Documents

2021

EPDE Publication

Bogus International Monitors for the Bogus Russian Parliamentary Elections

EPDE
Source: politexpert.net – Evgeniy Zaytsev.

With the gradual systemic decline of the democratic character of Russian presidential, parliamentary, and other elections, Vladimir Putin’s regime found it increasingly difficult to secure their international legitimacy. In an attempt to give the impression of international legitimation of the parliamentary elections, Russian authorities reportedly brought in 383 “international observers” and “experts” from 80 countries.

 

Local elections

Second interim report pre-election monitoring

ISFED

ISFED presents its second interim report ahead of the 2 October local elections covering the pre-election campaign. ISFED reported several violations and noted that the dynamics of the current pre-election campaign were significantly shaken by the reveal of covert surveillance by the State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG) on school principals and teachers. ISFED reported on imbalances in the staffing of PECs and the growing severity of violations as well as instances of violence ahead of E-Day.

 

Policy Alert

Local Elections in Georgia and the existing legal and political framework

EPDE

Changes to the electoral legislation made in line with the April 19 Agreement pledged to ease the political crisis and restore trust in electoral reform. Changes included increasing the number of non-partisan appointees throughout election commissions and limiting the party’s ability to withdraw members of the district election commissions. Legislation partially met some of the OSCE recommendations, however, it is not expected that the existing legislative provisions will minimize political polarization.

 

Local elections

First interim report pre-election monitoring

ISFED

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) conducted monitoring of pre-election period for 2 October, 2021 Local Self-government Elections. The first interim report covers the composition of election commissions, the Advisory Group to the CEC, the appointment of new CEC members, and the election environment and media environment. 

 

Local elections

Amendments to the Election Code - Assessment and recommendations

ISFED

The document presents final joint assessment by International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) and Transparency International Georgia of the main changes made by the Parliament of Georgia to the Election Code. In addition, the document discusses recommendations that should be taken into account after the 2021 local self-government elections.

 

Election Alert

CEC restricts journalists' access to the electoral process

EPDE
Photo: Roger H. Goun, 2008. CC BY 3.0

On 28 July 2021, the Central Election Commission adopted a new media accreditation procedure that restricts media access to observe and report on the electoral process. The new rules violate the freedom of media editorial policy and may significantly reduce the transparency of the election process.

 

Early parliamentary elections

Preliminary report

Promo-LEX

In its preliminary report, Promo-LEX reports these elections were generally organized efficiently. The number of incidents on the day of the parliamentary elections decreased insignificantly compared to the presidential election of autumn 2020, (Round I by (-22) and Round II by (-40) incidents). Unconfirmed reported incidents of voter bribery and organized transportation of voters were observed particularly in connection with the electoral process in the Transnistrian region.

 

Early parliamentary elections

Final interim report

Promo-LEX

In its final interim report, Promo-LEX reports on the main issues from the end of the election campaign and final election preparations ahead of Sunday's early parliamentary elections. Main issues include legal uncertainties related to the funding of elections, lack of a CEC decision that would regulate the organized transportation of voters, unreported expenses for the election campaign, and perpetuation of hate speech and incitement to discrimination.

 

Early parliamentary elections

Preliminary report and PVT result

Akanates / TIAC

According to the Akanates observation mission, election day saw engaged and active participation from citizens. The process was fundamentally organized, smooth, and without serious violations. Nevertheless, a number of polling stations had a palpable level of tension, mostly due to the presence of unauthorized persons inside the polling station. Although violations were noted by representatives for multiple parties and alliances, the majority of violations involved representatives of the Armenia Alliance. The PVT projection for final turnout is 49.3%.

 

Early parliamentary elections

Third interim report

Promo-LEX

Observers criticize the CEC’s decision on setting up too few polling stations abroad and for not following the legal criteria provided for this in the Electoral Code. They also note an increase in misuse of state resources and that most parties failed to declare some of their campaign expenses, amounting to a total of approx. 90 000 Euro in undeclared expenses, of which most went to campaign advertising. Complaints filed to the CEC were also not addressed in a swift manner and there is a high rate of rejected complaints.

 

Early parliamentary elections

Observers condemn CEC decision on setting up polling stations abroad

CALC

The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (CALC) condemned the illegal and irresponsible decision of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) made on 5 June to open only 139 polling stations abroad for the early Parliamentary Elections of 11 July 2021. The decision has been amended and the number has been increased to 146, but observers note the minimum number should have been 150. They criticize the CEC for not applying the legal criteria provided for in the Electoral Code for establishing polling stations abroad and the opaque decision-making of the CEC.

 

Early parliamentary elections

Second interim report

Promo-LEX

In this second interim report, Promo-LEX reports on the registration of election contestants, early campaigning, setting up of polling stations according to voters' pre-registration numbers, and concerns over the lack of provisions for ensuring COVID19 preparedness. Observers find that this campaign is again affected by several instances of hate speech.

 

Early parliamentary elections

First interim report

Promo-LEX

In this interim report, Promo-LEX highlights important aspects of the legal framework relevant for these elections and risks to the conduct of elections, including the impact of COVID-19 and the manner in which government funds for the organization and conduct of the elections are being allocated. The report highlights the importance of early voter registration to determine the number and location of polling stations abroad and for voters in the Transnistrian region, as well as an increased use of hate speech being used during the pre-election and election period.

 

Parliamentary elections

Final monitoring report of the 2020 parliamentary elections

ISFED

ISFED concludes in its final monitoring report that the Election Day was managed effectively and in compliance with the legal requirements. Despite the extreme surge of Covid-19 cases, voters were provided with a safe environment to cast their votes. However, the prevalence of cases of vote-buying / bribery / intimidation, misuse of state resources, domination of the ruling party in the election commissions, discrepancies in the summary protocols, and ineffective handling of complaints and appeals, significantly undermined public trust in electoral processes.

 

EPDE Publication

Conditions for Citizen Election Observation Ahead of the 2021 Duma Elections

EPDE

Opportunities for independent citizen election observation and civil society space in general have been shrinking steadily in Russia over the past decade. There are no provisions for direct accreditation of citizen observers and legislative changes, such as the laws on foreign agents and 'undesirable foreign organizations', further restrict the space for citizen observation. Read more on the conditions for citizen election observation in Russia ahead of the 2021 Duma Elections in our latest publication.

 

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.

 

Presidential election

Social media monitoring of 2020 presidential election

PAF

Restrictions imposed on freedom of movement and freedom of assembly due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the first round of the election forced presidential candidates to run their campaign mostly via traditional and social media. PAF found that media outlets were far more active on Facebook than candidates. Candidates had a relatively limited ability in reaching wider audiences and will have to diversify their channels of communication beyond social media to reach other voters.

 

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).

 

Presidential election

Final Report on the 2020 Presidential Elections

Promo-LEX

Concerning last year’s presidential election in Moldova, Promo-LEX Association concludes that election contenders avoided reporting all campaign expenditures, there was a record number of hate speech, use of administrative resources, bribing of voters, and a high rate of complaints not accepted by the CEC and courts. In some instances, observers were restricted from accessing voter lists and there were isolated cases of observer intimidation by law enforcement and electoral officials on election day.

 

Presidential Election

What are the minimal conditions under which a free and fair presidential election could be conducted in Belarus?

EPDE & DRI

In the context of Belarus’ current political crisis, demands for minimal conditions needed for the holding of free and fair presidential elections in Belarus could be made by the Belarusian public and the opposition if snap elections were to be called. This paper proposes recommendations for all stages of the election cycle and concludes that a competitive election could be held in Belarus without changes to existing laws if the government demonstrates the necessary political will to safeguard certain minimal conditions.

 

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.