Comparative study on conditions for citizen election observation in the EU–EaP and Russia
EPDE’s newest study has found that conditions for domestic election observation, both in legislation and in practice, and attitudes towards it vary considerably across countries of the European Union’s Eastern Neighborhood.
“Russia ranks the worst since there are no legal provisions allowing for civil society to be directly accredited as election observers”, says Tatyana Hilscher-Bogussevich, election expert and author of this comparative analysis.
There is a similarly restrictive environment in Azerbaijan and Belarus, where independent observers’ organizations struggle to be registered. “In those three countries civil society faces increasing intimidation and harassment by authorities and there is a shrinking space for independent civil society”, says Hilscher-Bogussevich.
Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia and Georgia rank better and generally facilitate citizen observation, however issues still remain, including inefficient and complicated accreditation procedures or unequal treatment of domestic and international observers in granting them access to election procedures.
This study is a first in a series based on the newly launched Catalogue of Recommendations on Electoral Reform, an online database which contains and assesses over 490 recommendations formulated since 2012 by citizen election observation organizations from countries of the Eastern Neighborhood. This is the first database of its kind bringing reports from multiple citizen observer organizations together to highlight the need for more attention to and implementation of recommendations for electoral reforms made by citizen election observers.
An analysis of the recommendations has also found that there is a lack of implementation by national law-makers on recommendations for electoral reform made by citizen election observers in the Eastern Neighborhood countries.
“Insufficient follow-up appears to stem rather from the lack of political will of governments to fulfill the international obligations and to engage in a dialogue with civil society organizations”, states Hilscher-Bogussevich focusing on conditions for citizen election observers in the region.
The database is currently available as a beta version under the following link db.epde.org
The full study is available here