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Policy Alert

Policy Alert #8 - European Institutions 'Broadly Welcome' Armenia’s Proposed Electoral Reform

EPDE

On April 21, 2020, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and OSCE/ODIHR published their Draft Joint Urgent Opinion on an electoral reform legislative package in Armenia that is expected to pass ahead of the announced early parliamentary election. The Joint Urgent Opinion understands the urgency of eliminating district seats, noting that it followed many years of consultation on the issue, and comments on several aspects of the reform bill. Details on these in our Policy Alert.

 

Policy Alert

Policy Alert #7 - Armenian Electoral Code Amended to Remove District Seats

EPDE

On April 1, a marathon parliamentary session removed district seats from Armenia’s Electoral Code. Eliminating district seats was the flagship policy in the electoral reform bill brought forward in October 2018 by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s first government. That bill failed to attract enough votes to pass, but now it has finally been accomplished. What is so problematic about district seats? What electoral reforms come next? Find out in our latest Policy Alert.

 

Policy Alert

Policy Alert #6 - New law on political parties introduces stricter regulation on party financing

EPDE

On 29 December 2020, amendments to Armenia’s Law on Political Parties were passed with widespread consensus following a period of extreme polarization which provide for a substantial increase in public financing of political parties, while increasing the transparency of party donations, prohibiting corporate donations, and decreasing the upper limit for individual donations. The amendments include minimal requirements of internal democracy within the organization of political parties. Alert available in English (Doc1) and Russian (Doc2).

 

Policy Alert

Russia election alert #8 - Duma elections 2021

EPDE
Russia
Source: ft.com / © AP

Russia’s next State Duma elections are scheduled to be held in September. A number of recent developments offer a glimpse of how they may be conducted. Early indications are that the authorities will take unprecedented efforts to keep the non-systemic opposition out of the State Duma and to undermine independent election observation. Alert available in English (Doc1) and Russian (Doc2).

 

Policy Alert

Foreign agents law expanded ahead of 2021 State Duma election

EPDE
Russia
Source: hrw.org (Reuters)

Recently passed amendments to the ‘foreign agents’ law in Russia increases the number of organizations at risk of being labelled as ‘foreign agents’ and would force election candidates who received funding or other resources from an organization or person registered as a ‘foreign agent’ to also label themselves as a ‘foreign agent’. There is serious reason to assume that the recent proposed amendments target specific individuals and organizations and have been drawn up at least in part with a view to the 2021 State Duma election. 

 

Policy Alert

Electoral code amended, concerns about further changes remain

EPDE
Hungary
Source: nytimes.com (Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Ahead of the upcoming 2022 parliamentary elections, the Hungarian governing coalition passed an amendment to the country’s electoral code introducing stricter conditions for parties to register national lists in the elections, which in practical terms seems to be forcing the parties of the democratic opposition to run on one joint party list. While adjustments to the electoral map were anticipated and are slowly overdue, the governing parties voted against the politically neutral proposal filed by the opposition that addressed the issue. This raises concerns about prospective gerrymandering.

 

Policy Alert

Post-Election political standstill, flawed electoral complaint practices, and the one-party parliament

EPDE
Source: REUTERS /Irakli Gedenidze

The second round of elections cemented the victory of the Georgian Dream (GD). Despite the opposition boycotting the elections, violations persisted. The first session of the Parliament convened in absence of the opposition and parties saw some annulling of their mandates. The DG pledge for an early election if there was one percent deviation in its favour, did not go forward. The statistical analysis corroborated some of the observers’ findings, highlighting trends of discrepancies. The court practices also indicated political bias and undue consideration of complaints and appeals.

 

Policy Alert

Concerns over Hungary’s pending electoral code amendment

EPDE
Hungary
Source: dailynewshungary.com (MTI)

Ahead of Hungary’s next parliamentary elections scheduled for 2022, the Orbán-government submitted a new amendment to the electoral code on 10 November 2020. Along with a series of technical adjustments, the amendment seeks to change the conditions under which parties can register national lists for the election. The proposal comes as the main opposition parties are in negotiations about their strategy for 2022 and, if passed, would limit their current options for cooperation.

 

Election Alert

Moldova before the runoff elections: smear campaigning, disinformation, and accusations of voter fraud

EPDE
Source: politico.eu

The presidential election result in Moldova was greatly influenced by voters living outside of the Republic of Moldova, with two completely divergent election results emerged from this voter group, with voters in Transnistria overwhelmingly supporting Igor Dodon (74,24%), while only 4% of diaspora abroad voted for the incumbent. The run-off campaign was overshadowed by an unprecedented smear and disinformation campaign against Maya Sandu, and anti-civil society campaigns were also launched.

 

Policy Alert

Public outcry and excessive use of force amid flawed Parliamentary Elections

EPDE
Source: euractiv.com [Zurab Kurtsikidze/EPA/EFE]

In our latest policy alert, we analyse how District Election Commissions failed to adequately respond to the substantive violations detected in the summary protocols aggravating public distrust over the electoral process. This, and other recorded violations sparked a public outcry calling for the resignation of the Chairman of the Central Election Commission and snap elections. Amidst these developments the Georgian authorities have unlawfully dispersed crowds using water cannons, amounting to an excessive use of force.

 

Policy Alert

Georgia to investigate physical attacks and intimidation of political party candidates, women, and journalists

EPDE
Souce: Twitter of Anna Dolidze

Georgia’s 2020 Parliamentary pre-election period is marked with high polarization amid constantly emerging allegations of physical violence and intimidation against political party candidates and its supporters. Orchestrated attacks include threats against journalists, who are being unlawfully prevented from doing their job, and intimidation of female candidates disproportionately targeted based on their gender.

 

Election Alert

Video observation of the voting process - a threat or a solution for transparent elections?

EPDE

Ahead of the presidential election in Moldova, election observers have again called on the CEC to ensure that video observation of polling stations will be operational on the whole of Election Day. Due to continued restricted travel and other anti-COVID restrictions in place, it is impossible to conduct a full observation of all polling stations domestically or abroad, which has prompted a renewed debate about video cameras in polling stations to ensure the transparency of elections.

 

Election Alert

Local elections in Ukraine - a challenging context and a test for Zelensky’s party

EPDE
Photo: unian.info (REUTERS)

The upcoming local elections in Ukraine will take place in a very challenging context: newly introduced electoral legislation with little time for participants in the election to familiarize themselves with it, lacking clarity on COVID19 measures and funding for equipment may pose a threat to the election process, cancelled elections in constituencies in Donetsk and Luhansk have left voters disenfranchised. For President Zelensky, this election is key to win back some popular support lost since his election.

 

Election Alert

Polling stations abroad – a controversial and non-transparent process

EPDE
Image source: ipn.md

On November 1, 2020 Moldova will hold the first round of presidential elections. Like in 2016, the final election results will considerably depend on the voting of two groups of constituents – Moldovan diaspora and Moldovan citizens residing in the Transnistrian region. The undue increase of polling stations especially in the Russian Federation, as proposed recently by the Central Election Commission, raises concerns over its independence.

 

Policy Alert

Policy Alert #5 - Armenia’s Stable Majority Constitutional Provisions Under Review

EPDE
Photo: vestnikkavkaza.net

The 2015 Constitution promised that Armenia would move toward a fully proportional parliamentary model. However, a number of other provisions serve to distort the translation of votes to seats in practice. They include provisions for various bonus seats and the exclusion of political parties from campaigning if no government can be formed and a “second round” vote is held. 

 
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