Documents

2019

EPDE Publication

Foreign Observation of the Illegitimate Elections in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2019

EPDE

In Anton Shekhovtsov’s newest study, he analyzes how the presence of “foreign observers” during the “parliamentary elections” in the so-called “Republic of South Ossetia” and of the “presidential elections” in the so-called “Republic of Abkhazia” in 2019 was underpinned not by the actual need to observe the “elections”, but rather by the intent to mimic legitimate international election monitoring in order to create an impression that South Ossetia and Abkhazia were legitimate independent states. 

 

EPDE Policy Alert

Electoral Reform in Ukraine #15

EPDE

The parliamentary vote on the draft Electoral Code planned for this week has been postponed. Earlier, EPDE members Civic Network OPORA and the Committee of Voters of Ukraine raised serious concerns about some provisions of the draft and pointed to a number of shortcomings resulting from last minute amendments to the draft. This policy alert analyses these shortcomings and calls on the Verkhovna Rada to present the final draft Electoral Code to the public in a timely manner in order to ensure transparency.

 

Presidential Elections

Divisive Narratives on Facebook During the 2018 Elections

ISFED

ISFED released its latest social media monitoring report which focuses on Facebook pages that spread specific value-based narratives such as nationalistic, xenophobic, islamophobic, homophobic, illiberal, and openly anti-western messages. Narratives and propaganda methods used by these Facebook pages are identical to those used by Kremlin across Europe.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Full analytical report

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

According to the “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”, these elections do not meet international standards of democratic and free elections for a number of reasons: lack of equal access to state media for all candidates, lack of impartial election commissions, use of administrative resource in favor of pro-government candidates, numerous cases of coercion of voters to participate in early voting, and intransparent vote counting procedures. 

 

Parliamentary Elections

Report on early voting

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

The official turnout for early voting is reported at 35.77%, which is the record high for the parliamentary elections since 2008. Official turnout figures were much greater than those reported by the observers. Participation in early voting was encouraged by the authorities. Administrations of government-owned enterprises and institutions, as well as universities strongly advised voters to participate in early voting, maintained records of early voters and reported on the progress of early voting to local executive authorities. In some cases early voting was characterized by coercion, under threats of reprisals for refusing to vote early.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Report on election campaigning

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

In general, local executive committees created favorable conditions for election campaigning and the number of places for holding public events increased in comparison with the elections of 2016. However, election campaigning was low key and administrative resources were widely used to promote the pro-government candidates, while non-affiliated and opposition candidates reported that their political campaigns were censored and there were cases of bans on broadcasting the campaign speeches of opposition candidates.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Consolidating Democratic Transition in Armenia

Helsinki Citizens' Assembly - Vanadzor

In March 2019, the Parliamentary factions started a dialogue on the priorities of the electoral reforms and established a timeline that included changes to various laws. HCAV have summarized what the expected amendments will be in this new policy alert. They furthermore call on the EU to strongly denounce the attacks against genuine civil society, including HCAV, in light of the growing discrediting campaigns against reputable organizations and donors.

 

General Local Elections and By-elections

E-Day 2nd round - Observation Mission Report

Promo-LEX

Promo-LEX observed that the opening and closing of polling stations on 03.11. was regular. One issue observed multiple times was that 27% of the PEBs continued to ignore the rule that stipulates that one member of the bureau is to display the ballots to all the participants in the counting process. Observed incidents were once again not of a significant nature, but included cases of unjustified and unauthorized persons being present within 100 m. of the PS as well as in the PS (25); presence of advertising materials, posters, electoral displays within 100 m. of the PS (21); and difficulties for the operation of the SIAS Elections system (20); organized transportation of voters (13). The results of parallel vote counting for the post of general mayor of Chisinau municipality confirmed the percentage offered by the CEC.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Interim Reports - Candidates' registration revoked and banned from public broadcasts

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

There are continued cases in the run up to the Parliamentary elections of candidates' registrations being revoked over alleged violations of Art. 47 and ongoing cases of bans on broadcasting the campaign speeches of opposition candidates; the DECs and the public media have demonstrated an extremely loose treatment of restrictions on campaigning activities, as established by Art. 47 of the Electoral Code, which in most cases constitutes censorship and unacceptable restrictions on freedom of expression.

 

General Local Elections and By-elections

Elections of October 20 – November 3 2019 were generally free and partially fair

Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections

This coalition of election monitors in Moldova, including our member Promo-LEX, observed the following issues throughout the General local elections and by-elections: limitations of the freedom of voter information, the hindering of work of election management bodies, inconsistent candidate registration practices, a lack of impartial media, and the obstruction of the work of national observers.

 

General Local Elections and By-elections

Interim period between E-Days - Observation Mission Report

Promo-LEX

The Electoral Code does not contain general or special rules regarding the conduct of the second round of local elections, except for the CEC's responsibility to ensure the conduct of the second round and the conditions for the conduct of the second round. Promo-LEX has observed that there are cases of suspicious artificial migration of voters on voter lists, a significant decrease of campaign activities ahead of the second round of elections.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Interim Reports - Censorship and penalties against candidates

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

Opposition candidates have been censored during their campaigning and have had their registrations revoked for criticising authorities, reports the election observation campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”. Many appeals of candidates whose registration was refused have yet to be considered despite the period for this having already passed and only one appeal was successful. Cases of abuse of administrative resources for election campaigning by the pro-government candidates have been recorded, as well as creating obstacles to independent and opposition candidates in their campaigning events.

 
 

General Local Elections and By-elections

E-Day 1st round - Observation Mission Report

Promo-LEX

The observation mission on Election Day reported that in general the opening of polling stations (PS) went smoothly on E-day. 407 incidents have been analysed by Promo-LEX, most frequently reported incidents, but not significantly numerous, were: deficiencies in voters’ lists, unjustified presence of unauthorized persons in or around the PS, presence of advertising materials within 100 m of the PS, interrupted filming during the opening of the PS and vote counting process. In general the parallel vote count did not find major discrepancies to the data provided by the CEC and the share of erroneous protocols completed by precinct election bureaus has decreased compared to the Parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019.

 

EPDE Publication

Comparative study on conditions for citizen election observation in the EU–EaP and Russia

EPDE

This comparative analysis by Tatyana Hilscher-Bogussevich of conditions for citizen election observers in the Eastern Neighborhood has found that Russia ranks the worst since there are no legal provisions allowing for civil society to be directly accredited as election observers. There is a similarly restrictive environment in Azerbaijan and Belarus. Other countries of the region rank better and generally facilitate citizen observation, however issues still remain. This study is a first in a series based on the newly launched Catalogue of Recommendations on Electoral Reform.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Report on the nomination and registration of candidates

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

The nomination and registration of candidates were not marked by any significant differences as compared to the previous parliamentary elections, concludes an interim report by the nation-wide campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”. The elections retained all of the negative things that were observed during previous campaigns: low representation of opposition in election commissions, lack of diversity as commissioners are representatives of the same organizations, observers denied to observe the verification procedures of submitted candidates' registration documents.

 

General Local Elections and By-elections

Observation Mission Reports

Promo-LEX

Promo-LEX: Recent legislative changes create substantial ambiguities for participants in the electoral process. The Promo-LEX Observation Mission is concerned about the modification of some legislative acts, by Law no. 113/2019, which has been made during the electoral period. The changes deal with such fundamental aspects as: electoral campaigning, financing of electoral campaigns, designation and registration of competitors, etc. Introducing such amendments to the Electoral Code during the electoral period has a negative impact on the correctness and predictability of the electoral process.

 

Local Elections

Report on the preparation to and political situation prior to the 27 December 2019 Municipal Elections

EMDS believes that the authorities failed to address shortcomings of the Election Code despite the repeated calls and recommendations of domestic organizations, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the OSCE/ODIHR. In this report, EMDS assessed the preparations to the 27 December 2019 Municipal Elections and found that: fair composition of election commissions, effective protection mechanisms of the election right, preventing illegal interference with the electoral process, improving regulations for registration of candidates and shortcomings in voter lists remain unaddressed.

 

EPDE Publication

Controversial "International Observation" at the 2019 Regional elections in Russia

EPDE

In Anton Shekhovtsov’s newest study, he analyzes how Russian officials invited "international experts" with known involvement in various pro-Kremlin efforts to observe the regional elections in Moscow and how they were used by officials, pro-regime media and organizations to legitimize the electoral process and neutralize the negative effect of refusing to register independent opposition candidates for the elections to the Moscow City Duma.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Report on the formation of precinct election commissions

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

All the observers of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” were able to freely attend the meetings of bodies that formed the precinct election commissions (PECs), but the absence of legal guarantees for the representation of all political actors on the election commissions, as in the past, resulted in arbitrary and discriminatory treatment towards opposition parties and movements. Out of 495 nominees to the PECs, 21 come from opposition parties, which is up to three times less than in the previous parliamentary elections of 2008, 2012 and 2016.

 

EPDE Policy Alert

Electoral Reform in Ukraine #14

EPDE

On 13 September 2019, the Ukrainian Parliament, following a request from President Zelensky, dismissed all acting commissioners of the Central Election Commission. The decision was taken with a vast majority of 341 votes. Due to the lack of objective grounds, the dissolution of Ukraine’s key electoral management body is assessed as politically motivated and has provoked harsh criticism. Election observers and independent experts call for a transparent process in forming a new CEC.

 

Catalogue of recommendations on electoral reform

Analysis on conditions for citizen observation

EPDE

Analysis including recent reports and recommendations by citizen observer organizations, open source information, and the newly developed Catalogue of Recommendations. Overall findings: Conditions for election observation, both in legislation and in practice, and attitudes towards it vary considerably from country to country. An observed rise in politically-motivated domestic observation can be noted, seriously damaging any credible non-partisan election observation.

 

 

Election alert

Russia election alert #2

EPDE
Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky/DPA

More than five thousand elections on different levels were held in Russia on September 8, on the so-called single voting day. The average turnout was 41.2%, which slightly exceeded last year’s turnout. In gubernatorial elections, all candidates designated and supported by the Kremlin have won in the first round. However, in the elections to the regional and city councils, where there was relative competition between parties, United Russia scored much less than in previous elections – 16% less on average.

 

 

Election alert

Russia election alert #1

EPDE
Photo: DW/E. Barysheva

The situation on the eve of 2019 regional elections, 8 September 2019, shows several important trends. On the one hand, Russian electoral system is becoming extremely politically biased and repressive. On the other, there is growing social demand for participation in decision-making and rising protest activity, including protest vote and participation in street protests.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Report on the formation of territorial and district election commissions

Belarusian Helsinki Committee / Human Rights Center "Viasna"

The majority of observers were able to freely attend meetings of bodies that formed the TECs and DECs; only five of them reported obstacles at the first meetings of the commissions; as in the past, absence of legislative guarantees of the proportional representation in the election commissions of all political actors involved in the elections results in arbitrary and discriminatory treatment in respect of opposition parties and movements;

 

 

Parliamentary Elections

Working on electoral reform should continue

ISFED

ISFED and partner NGOs have released a statement about the ongoing electoral reform working group and proposed legislative changes drafted by the Georgian Dream. ISFED positively assesses the changes proposed to the Law on Political Unions of Citizens in relation to the change of the political party finance regulations and move to a so called regressive rule of financing. However, draft amendments to the Election Code proposed by the ruling party contain a number of problematic issues and if adopted, they will have a detrimental effect on the electoral environment ahead of the 2020 elections.

 

General Local Elections and By-elections

Report no. 1 - Observation Mission

Promo-LEX

The  pre-election  period hasbeencharacterizedby adelay  in constituting  the parliamentary  majority,  which led  touncertainties with  regard  tothe  date  of the  general  local elections.Politicalcontext  of local elections  was outlinedby  the  establishment  of  a  new  governing alliance  (the PSRM,  PAS,  PPPDA)  andthe PDM  (ruling  party  since  2009)moving  to  the  opposition.Party switchingbythe local elected officialsis anotherconsequence of the relations establishedin the politicaland administrativesystem during the inter-election period.

 

 

EPDE Policy Alert

Electoral Reform in Ukraine #13

EPDE
Photo: Reuters

On July 11, 2019, ten days before the snap parliamentary election on July 21, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted an Electoral Code which introduces a proportional electoral system with open regional party lists for parliamentary elections and harmonizes Ukraine’s electoral legal framework. However, even if signed by the President, the Electoral Code would enter legal force only in December 2023.

 

Parliamentary Elections

ISFED statement on proportional elections with no threshold

ISFED

On June 24, ISFED has released a statement regarding the announcement of Georgian Dream about initiative to introduce proportional electoral system with no threshold for 2020 parliamentary elections. ISFED welcomes the decision to immediately introduce a proportional electoral system. Holding the next parliamentary elections under proportional system is essential for democratic development of Georgia, however decision of eliminating the threshold poses some risks such as fragmentation of parties, difficulty to form government, potential of political crises and instability, etc.

 

EPDE Publication

Russian Interference, and Where to Find It - Anton Shekhovtsov (German version)

EPDE

In Anton Shekhovtsov’s newest study, he identifies different factors that influence the occurrence of Russian interference in international elections. This article discusses elections in France, Norway, Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, and Sweden that took place in 2017-2018, and shows how different combinations of these factors produced different outcomes in terms of Russian meddling.

 

EPDE Policy Alert

Electoral Reform in Ukraine #12

EPDE
Photo: president.gov.ua

On May 22, the Ukrainian Parliament refused to vote on changes to the electoral law as they were proposed on the same day by President Zelenskiy. This issue summarizes recent developments regarding the (non)reform of Ukraine’s electoral legal framework ahead of the early parliamentary elections scheduled for July 21, 2019.

 

By-Election

ISFED By-Election 2nd Statement - by 23:30

ISFED

ISFED presents 2nd statement including assessment of the voting process and PVT results. According to it, while at majority of electoral precincts the Election Day was mostly free from any major violations, the voting process progressed amid tension, especially in electoral districts of Zugdidi and Marneuli. At or near several electoral precincts, physical and verbal confrontation took place, which in some cases was accompanied by commotion at polling places and disruption of voting process.

 

By-Election

ISFED By-Election 1st Statement - by 14:00

ISFED

EPDE's Georgian member ISFED is observing by-elections, which take place 19 May in several electoral districts in Georgia, and presenting its 1st statement about the opening of polling stations and the voting process. ISFED observers were free to access and observe almost all polling stations. They have reported that at majority of electoral precincts, openning of polling stations and the voting process was free from significant violations. At some polling stations procedural shortcomings were found. In most districts, there is a trend of mobilization of party activists outside polling stations, who in most cases are registering voters that arrive at the polls.

 

Presidential Elections

Free elections with obstacles - the 2019 Ukrainian presidential elections

Stefanie Schiffer

The 2019 Ukrainian presidential elections once again proved, for the sixth time in a row, that Ukrainian democracy is solid enough to allow a peaceful transfer of power. Outgoing President Petro Poroshenko accepted his defeat and cleared the way for his successor Volodymyr Zelensky. What marked the presidential elections in Ukraine in 2019? What were their weak points and what are the challenges and tasks which the Ukrainian society and its international partners face in order to improve the electoral processes for the upcoming parliamentary elections? (in German)

 

EPDE Publication

Russian Interference, and Where to Find It - Anton Shekhovtsov

EPDE

In Anton Shekhovtsov’s newest study, he identifies different factors that influence the occurrence of Russian interference in international elections. This article discusses elections in France, Norway, Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, and Sweden that took place in 2017-2018, and shows how different combinations of these factors produced different outcomes in terms of Russian meddling.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Final Report of the "Akanates" Observation Mission of the Snap Parliamentary Elections

TI, Asparez, Restart & IDPF

The final report of the long-term and short-term "Akanates" ("Eyewitness") Observation Mission of the 2018 Snap Parliamentary Elections in Armenia indicates that the elections were held in an atmosphere of a free, competitive and peaceful electoral contest, which essentially differed from the national elections held in previous years. Nevertheless, a few issues were identified during the observation, based on which a number of recommendations are presented.

 

Presidential Elections

Conclusions from E-Day by CVU

CVU

The Committee of Voters in Ukraine (CVU)  found no systemic violations during E-Day. Those violations that were recorded included violations of voting procedures by the members of the precinct election commissions, inaccuracy of the voter lists, illegal campaigning, and photographing of the filled-in ballots by voters.

 

Presidential Elections

Preliminary statement on E-Day observation and parallel vote tabulation

OPORA

The Civil Network OPORA found that the election took place in competitive environment and in compliance with basic standards of genuine elections, whereas cases of breaking national law failed to present any constraints for citizens to exercise their right to vote and be elected. 

 

EPDE Policy Alert

Electoral Reform in Ukraine #11

EPDE
Photo: UNIAN

The Presidential elections in Ukraine are approaching fast, taking place on 31 March 2019. Issue no. 11 gives an update on recent developments regarding the Draft Election Code, which was approved by the Verkhovna Rada in the first reading in November 2017 and aims to harmonize Ukraine’s electoral legal framework by introducing a proportional electoral system with open regional party lists. 

 

Presidential Elections

Final report on the 2018 Presidential election

ISFED

The report presents an overview and analysis of the key findings from the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy’s observation mission of the pre-election, Election Day, election runoff and post-election periods of the Presidential election in 2018.  At the same time, it provides assessment of the work of key administrative bodies involved in elections.  Drawing upon the findings, ISFED offers 42 recommendations for improvement of the electoral environment in Georgia. 

 

Presidential Elections

2nd report on the Presidential election campaign

OPORA

Representatives of the Civil Network OPORA reported that the misuse of administrative resources and transparency of campaign financing became two major challenges in February during the Presidential election campaign. They further reported on the establishment of district election commissions and on instances of false accusations launched against certain candidates of being involved in vote buying schemes.

 

Parliamentary Elections

Monitoring report of the Election Day

Promo-LEX

This sixth report by Promo-LEX includes observations from the Election Day, such as the opening and closing of polling stations, incidents observed during the day, and an analysis of the final vote counting and issues surrounding this process. 

 

Parliamentary Elections

5th Pre-election monitoring report of the parliamentary elections

Promo-LEX

The fifth report includes monitoring results using the framework of the Promo-LEX Observation Mission (OM) for the period of 6 February – 20 February 2019 in the run-up to the parliamentary elections taking place on the 24 February 2019.

 

Parliamentary Elections

4th Pre-election monitoring report of the parliamentary elections

Promo-LEX

This fourth report includes monitoring results using the framework of the Promo-LEX Observation Mission (OM) of the pre-election period focusing on the period of 23 January – 5 February 2019 in the run-up to the parliamentary elections taking place on the 24 February 2019.

 

EMDS Report

Final Report concerning the early Presidential Election in Azerbaijan

The Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS) published the final findings of its observation of the April 11, 2018 Presidential election in Azerbaijan covering all major election processes – the nomination of candidates, pre-election campaigning, election day voting and vote counting.

 

EMDS Report

Fact Sheet-2018 On the Human Rights Situation in Azerbaijan

The Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS) prepared a report on the situation of human rights in Azerbaijan covering the year 2018 based on publicly available and alternative sources of information. Their conclusion is that there has not been any progress in the situation of human rights in Azerbaijan in 2018.

 

Presidential Elections

Observation report of the presidential election campaign

OPORA

OPORA has published its first observation report on the presidential election campaign where it has been recording the wide-scale early campaigning efforts organized by over ten potential candidates over the last few months. There remains some legal uncertainty about the character of such campaigning and there is also a problem of shadow campaign financing occuring during the official election process.

 

 

Presidential Elections

Long-term monitoring report on the run-up to the presidential elections

CVU

The latest long-term monitoring report on the presidential elections by the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) indicates that there remain some technical flaws with the current legislation concerning the presidential election. These include the lack of limits on the presidential candidates' election funds and the possible appearance of a significant number of biased members of electoral commissions. Other issues concerning early campaigning and the placement of illegal campaigning are also addressed in this report. 

 

Parliamentary Elections

3rd Pre-election monitoring report of the parliamentary elections

Promo-LEX

Promo-LEX Association launched its third Observation Mission Report on the Parliamentary Elections of 24 February 2019. It reveals a series of worrying trends, in particular, intimidation of Promo-LEX observers, early start of electoral campaigns, misuse of administrative resources and offering of electoral gifts, defective reporting of expenditure by initiative groups, as well as other cases related to non-observance of some legal provisions by the public administration.

 

Presidential Elections

Social Media Monitoring - 2nd Interim Report

ISFED

ISFED started social media monitoring on August 29, 2018 as the official campaign began. At this stage, ISFED monitors only Facebook activity since Facebook is especially popular among different social media platforms in Georgia. This second interim report evaluates trends identified by social media monitoring at the end of the pre-election period ahead of the first round of the presidential election and during the runoff. ISFED continues the monitoring and based on the analysis of information collected, it will present a final report. 

 

EPDE Publication

Politically Biased Election Observation – A Threat to the Integrity of International Institutions

EPDE

The booklet "Politically biased election observation—a threat to the integrity of international institutions" contains EPDE reports by Anton Shekhovtsov on politically biased election observation missions to the presidential election and the regional elections in Russia, the illegitimate presidential election in Crimea, the elections in Cambodia and Zimbabwe and the illegitimate “general elections” in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which all took place in 2018.

 

Parliamentary Elections

2nd Pre-election monitoring report of the parliamentary elections

Promo-LEX

Promo-LEX Association launched the second Observation Mission Report on the Parliamentary Elections of 24 February 2019. Monitored period: 10 December 2018 – 8 January 2019.