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Azerbaijan ahead of the parliamentary elections

06-02-2020

Azerbaijan is an authoritarian country in the southern Caucasus. Part of the Eastern Partnership, Azerbaijan has attempted to keep a pragmatic balance between the European Union (EU) and Russia. Rich in oil and natural gas, Baku's poor human rights record and consistent failure to hold free and fair elections have continued to hamper its ties with the EU. The 9 February 2020 snap elections in the wake of abrupt top-down reforms in late 2019 are not expected to substantially change the country's leadership ...

Azerbaijan is an authoritarian country in the southern Caucasus. Part of the Eastern Partnership, Azerbaijan has attempted to keep a pragmatic balance between the European Union (EU) and Russia. Rich in oil and natural gas, Baku's poor human rights record and consistent failure to hold free and fair elections have continued to hamper its ties with the EU. The 9 February 2020 snap elections in the wake of abrupt top-down reforms in late 2019 are not expected to substantially change the country's leadership or its overall (geo-)political orientation.

Bolivia: A test for democracy

16-01-2020

Bolivia's Evo Morales was probably the most successful among the presidents belonging to the left-wing movements that swept across the Latin American region in the early 2000s. However, his insistence on clinging to power in defiance of the Constitution and the will of the majority of Bolivians, including many of his former supporters, ultimately led to his demise and sparked political conflict. Nevertheless, the agreement reached between all parties to call new elections gives hope for the future ...

Bolivia's Evo Morales was probably the most successful among the presidents belonging to the left-wing movements that swept across the Latin American region in the early 2000s. However, his insistence on clinging to power in defiance of the Constitution and the will of the majority of Bolivians, including many of his former supporters, ultimately led to his demise and sparked political conflict. Nevertheless, the agreement reached between all parties to call new elections gives hope for the future and could be an example for other countries in the region to emulate.

Ukraine's presidential election 2019

19-02-2019

Ukrainians will be heading to the polls twice in 2019, five years after Ukrainians toppled the pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovich, demanding a functioning democracy and an end to kleptocracy. On 31 March, Ukrainians will cast their ballot in the first round of the first presidential election since the Euromaidan revolution. In October, they will elect a new parliament. Amid Russia's ongoing hybrid war against Ukraine, the elections are a test case for the country's democracy, its unprecedented ...

Ukrainians will be heading to the polls twice in 2019, five years after Ukrainians toppled the pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovich, demanding a functioning democracy and an end to kleptocracy. On 31 March, Ukrainians will cast their ballot in the first round of the first presidential election since the Euromaidan revolution. In October, they will elect a new parliament. Amid Russia's ongoing hybrid war against Ukraine, the elections are a test case for the country's democracy, its unprecedented reform process and its European path.

EP democracy support activities and their follow-up, and prospects for the future

18-01-2019

The Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) is responsible for coordinating the democracy support activities of the European Parliament (EP). Over the course of the eighth legislature, the DEG has aimed to bring strategic focus to its democracy support activities through the introduction of a Comprehensive Democracy Support Approach (CDSA). While the introduction of the CDSA has outlined a vision for more focused and strategic interventions around the electoral cycle, the implementation ...

The Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) is responsible for coordinating the democracy support activities of the European Parliament (EP). Over the course of the eighth legislature, the DEG has aimed to bring strategic focus to its democracy support activities through the introduction of a Comprehensive Democracy Support Approach (CDSA). While the introduction of the CDSA has outlined a vision for more focused and strategic interventions around the electoral cycle, the implementation remains a ‘work in progress’. There have been some innovative and long-term activities that bring coherence with EU policies, notably in Ukraine, but also there continue to be some cases of one-off actions without clear objectives. The comparative advantage of the EP in democracy support is its political perspective and ability to work ‘peer to peer’ with other parliamentarians, which has been demonstrated in its capacity building and mediation and dialogue activities. Overall the EP should continue to strive to be innovative and strategic in its democracy support, working where it has influence and bringing policy coherence with broader EU priorities. Election observation remains relevant, and follow-up to observer recommendations could be enhanced. The Sakharov Prize and the activities around it, which are also coordinated by the DEG, are consistent with EU values, including through support for human rights defenders and civil society.

Външен автор

Holly Ruthrauff, Hannah Roberts, Sarah Crozier

Zimbabwe's post-electoral challenges

13-09-2018

As international isolation is no longer economically bearable, Zimbabwe has been searching for legitimacy on the global stage. The post-Mugabe transition government, from a ruling party fraction, committed itself to free and fair elections and invited international observers for first time in 16 years. But much-awaited change in Zimbabwe needs much more than a newly elected president and legislature. The country suffers from institutional dysfunction driven by years of a de facto one-party, military-backed ...

As international isolation is no longer economically bearable, Zimbabwe has been searching for legitimacy on the global stage. The post-Mugabe transition government, from a ruling party fraction, committed itself to free and fair elections and invited international observers for first time in 16 years. But much-awaited change in Zimbabwe needs much more than a newly elected president and legislature. The country suffers from institutional dysfunction driven by years of a de facto one-party, military-backed regime, characterised by rampant corruption and systematic patronage, securing the capture of key economic areas and political institutions by party elites. The victory of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), in both the legislative and presidential elections, and the deadly crackdown on the opposition that followed, seriously undermine the prospects for genuine Zimbabwean democracy. Although international observers assessed the electoral process as relatively free and competitive, it took place on an uneven playing field due to years of ZANU-PF domination. EU observers, in particular, expressed strong concern regarding the intimidation of voters, the pro-state bias of the media, and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's (ZEC) lack of transparency. Some observers have indeed warned that the ousting of Robert Mugabe, which had raised so many hopes, was just part of a power reshuffle inside Zimbabwe's authoritarian regime, meant to protect the interests of the governing elites. Indeed, powerful forces obstruct change in Zimbabwe, seeking the sole preservation of their economic interests in the renewed political context. It is likely that the newly-elected President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, will pursue some economic reform, especially to attract foreign investors, while maintaining political control from above. In this situation, the EU, having declared its readiness to fully re-engage with Zimbabwe, has to use every lever to induce structural changes and to support civil society in this deeply corrupt and dysfunctional state.

EU support to democracy and good governance in Africa

17-11-2017

Support to democracy, good governance and human rights is a central component of EU cooperation with Africa, and of EU development aid to the continent, under the different frameworks shaping relations with African countries, such as the ACP framework for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Neighbourhood Policy for North Africa, and the Africa-EU Joint Strategy for cooperation at continental level. EU support is all the more important as democracy in many African countries is recent and still fragile. Democratic ...

Support to democracy, good governance and human rights is a central component of EU cooperation with Africa, and of EU development aid to the continent, under the different frameworks shaping relations with African countries, such as the ACP framework for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Neighbourhood Policy for North Africa, and the Africa-EU Joint Strategy for cooperation at continental level. EU support is all the more important as democracy in many African countries is recent and still fragile. Democratic progress has had its ups and downs on the African continent since the 1990s wave of democratisation. On the whole, the number of free countries has stagnated, and progress on good governance indicators has been slow. Popular support for democratic systems in African countries remains however high, justifying EU efforts to promote democracy. The EU has a vast array of tools at its disposal. It has used the conditionality enshrined in its bilateral agreements to respond to serious political crises, particularly in Africa. EU budget support, which is vital to several African countries, has been subject to similar democratic and human rights conditionality. EU development aid includes an important component supporting good governance and rule of law. The EU has become an important partner in election observation and democracy assistance, and most of Africa has received EU missions. However, whether these tools of democracy support can make a significant difference remains a complicated issue. Much depends on conditions on the ground and the willingness of the partner governments to make progress. As the EU is about to redefine its priorities for cooperation with the African continent, democracy and good governance are acknowledged as a central pillar of resilience, strongly interlinked with peace and stability.

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 ...

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.

Parliamentary elections in Jordan

15-09-2016

Jordanians will go to the polls on 20 September 2016 to elect a new parliament, at a time of unprecedented regional upheaval, an increasingly challenging domestic economic situation and high levels of public discontent. A new electoral law introduces multi-member districts and elections using a list system, replacing the 'one-person, one-vote' rule. This has prompted the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the main opposition party, which had boycotted the 2010 and 2013 elections, to participate in the election ...

Jordanians will go to the polls on 20 September 2016 to elect a new parliament, at a time of unprecedented regional upheaval, an increasingly challenging domestic economic situation and high levels of public discontent. A new electoral law introduces multi-member districts and elections using a list system, replacing the 'one-person, one-vote' rule. This has prompted the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the main opposition party, which had boycotted the 2010 and 2013 elections, to participate in the election. Reducing the number of seats in the parliament from 150 to 130, the new legislation also provides for better representation of Jordan's largest cities while retaining quotas for women and minorities, including Christians, Circassians and Chechens. The IAF’s participation in the elections increases their legitimacy. However, in view of the strength of the monarchy, few expect the composition of the new parliament to significantly alter the country's domestic or foreign policies.

Public expectations and EU policies - Promotion of democracy and peace in the world

30-06-2016

According to a new Eurobarometer survey, two thirds of European Union citizens would like to see even stronger EU involvement in the promotion of democracy and peace in the world. Democracy and peace are the fundamental values on which the EU is based and the guiding principles for its external action. The EU has at its disposal a vast array of tools to promote democracy and peace in the world, including its own diplomatic body, development aid and trade conditionality that it can leverage to this ...

According to a new Eurobarometer survey, two thirds of European Union citizens would like to see even stronger EU involvement in the promotion of democracy and peace in the world. Democracy and peace are the fundamental values on which the EU is based and the guiding principles for its external action. The EU has at its disposal a vast array of tools to promote democracy and peace in the world, including its own diplomatic body, development aid and trade conditionality that it can leverage to this purpose. The EU finances a variety of actions that directly or indirectly promote democracy, such as support for governance, elections, civil society and free media, while a specific instrument is dedicated to peace and stability.

Mongolia ahead of the 2016 legislative elections

28-06-2016

The elections to Mongolia's unicameral State Great Khural scheduled for 29 June 2016 will be held amidst a serious deterioration of the country's macroeconomic indicators caused by domestic and external factors. There is widespread voter scepticism as regards the ability of the national political elites to curb rising unemployment and poverty which affects a third of the population, as well as to eradicate pervasive corruption. The new election arrangements suggest a two-horse race between the ruling ...

The elections to Mongolia's unicameral State Great Khural scheduled for 29 June 2016 will be held amidst a serious deterioration of the country's macroeconomic indicators caused by domestic and external factors. There is widespread voter scepticism as regards the ability of the national political elites to curb rising unemployment and poverty which affects a third of the population, as well as to eradicate pervasive corruption. The new election arrangements suggest a two-horse race between the ruling centre-right Democratic Party and the opposition centre-left Mongolian People's Party. To support Mongolia’s fragile democracy, sandwiched between authoritarian China and Russia, the European Parliament is sending a delegation to observe the elections.

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