Documents

2020

Policy Alert

Georgia’s electoral system agreement should be implemented without further delay

ISFED
Image: Thiago B Trevisan/Shutterstock

COVID-19 and the subsequent state of emergency has halted the process of constitutional amendments to introduce a new mixed electoral system ahead of the 2020 Parliamentary election in Georgia. However, now that the state of emergency has been lifted and some of the opposition leaders have been released, which was an important condition of the opposition to support any constitutional amendments to change the electoral system, amendments should move forward.

 

Policy Alert

Armenia explores alternative to referendum on Constitutional Court

EPDE
Photo: massispost.com

Armenia was supposed to hold a referendum on April 5, 2020, on whether to replace 7 of its 9 Constitutional Court judges. The referendum was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is now seen as too great a risk to public health to go ahead. Instead of terminating the 7 judges immediately, the government is now considering waiving their exemption to the current 12-year term limit and has applied to the Venice Commission for an official Opinion on the modified approach.

 

Policy Alert

Armenia to expand proportional representation to municipal elections with tri-partisan bill

EPDE
Photo: emerging-europe.com

MPs from all three parliamentary factions have sponsored a bill that seeks to change how municipal councils and mayors are elected. Specifically, mayors in the largest cities and towns will no longer be directly elected but chosen by city councils, who will also be given the power to remove them mid-term. The closed party list proportional representation system used in the three largest cities in Armenia would be expanded to all communities with more than 4000 registered voters.

 

Policy Alert

High-speed changes to electoral law disregard international norms

EPDE
Photo: Arkadiusz Stankiewicz/Agencja Gazeta/Reuters

A new draft law has been approved that provides for postal voting to be the only means for all eligible citizens to cast their vote and will replace existing electoral commissions with new ones. Experts indicate that the bill contains loopholes, inconsistencies, and legislative errors. Conducting presidential elections on its basis would not meet a number of democratic standards and would violate the universality, integrity, and secrecy of the vote.

 

Policy Alert

An early balance of emergency measures

EPDE
Hungary
Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty images

In response to COVID-19, the Orbán-government has introduced measures that are neither temporary nor proportional. In this analysis, election expert Zsuzsanna Végh argues that the government is using the pandemic as a distraction to further introduce restrictions on democratic rights and freedoms in Hungary.

 

Policy Alert

Changes to Armenia’s Political Party Regulation: toward more transparent party financing

EPDE
Photo: gmfus.com

Prior to the COVID-19 state of emergency disrupting ongoing reform processes and the scheduled constitutional referendum, a new law on political parties was supposed to be amended and passed by June 2020. Most of the new provisions were welcomed by international experts. The draft law includes provisions that would make state funding for parties contingent on their adherence to stricter transparency rules on party finances and a 40% gender quota.

 

Election alert

How corona thwarts Putin's plan to change the constitution

EPDE
Photo: dw.com

The pandemic has interrupted Putin’s fast-track constitutional amendment project that would have allowed him to stay in power beyond 2024. An understanding that his popular support may be waning was likely behind the haste. What started as a fail-proof political project is now an uncertain race against a natural calamity. Whenever the vote will take place it will be happening in a post-crisis Russia and the government’s effectiveness in fighting the pandemic will surely be factored into the voters’ decisions.

 

Election alert

Russia election alert #3

EPDE
Photo: dw.com

On January 20, 2020, the president of Russia submitted to the State Duma a draft law on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. To pass these amendments, authorities have also proposed to call an "all-Russian vote". These attempts to amend the constitution by calling such a vote instead of through existing legal procedures like a referendum raise serious concerns among Russian election experts about the legality of the constitutional change.