The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) and four of its member organisations (ISFED, Promo-LEX, OPORA, CVU and HCA Vanadzor) today took part in the Euronest Conference on electoral reform in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. The conference was hosted by Rebecca Harms, Co-President of the Euronest PA, at the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels.
During the event, several EPDE speakers highlighted that one of the main challenges for electoral reform in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova is the mixed election system. According to the experts, the majoritarian element of the mixed system is prone to vote-buying and the misuse of administrative resources in elections – as long as corruption in politics persists and effective criminal liability for election falsification is lacking.
Nataliya Linnyk, Vice-Director of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU), highlighted that the coalition agreement of 2014 envisaged the transition to a proportional electoral system with open lists in Ukraine, but its approval is still critically dependant on political consensus and the existence of political will of the president. According to Legal Advisor Olga Kotsiuruba from OPORA, the International community should insist on the introduction of the proportional electoral system in Ukraine, push forward the adoption of the law on sanctions against election fraud and demand a new composition of the Central Election Commission representing the parliamentary factions.
Nicolae Panfil, Program Coordinator at Promo-LEX, EPDE’s Moldovan member, criticised that in 2017 Moldova adopted a mixed electoral system in a hurry, with limited discussions that merely simulated public consultations and without a consensus within the society. Promo-LEX has analysed several deficiencies in the new law, including the ignorance of the Venice Commission’s recommendation to establish an independent commission for drawing the boundaries of the single-mandate constituencies and on lowering the 6% barrier, as well as the election of the MPs only through a single round election and the lack of the equality of votes.
In Georgia, the ruling party Georgian Dream recently decided to introduce proportional representation only from 2024 on, Mikheil Benidze, Executive Director of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), reported. The constitutional amendments were single-handedly and hastily adopted without broad consensus and support from the opposition. ISFED recommends to improve the electoral system in a way that allows a more pluralistic and fair representation of political parties in the Parliament for 2020 and the introduction of the proportional system immediately from 2020 instead of 2024, among other proposals.
EPDE is an alliance of electoral observation organizations founded in 2012 with the aim of supporting civil society election observation in the countries of the Eastern Partnership, in the Russian Federation and throughout Europe, and to contribute to democratic electoral processes.
More about EPDE: www.epde.org