Amendments to election law risk undermining conduct of free and fair elections
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.
The draft law was registered on 19 June 2020 and adopted in the first reading on 9 July 2020, namely 21 days after the registration. Yesterday, 15 July 2020, the Legal Committee of the Parliament approved the draft for the second reading. This was most likely done to adopt the draft law in the second reading during the meeting of Parliament this week, on Thursday or Friday (the draft agenda has not yet been published). In this case, the draft law will be adopted in less than a month from registration.
The draft law risks undermining the conduct of free and fair elections on the following main reasons:
- Lack of a broad political consensus on the proposed amendments among the parliamentary parties and the stakeholders. A broad consensus is mandatory for ensuring the credibility and fairness of the forthcoming 2020 Presidential elections;
- The draft law was developed and approved in the first reading in a hasty manner and in violation of the legislation on decision-making transparency, while public consultations were merely formal;
- The numerous flawed provisions contained in the draft law may seriously affect the activity of observers and voting rights.
A short analysis of the key problematic provisions, prepared by member organizations of the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (CALC), can be found here.