China: Foreign observers: Tibetan democracy is a moral example to the world | The Tibet Post

Representatives of foreign delegations observed ‘Exile Tibetan Primary Elections’ stressed Sunday that the voting process in Tibetan elections offers lessons for the Future and marked by high turnout. They said that “Tibetans in Exile will further strengthen the moral example they display to the world.” A four-delegates representing the Asia Democracy Network (ADN), the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), and the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) said they “wish to congratulate the Tibetan Community in Exile for turning out in large numbers to exercise their democratic right to select their leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner.” The members of the delegation for the “Tibet Election Monitoring Solidarity Mission” are; Mr Pradip Ghimire coordinator (NEMA); Ms Kanchan Khatri, Program Officer (NEMA); Mr Tur-Od Lkhagvajav, president (TIM); and Mr Ryan D. Whelan, campaign & advocacy coordinator (ANFREL).

Tunisia: Presidential Vote Goes to a Runoff | Wall Street Journal

Tunisia’s presidential election is poised to enter a hotly contested runoff vote next month, after unofficial results showed the interim president faring better than expected against the candidate widely tipped to win. Moncef Marzouki, who was voted in as interim president in 2011 by the Constituent Assembly, appeared to have secured between 32% and 35% of Sunday’s vote, according to a tabulation released on Monday by a respected Tunisian election monitoring group, Mourakiboun. Mr. Marzouki, a human-rights activist and longtime dissident during the autocratic regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was seen as the only candidate who could pose a challenge to favorite Beji Caid Essebsi, but few observers believed he could garner such a high percentage of the vote. He was believed to have been weakened by the slow and often turbulent transition in Tunisia since a popular uprising unseated Mr. Ben Ali in 2011.

Mauritania: Ex-president calls upcoming elections “farcical” | Middle East Eye

Former Mauritanian president Ely Ould Mohamed Vall on Tuesday called on local and international civil society groups not to recognize the country’s upcoming presidential polls in which incumbent President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz will vie for a second term in office. “These farcical elections will be supervised by a non-representative commission dedicated to serving the interests of one political party,” read a press statement issued by Vall. The June 21 presidential election is being boycotted by the National Forum for Democracy and Unity, an umbrella group of opposition parties ranging from social democrats to Islamists.

Afghanistan: Election monitors leave Afghanistan after Kabul hotel attack | The Guardian

Two foreign election observer and support missions have pulled staff out of Afghanistan after a Taliban attack on a hotel in Kabul, in a move that could undermine confidence in the outcome of next month’s vote. The presidential election on 5 April could mark the country’s first democratic transfer of power. Many fear a repeat of the widespread fraud that discredited the poll in 2009 when about 20% of votes were thrown out. “It’s really bad news,” said Jandad Spingar, director at the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, the largest Afghan monitoring group. “Having international observers in the election is really, really important … [to] give legitimacy to the process.”

Editorials: Azerbaijan’s ‘AppGate’ | Al Jazeera

Few people honestly thought that Azerbaijan stood a serious chance of conducting a fair and free presidential election on October 9. As I have written extensively, since the beginning of the year, Azerbaijani authorities have been engaged in an unprecedented crackdown to silence all forms of criticism and dissent. The underlying climate simply did not allow for a fair competition – not to mention that Azerbaijan has not held a single authentically democratic election since Aliyev came to power in 2003. Still, the brazen nature of the electoral violations that took place surprised even close observers of Azerbaijan. A day before the election, Meydan TV, a satellite/Internet television station, broke the story that set the tone for the whole election, which became known as the “AppGate” scandal. Meydan TV exposed an apparent fault of the Central Election Commission’s mobile phone application to allow users to track election results. On October 8, Meydan TV discovered that the results section of the application was showing, giving incumbent President Ilham Aliyev 72.76 percent of the vote before a single vote had been cast.

Russia: Opposition Leader Asserts Broad Problems in Moscow Race | New York Times

The Russian opposition leader, Aleksei A. Navalny, on Thursday submitted to a court more than 50,000 pages of documents illustrating what he said were irregularities in Sunday’s voting in the Moscow mayor’s race in an attempt to prove that he won enough votes to force a runoff against the incumbent, Sergei S. Sobyanin. But the court refused to block the inauguration of Mr. Sobyanin, who barely cleared the threshold for an outright victory with 51.4 percent. He was sworn in on Thursday evening during a ceremony in the city’s World War II museum. According to the official returns, Mr. Navalny placed second with 27.2 percent. Yet, even as Mr. Navalny and his aides lugged 21 boxes of documents to the courthouse, they acknowledged not only that there was little hope of overturning the results, but also that the voting had been relatively fair. So they have adopted a new message: while the vote was generally free of blatant fraud like ballot stuffing, the election itself was rigged from the beginning.

Russia: Vote monitoring group suspended under ‘foreign agent’ law | Reuters

Russia suspended an independent election monitoring group for six months on Wednesday, for failing to register as a “foreign agent” under a law that President Vladimir Putin’s critics say is part of a crackdown on dissent. The Moscow-based group, Golos, angered the government by publicizing evidence of fraud in a 2011 parliamentary vote that sparked opposition protests, and at the presidential election that returned Putin to the Kremlin for a third term last year. It is the first non-governmental organization (NGO) to have its operations suspended under the law Putin signed last July as part of a drive to decrease what he has said were efforts by Western countries to meddle in Russian politics. Golos denies it falls under the law, which obliges NGOs that receive any foreign funding and are deemed to be involved in political activity to register as “foreign agents”.

Russia: Election watchdog group must register as ‘foreign agent’ |

Election monitoring group Golos must register as a “foreign agent” even though it says it does not get any foreign funds, Russian officials said Friday. The independent organization says it has not received money from outside Russia since November 2012, when a new law went into effect governing non-governmental organizations such as Golos, RIA Novosti reported.

Russia: Vote monitor slams Russia ministry for ‘wanting it closed’ | AFP

Russian election monitoring group Golos (Voice) on Wednesday slammed the authorities for trying to halt its work after the justice ministry launched a court case accusing it of failing to declare itself as a “foreign agent” with international funding. “This is total lawlessness. They have given an instruction not to let us cover elections,” the group’s executive director Lilia Shibanova told AFP, vowing to fight back and possibly even countersue the ministry. The group, which has claimed mass falsifications in parliamentary and presidential polls won by Vladimir Putin, is accused of “carrying out the functions of a foreign agent” and failing to register. The case is seen as the first test of a law passed by parliament last year obliging foreign-funded NGOs to register as a “foreign agent” and widely criticised as a throwback to the Soviet past.

Russia: Charges Brought Against Election Monitors | New York Times

The federal Justice Ministry opened a legal case on Tuesday against Russia’s only independent election monitoring organization, charging that the group, Golos, and its executive director had violated a controversial new law by failing to register as a “foreign agent.”
Related The ministry’s action came a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany publicly chastised Russia over its intimidating treatment of nongovernmental organizations, including a series of recent raids. Ms.Merkel was the first Western leader to challenge President Vladmir V. Putin of Russia on the issue. She made her comments at a news conference in Hanover, Germany where the leaders toured a trade fair. The new law, which requires nonprofit groups that receive financing from abroad to register as foreign agents, was among the most provocative in a passel of Kremlin-supported legislation in recent months that was aimed at tightening restrictions and limiting foreign influence on nonprofit groups.

Ukraine: Violations build up as Ukrainian Election Day approaches | Kyiv Post

Just several weeks ahead of Election Day, Ukraine’s parliamentary campaign is already full of violations of election legislation that could affect the results and the vote’s legitimacy. Observers from OPORA, the largest domestic election monitoring group, point out increasing number of incidents of campaign violations, among them bribing voters, use of government resources of local authorities to the advantage of some parties and candidates, obstruction in election campaigning, unfair campaigning, use of law enforcement for campaign help and pressure on news media. “We have clearly determined that the [use of] administrative resources and [vote] bribing are those factors that may influence the outcome of [upcoming parliamentary] elections,” said Olha Ayvazovska, coordinator of electoral programs at OPORA, but could not elaborate whether this impact would be significant saying that it is too early to provide a final judgment as the campaign is not over yet.

Congo: Congolese vote in legislative elections | Radio Netherlands

Congolese voters went to the polls on Sunday for the first round of legislative elections expected to maintain an overwhelming majority for allies of longtime President Denis Sassou Nguesso. The oil-rich central African country has been open to multiparty politics since 1991 but wracked by two civil wars in which Sassou Nguesso, an army colonel who first came to power in 1979, played a prominent role. Voting got off to a late start in some parts of Brazzaville, but Sassou Nguesso, who cast his vote at midday near the presidential palace, sought to reassure the nation that everything was proceeding smoothly. “The instructions I had given for the elections to take place in peace, transparency, for them to be free, fair and credible, have for the most part been followed,” he said.

Cambodia: Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party expected to win Cambodia elections | The Brunei Times

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party was expected to win Cambodia’s local elections yesterday in a vote that monitors say is tainted by vote buying and other irregularities. The elections for local governing councils across the country are viewed as the key indicator of public opinion ahead of general elections in 2013. Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party has ruled Cambodia for nearly three decades. It has strong rural support and overwhelmingly won both previous local elections in 2002 and 2007. Preliminary results from Sunday’s vote were expected by Monday.

Russia: Demonstrations denouncing electoral irregularities repressed, election monitoring NGO slandered |

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), strongly condemns the pressure exercised on the NGOs, human rights defenders and peaceful protesters who denounced electoral irregularities and called for fair, free and independent electoral processes following the elections results on December 4, 2011, as well as the defamation campaign targeting the Golos, an NGO working on election monitoring, ahead of the election.

Golos (“the Voice”), a major Russian NGO specialising in election monitoring has been the target of a State-organised harassment and a defamation campaign since November 26, 2011. The harassment started a week before the holding of the elections when a State-controlled media, the pro-Government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, published an article dated November 26, criticising Golos and accusing them of “reducing the process of observing the electoral campaign and voting on election day into a way of making money”.

Later, on December 2, 2011, the State-controlled TV channel NTV entered Golos headquarters to question the staff with cameras in order to broadcast in the evening a half-hour documentary containing sharp criticism of the NGO. In line with the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s statement of November 27, the broadcast alluded that Golos had been a “recipient of grants” following “instructions of foreign governments”, and that the NGO’s executives were handling millions of dollars in cash, in an attempt to discredit them. Vladimir Putin had accused the “representatives of some foreign countries” to pay money to influence the elections and accused western-granted associations to make a “wasted effort” as “Juda [was] not considered the most respected biblical character” in Russia.

Russia: Websites downed in Russia poll ‘hack attack’ | AFP

Websites which revealed violations in Russia’s legislative polls were targeted in a mass hacking attack Sunday their operators said was aimed at preventing the exposure of mass election fraud. Popular Russian radio station Moscow Echo and election monitoring group Golos said their websites were the victims of massive cyber attacks, while several opposition news sites were inaccessible.

“The attack on the website on election day is clearly an attempt to inhibit publication of information about violations,” Moscow Echo editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov wrote on Twitter.

Golos said it was the victim of a similar “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attack, while several other opposition news sites were down. The Moscow Echo is popular among the liberal opposition although it is owned by state gas giant Gazprom. After the close of polls on Sunday, the Moscow Echo website was working again but the Golos website was still inaccessible.

India: EC warns Punjab officials against repeat of SGPC polls omissions | Times Of India

They may have had no powers to take note of and stop the alleged irregularities and partisan activities committed during the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) elections, but the Election Commission of India has definitely been alarmed by what happened during the gurdwara polls recently.

That’s why, in a major snub to the state government, chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi told the administrative heads – the deputy commissioners and the divisional commissioner – on Saturday at Ludhiana that they knew “what exactly happened in Punjab during the SGPC elections and you dare not repeat this again.”