EPDE Annual Conference Took Place in Berlin, 14-15 December 2015

Berlin, 16 December 2015

On 14 and 15 December 2015 a third Annual Conference of EPDE took place in Berlin. 20 top monitors from 14 EPDE member organizations participated in the conference. The election experts developed a strategy of election monitoring in the countries of the EU Eastern Partnership and in Russia for the coming years. A special guest, prof. Pippa Norris from the Harward University and the University of Sindey presented the Electoral Integrity Project.

More information on the Election Intergrity Project is available here.

Armenia: Referendum assessed as illegitimate by Citizen Observers and EPDE

Yerewan, 8 December 2015

Citizen Observer Initiative and the European Platform for Democratic Elections found an unprecedented number of violations on the December 6 Constitutional Reform. The referendum campaign was marred by massive misuse of administrative resources to campaign in favor of the constitutional changes and influencing the voting and tabulation process via control of electoral administration on the territorial and local levels. Inaccuracy of voter lists remained the most crucial issue considering the confidentiality of voter participation that leaves room for later manipulations. On the voting day, observers reported an unprecedented number of violations of the electoral law and international standards which had systemic character. Citizen observers and some of the international media reported intimidation and threats across the country. Numerous manipulations of the voter lists, violations during the voting and the vote count, as well as high number of cases of direct falsifications of results by electoral commissions influenced the final outcome of the referendum.

You can find the whole statement as PDF (EN) here.

Referendum in Armenia: EPDE opens media center in Yerevan

Yerevan, 1 December 2015

EPDE opens International Media Center in Yerevan, Armenia for the Constitutional Referendum scheduled on 6 December 2015. Domestic and international experts will provide exclusive information on the preparations for the referendum and the conduct of the voting day. Simultaneous English translation and live stream on the EPDE website will be provided during all press conferences.

Detailed schedule about the location and time will be announced soon.

For further information please contact:

Tsovinar Nazaryan, +374 91 520204, tsovinar.nazaryan@gmail.com.

"More dialogue with Russian Federation" by Stefanie Schiffer

Berlin, 21 November 2015

Stefanie Schiffer, executive director of the European Exchange gGmbH and board member of the Petersburg Dialogue writes in the "Tagesspiegel" about the Petersburg Dialogue, the role of civil societies and points out the problems between the Russian and German sides. “The Petersburg Dialogue was opened by the German side - that's good”, - says Stefanie Schiffer. “Nevertheless, the Petersburg Dialogue is much overrated. Generally, it fails to reach Russian society, repressions against independent media and NGOs go on unabated. It is of great importance to make Russian society understand and realize its interests in the rule of law.”

You can find the whole text here.

Ukraine 2015 Local Elections: EPDE Experts Reports

Foto: Associate Press

Berlin, November 2015

During the Local Elections in Ukraine held on October 25 and November 15, 2015 20 EPDE experts and observers analyzed key issues of the election process. The project was founded by the European Union, the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Polish-German Cooperation Foundation.

Election experts of the EPDE report on key aspects of the Ukraine Local Elections held in October and November 2015:  new election law, campaign in Donbass, so called "fake observation" and voting oportunities for Internally Displaced Persons. Also, 15 EPDE members assess the election day proceedings.The research project was founded by the EU, the German GIZ and the German-Polish Cooperation Foundation.

See here for a series of preliminary assessments and conclusions (in Russian, English version to be published by the end of November).

CIVIL MONITORING OF ELECTRONIC PURCHASE SYSTEM ProZorro

Berlin, 13 November 2015

Transparent expenditure of public money is one of the most important factors of corruption prevention. So, due to initiative of NGOs, public authorities and businessmen the electronic purchase system ProZorro http://prozorro.org was created. This system gives an opportunity to make purchases in our state transparent and accessible for any kind of business. All of the purchases that are made in a system can be followed up in a real-time. Due to information that is placed at a web-site http://bi.prozorro.org and updates permanently civil activists have an opportunity to monitor and control purchases that were made or that are conducted right now and react to misuses. To monitor purchases and to know to which part attention is needed representatives of NGOs studied at training, that was managed by the project “Kiev Dialogue”  in Cherkasy. Representatives of Economic development and Trade Department of Cherkasy regional state administration Roman Karmannik and Olga Tolupa taught how to recognize manipulations.

Armenian Election Monitoring Groups protest against pushing forward constitutional reform by the presidential administration

Berlin, 8 October 2015

We urge the Armenian authorities not to appoint the constitutional referendum without a substantial public debate, as well as before establishing preconditions for transparent voting. We appeal to the international institutions who promotes democracy and human rights not to support the constitutional referendum in Armenia in the situation of the distrust towards the authorities or stay neutral towards the antidemocratic measures of the Armenian government. We regret the role of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe in the de facto promotion of the constitutional referendum which puts its professional reputation and impartiality into question.

Please find the whole text here.

Civic observers protest against the intransparent pushing for constitutional reform in Armenia

Yerewan, 5 October 2015

Armenian authorities push forward a referendum on comprehesive constitutional amendments changing the governance system from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary one. The changes would enable the incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan to stay in power after the expiration of his second and last term in office and to secure the monopoly power of his polical party. The civic election observers and human rigths groups of Armenia protest against the lack of transparency and public consensus on the planned changes as well as the hasty and aggresive way of pushing for the constitutional reform.

You can find the report of Transparency International about the non-compliance of the initiated constitutional referendum with the international standards here and HCA Vanadzor Assessment օf RA Constitutional Reforms here.

The 11th Annual Conference of "Kiev Dialogue" : Between crisis and reform: human rights and justice in Ukraine

Kyiv, 4 October 2015

The 11th Annual Conference of "Kiev Dialogue" will cover topics such as the human rights situation in Crimea under Russian occupation, human rights issues in the South-Eastern part of  Ukraine: observations and recommendations, refugee problems in Ukraine,  minority and human rights under reforms of system of justice.

The aim of the conference is to draw up recommendations for improving the human rights situation in Ukraine and Crimea.

The conference will be held in cooperation with Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, International Renaissance Foundation, the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament and with support of the Foreign Office.

You can find  the program of the conference here.

To attend the conference please register until October 8, 2015.

Increasing Harassment of EPDE Members - Results of the EPDE side event on the HDIM of ODIHR on the 25th of September, Warsaw

Berlin, 1 October 2015

The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) is alarmed about the increasing harassment of citizens' election observers in the ODIHR region. EPDE members in Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and Belarus are affected by intimidation of staff members, criminal persecution, non-registration of the organisations or of labelling of the organisation as "foreign agents". Authoritarian regimes "copy and paste" laws to restrict the watchdog function of independent election observers. EPDE has organised a discussion on the Human Dimension Meeting of ODIHR in Warsaw 25 September 2015. 

You may find the conclusions of the discussion here.