discussed during the event.

 

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Local elections in Russia, 13.09.2015: Statement on the Results of Civic Election Observation

During the elections in Russia, which were held on 13th of September 2015, the most common violations were: restrictions of observers’ rights, the rights of commission members, and the rights of media representatives, as well as violations related to early voting, voting by absentee ballots, voting outside the polling station, forcing people to vote, and violation of vote secrecy. On Election Day, “Golos” reported various instances of such violations in publications, press releases from regional branches, and via the regular video feed of the call center and the press center.

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Local elections in Russia, 13.09.2015: Golos Report on the Final Stage of Agitation

With the approach of Election Day, there is predictably an increase in cases of hindrance of lawful election campaigning activities of certain candidates and parties. As a rule, the targets are opposition parties and candidates who are perceived to be serious competitors to the authorities. Unfortunately, in these situations the police is often sluggish or simply does nothing.

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Local elections in Russia, 13.09.2015: Golos Report on the Agitation

A characteristic feature of this stage of the elections are violationsof street and outdoor campaigning rules. There are increasingly more cases of hindrance of lawful campaign activities, and law enforcement agencies do not always intervene to prevent such acts. Notable in the current election are documented cases of vote buying in the municipal and regional election campaigns of governors and legislatures.

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Local Elections in Russia,13.09.2015: GOLOS analyses unlawful foreign campaign financing

Financial transparency problems allow many candidates and parties to illegally receive funds from abroad. Last year some regions were already governed by “foreign agents.” Judging by this year’s continuing trend, the number of re-elected governors with foreign donors will increase after Election Day on September 13. The biggest beneficiaries of foreign funds are the candidates nominated by the ruling “United Russia” party and the ruling party itself.

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Golos and EPDE protest against continuing persecution of civic election observers in the run-up of Local Elections 2015

On July 27, the Ministry of Justice included the Interregional Public Foundation for Civil Society Development “Golos-Ural” in the registry of NGOs performing the functions of a foreign agent. The organization is charged with receiving foreign funding—although, in fact, it had not.

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GOLOS: The Practice of Bringing to Justice Members of Election Commissions for Electoral Violations

Russia: In the run-up to Election Day, scheduled for September 13, 2015, Golos conducted the monitoring of the judicial practice of holding election commission members legally responsible for electoral law violations. The research focused on violations of the electoral legislation committed by voting members of election commissions, for which they were held administratively or criminally responsible.

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Golos: Nomination of Candidates and Registration of Party Lists fotr the Local Elections, 13.09.2015, Russia

During this stage of the preparation for the elections, Golos observed insufficient information transparency and insufficient service ability of election commissions, discriminatory signature collection in support of candidate nominations, campaigning before the start of the official nomination process and under the guise of informing the public about the official candidates’ performance and unequal access to the media and negative campaigning.

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Local Election in Russia, 13.09.2015: Golos' Report No.1

“Golos” draws public attention to deviations from the standards of democratic elections, primarily evident in the manipulation of electoral law for political reasons shortly before the elections, in the creation of unequal conditions for access to administrative resources, designed to favor certain candidates and parties. Of particular concern are incidents of pressure and intimidation of civic observers, beatings and systematic persecution of "Golos" activists.

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Russia: EPDE strongly protests against house searches at EPDE member organization GOLOS

On Tuesday morning, 7 July at 6.30 house searches have been conducted at the private flats of Grigori Melkonjanc, deputy director of the EPDE member organization GOLOS, Roman Udot, senior expert of the organization and Tatiana Troinova, director of the inter-regional foundation GOLOS. Documents and technical devices have been confiscated.

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Lithuanian IESC with EPDE and Promo-Lex observed local elections in Moldova, June 2015

On 12 June 2015, the International Elections Study Center (IESC) in partnership with the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) and Moldavian NGO Promo-Lex deployed an international expert mission to Local Elections in Moldova that were held on June 14, 2015. The mission was composed of 20 experts, who observed the election processes on the Election Day at more than 100 polling stations

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Armenian constitutional amendments raise civil society concerns

Human rights experts and election monitoring organizations from Armenia are calling upon the Council of Europe, the OSCE and other international organizations not to support the constitutional changes initiated by the Armenian president, Serj Sargsjan. The amendments are intended to transform Armenia’s semi-presidential system of government into a parliamentary system, in which the president will be elected by Armenian MPs rather than in national elections.

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Call for experts: Statistician, background in gender equality in elections

Division of Electoral Assistance of the Council of Europe will carry out a study on women participation and promotion in politics including a Gender Equality Index in the countries of Eastern Partnership (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). The aim of the study is to analysis the level of engagement and promotion of women in the decision making process in the EaP region. Under the present call, the Division of Electoral Assistance of the Council of Europe is looking for a statistician with gender equality background.

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EPDE conducted media and PR training for civic election observers

Twenty PR and media specialists from the EPDE partner organizations from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia took part in the training carried out on 1-2 June in Berlin. The training was carried out with the support of the Council of Europe’s Electoral Assistance and Census program and the European Commission.

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EPDE observed presidential election in Poland on 10 May 2015

EPDE started its observation on 7 May 2015. The observers group included 40 observers from Belarus, Germany, Lithuania,  Poland, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine, and was deployed to Warsaw, Crakow, Lublin, Lodz and Szczecin. The observers met with authorities, election administration, candidates' election staff, local civic monitoring organizations and other election observation missions. On 10 May EPDE observed the voting and vote counting in approx. 120 polling stations in different regions of Poland. The observers provided the Polish authorities and the election administration with some recommendations concerning the election day procedures.

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EPDE observes presidential elections in Poland

European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) in cooperation with the polish Forum of Young Diplomats (FMD) will observe the presidential elections in Poland on 10 May 2015. The observers’ group will consist of experts and volunteers from Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. It will observe the conduct of voting and vote counting in Warsaw, Cracow and other polish cities. The experts will hold public discussions before and after election day

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EPDE: Psychiatry instrumentalised to silence Russian election observers

Berlin, 04.05.2015: The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) has issued a statement today strongly protesting severe harrassment and intimidation of election observers from the Russian election observer organisation GOLOS. Ludmila Kuzmina, leader of the Samara’ regional branch of EPDE member organization GOLOS, Russia, has been threatened to undergo a psychiatric examination by the prosecutor's office in April 2015. This sort of repression has been often applied in the late Soviet Union against dissidents.

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Bashir Suleimanli released after a presidential pardon in Azerbaijan

Baku, 18 March 2015: Bashir Suleimanli, deputy director of EMDS Baku has been released after a presidential pardon in Azerbaijan. We are glad for Bashir and his family!
Anar Mamadli and more than 100 other political prisoners still remain under custody.

Please find more information here and here

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Vote counting, 2015 Estonian parliamentary elections, Tallinn

EPDE observed Estonian parliamentary elections on 1 March 2015

Tallinn, 2 March 2015: EPDE together with observers from the Association Golos, Russia, observed the parliamentary elections in Estonia held on 1 March 2015. The observers group have been deployed to Tallinn and to the northern regions of the country. They met with the National Election Committee, the ODIHR expert mission, other election observation missions and the representatives of the civil society.

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Foto: Franziska Senkel, Berlin

Freedom for political prisoners in Azerbaijan – no preferential treatment for Ilham Aliev

European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) protests on the occasion of Ilham Aliev’s visit to Germany on Wednesday, January 21, 2014 against the suppression of civil society and democratic opposition in Azerbaijan. Together with Reporters Without Borders  EPDE organizes a vigil in support for political prisoners in Azerbaijan on January 21, 2014 at 12:00 in front of the German Chancellery in Berlin. Ales Beliacki and Lilia Shibanova will also be present

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