Documents

2020

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. 

 

Presidential Election

Belarus Election Alert #7

EPDE
Photo: Viasna

A volunteer coordinator of EPDE’s member organization, the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, as well as her husband were detained yesterday over charges of causing mass riots. Meanwhile, her husband has been released. There is a growing pressure on civil society in the country as authorities' repressions continue. Human rights organizations as well as the European Parliament and UN experts call for a cessation of violence by authorities against protestors and for the release of now over 80 political prisoners in the country.

 

Election alert

Election Alert #6 - Trend against established parties. Candidates under undue pressure.

EPDE
Photo: dw.com

Last weekend’s regional and local elections in Russia represented a final rehearsal ahead of next year’s federal parliamentary elections. This was also the last election to be managed by the acting composition of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) and its chairperson, Ella Pamfilova, whose term in office is to expire in March next year. According to independent election observers, the elections displayed two strongly conflicting trends.

 

Election alert

Election Alert #5 - Unlevel playing field in regional and local elections

EPDE
Photo: news.sky.com

The regional and local elections scheduled on 13 September 2020 are to be the first major electoral campaign in Russia to take place following the passing of the Constitutional amendments and the introduction of the epidemiological restrictions. A total of 9071 campaigns are taking place incl. State Duma by-elections in four districts, elections of 18 regional heads (governors), 11 regional parliaments and 22 city councils in administrative centres. More than 78 thousand deputy mandates and elected positions are to be filled.

 

EPDE Alert

EPDE calls for authorities to refrain from interfering in the activities of the CEC ahead of local elections

EPDE
Image source: RBK-Ukraine

In recent days there have been reports that officials from the President's Office in Ukraine insisted that members of the Central Election Commission resign. EPDE, OPORA, and CVU are concerned about such efforts by the President’s Office to threaten CEC members and interfere with the work of the CEC and call on authorities to refrain from exerting pressure on the CEC and ensure the independent and effective working of election management bodies.

 

Presidential Election

Belarus Election Alert #6

EPDE
Photo: www.newsabc.net

Following the presidential election on August 9 and the declaration of Lukashenka's victory, protests broke out across Belarus. They were dispersed violently by law enforcement agencies, resulting in numerous injuries, at least one casualty, and thousands of arrests. In this post-election edition Election Alert, we share the preliminary report and post E-Day statements of the Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections and of other election monitors and experts.

 

Presidential Election

Belarus Election Alert #5

EPDE
Photo: Sergei Gapon / AFP

On August 9, 2020, presidential elections take place in Belarus, in which the incumbent Aleksander Lukashenka is standing for the sixth time. Early voting took place from August 4 to August 8. Election observers complain about criminal and administrative prosecution of opposition politicians and their supporters, pressure on voters to cast their votes ahead of time and the massive restrictions on independent election observation.

 

Presidential Election

Belarus Election Alert #4

EPDE

The CEC has declined to register Viktar Babaryka and Valery Tsapkala, making two of Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s key rivals ineligible to run for President. Following this decision, protests broke out across Belarus which were accompanied by a wave of arrests. Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections (HRDs), now the only independent observers of this election, report on this and the entire nomination and registration phase of the election campaign.

 

Election Alert

Amendments to election law risk undermining conduct of free and fair elections

CALC

A draft law to amend electoral legislation, which election experts and observers have criticised for including provisions that could restrict both voter rights and activities of election observers, is likely to be adopted at breakneck speed, barely a month passing between its registration and likely adoption during its second reading in parliament this week.

 

Presidential Election

Belarus Election Alert #3

EPDE
Source: tellerreport.com

The Central Election Commission has until 14 July to complete the registration process of candidates for the presidential race. Observers from the "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" campaign report that further measures were taken to disadvantage rival candidates in recent days: locations where election activities can lawfully take place have been restricted, further members of campaign teams have been detained, and nearly all opposition nominees to PECs were blocked.

 

Presidential Election

Belarus Election Alert #2

EPDE
Source: tut.by

Lukashenka attempts to eliminate his competition. The end of the signature collection phase for contenders seeking to be nominated as a Presidential candidate was accompanied by a wave of further detentions of candidates last week. Presidential election being held “in an atmosphere of fear, constant threats and intimidation” - Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections.

 

Presidential Election

Belarus Election Alert #1

EPDE
Source: rferl.org

The Belarusian Presidential election is gearing up to be an exciting race with mass public engagement and protests across the country against the incumbent President. EPDE cooperates with the joint election observation campaign, the "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections". Until the election day on August 9, EPDE will share reports from this observation campaign along with information from other sources in biweekly Election Alerts to inform you about the ongoing election campaign.

 

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

Election Alert #4 - 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.