The electoral reforms in three association countries of the Eastern Neighbourhood - Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova and their impact on political developments in these countries

26-10-2017

This study focuses on electoral reform in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, which have all concluded Association Agreements with the EU. Recent experience in all three countries has shown that political elites are changing (or not changing) the electoral system to hold onto power. Beyond the choice of electoral system, changes have often been introduced in a rush, without a genuinely inclusive, thorough and public debate. Frequent changes to legal frameworks, often made just prior to elections, have also not contributed to stability of law. Issues identified during elections are symptomatic of deeper weaknesses that must be addressed, including: lack of an independent judiciary, insufficient rule of law, non-functioning or selective use of oversight mechanisms, weak government institutions, concentration of media ownership, political corruption and misuse of state resources. All three countries are also experiencing widespread public discontent with the political elite, and political renewal is much needed. While electoral reform can play a role, efforts should be made to promote internal party democracy and overcome barriers to entry for new political actors.

This study focuses on electoral reform in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, which have all concluded Association Agreements with the EU. Recent experience in all three countries has shown that political elites are changing (or not changing) the electoral system to hold onto power. Beyond the choice of electoral system, changes have often been introduced in a rush, without a genuinely inclusive, thorough and public debate. Frequent changes to legal frameworks, often made just prior to elections, have also not contributed to stability of law. Issues identified during elections are symptomatic of deeper weaknesses that must be addressed, including: lack of an independent judiciary, insufficient rule of law, non-functioning or selective use of oversight mechanisms, weak government institutions, concentration of media ownership, political corruption and misuse of state resources. All three countries are also experiencing widespread public discontent with the political elite, and political renewal is much needed. While electoral reform can play a role, efforts should be made to promote internal party democracy and overcome barriers to entry for new political actors.