June 02, 2020
Crackdowns continue ahead of the Presidential election. Vloggers, activists, and participants of peaceful protests have been arrested, including Siarhei Tsikhanouski, critical vlogger, who has been arrested multiple times. The situation has prompted MEPs Robert Biedroń, chair of the delegation for relations with Belarus, and Petras Auštrevičius, EP's standing rapporteur on Belarus, to release a joint statement voicing their concern over the crackdowns.
May 28, 2020
The Political Accountability Foundation (PAF) states that the changes to the electoral legal framework prior to the May 10 Presidential election, as well as the National Election Commission's subsequent statement that voting could not take place, give grounds for concern about the quality of Polish election law and the constitutionality of the current situation around the Presidential election. Full statement available here.
May 27, 2020
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.
In an opinion document on the Draft Act of May 12 concerning the conduct of the Presidential election, ODIHR states that some previous concerns have been addressed, but still recommends, among other things, that any decision by the national election commission to cancel in-person voting has to be taken well in advance of E-Day to allow proper implementation of postal voting and that any legislative amendments have to be adopted through a public and inclusive process.
ISFED discovered another false media network on Facebook which survived Facebook’s recent takedown of false media pages in Georgia. The false media pages brand themselves as genuine media outlets, operate in a similar manner and use sponsoring of posts as a way to disseminate pro-government narratives. This once again highlights importance of enforcing transparency of political advertisement on Facebook.
This week's observation report states that this year's campaign is marked by an increase in election-related protests, triggered also by public discontent over the handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Crackdowns and provocations by authorities against activists and members of other candidates' nomination groups have continued, and observers report an abuse of administrative resources in collecting signatures in support of incumbent President Lukashenka.
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 and be adopted soon in order to guarantee that the pre-election campaign can proceed.
Promo-LEX reports that legislative loopholes concerning party finance remain despite amendments to the legal framework and that reporting on party finance to the CEC for 2019 has been at its lowest rate in comparison to 2014-2018. Unreported expenses amount to about 19.02 million lei (975 000 Euro).
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