international observers

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Pakistan: National Observers Note Irregularities in Pakistan Elections | VoA News

Pakistan’s Election Commission on Sunday endorsed the country’s landmark elections that will see the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power via the ballot box in the country’s history. It declared the country’s elections for a new national assembly and government leadership as “largely free and fair.” But Pakistani non-governmental observers noted voting irregularities and terror attacks in parts of the country meant that not everyone’s voice was heard. Free and Fair Election Network CEO Muddassir Rizvi says there were serious incidents of voting irregularities, fraud and intimidation in areas such as in the southern city of Karachi. “In general, we are not questioning the legitimacy of the process in most parts of Pakistan except for certain constituencies in Karachi, and perhaps some constituencies in Baluchistan where the anti-election campaign was so active that in many instances the election commission could not even set up polling stations,” said Rizvi. The Election Commission said due to threats, the vote in 43 polling stations in the city would have to be re-held.

Full Article: National Observers Note Irregularities in Pakistan Elections.

Russia: New election bill to restrict foreign influence | Russia Beyond The Headlines

A new bill on the State Duma elections is expected to impose further restrictions to the work of international observers during Russian parliamentary campaigns. The bill would also prohibit Russian parties from forming electoral blocs and, at the same time, reduce the threshold for parties running in the elections from 7 to 5 percent. Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted a new version of a bill on parliamentary elections to the State Duma on Friday, a spokesman for the chamber’s executive office told Interfax. The bill, drafted by the Central Elections Committee, was widely debated and discussed, including by parliamentarians and members of political parties not represented in the State Duma. The bill on the State Duma elections prohibits foreign citizens and international organizations from influencing the election outcome in Russia in any form. “Activities by foreign citizens, stateless persons, foreign organizations, international organizations and international public movements promoting or impeding the organization of State Duma elections, the nomination or registration of specific candidates, federal lists of candidates, and the election of candidates to the State Duma are prohibited,” the draft law submitted by the Russian president to the State Duma on Friday says.

Full Article: New election bill to restrict foreign influence | Russia Beyond The Headlines.

Armenia: Polls open in Armenian presidential election | Al Jazeera English

Armenians have begun voting in presidential elections already marred by the shooting of an opposition candidate and the lack of any prominent alternative to incumbent Serzh Sarksyan. The government is hoping for a peaceful election that will improve the country’s prospects of European integration, after the disputed presidential elections that brought Sarksyan to power in 2008 ended in clashes in which 10 people died. Sarksyan has called for the elections to be “exemplary” and stressed that Armenia has “no future” if its polls cannot correspond to European standards. Most opinion polls give Sarksyan a strong lead and the fractured opposition forces have failed to find a common challenger to the incumbent leader. … International observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe will monitor voting, which was scheduled to end at 1600 GMT.

Full Article: Polls open in Armenian presidential election - Europe - Al Jazeera English.

Ghana: 2nd day of voting due to technical hitches | Houston Chronicle

International observers endorsed Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary polls despite delays at polling stations that pushed voting into a second day Saturday. “All of Africa was looking at Ghana to make sure that they live up to their reputation and their name of being a mature democracy,” said Ahmed Issak Hassan, head of an observer mission from the South Africa-based Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa. “I think so far the people of Ghana, the political leadership have lived up to that expectation.

Full Article: Ghana: 2nd day of voting due to technical hitches - Houston Chronicle.

Ghana: 4 Ways To Steal An Election In Ghana | GhanaWeb

Of course there are several ways to rig an election but I have put them in a four quadrant grid to cover some of the other variations as well. In the case of Ghana’s forthcoming elections I came up with these: the Tain Effect strategy (TES), flaws in the Biometric exercise, Voter suppression and the Voter maximizer strategy. Certain factors must come into play for it to execute efficiently: It must take place in a constituency you are highly favored to win aka Tain. You intentionally cause a delay in your Tain using ‘Dumsor’ (rolling blackouts) as an excuse- an act of their evil god. Your opponents have already turned in figures and all their polling stations closed. You cause disruptions using Djan’s method of machomen and foot soldiers to dispute your opponents figures.

Full Article: 4 Ways To Steal An Election In Ghana | Feature Article 2012-11-19.

Voting Blogs: OSCE vs. Texas and Iowa: The Facts Behind the Fight | Election Academy

One of the stranger stories to emerge from the pre-election “silly season” is the fight between state officials in Texas and Iowa and international observers from the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), who are in the United States preparing for their sixth mission to observe the election process since 2002. Specifically, last week Texas’ Attorney General threatened to arrest observers from the OSCE/ODIHR team if they come within 100 feet of a Texas polling place on Election Day. Iowa’s Secretary of State issued the same warning earlier this week regarding any observers within 300 feet of an Iowa polling place.

Full Article: OSCE vs. Texas and Iowa: The Facts Behind the Fight - Election Academy.

Ukraine: Ten days before polling day | The Economist

The ruling Party of Regions and its allies look set to win Ukraine’s parliamentary election on October 28th. They may even gain a constitutional majority with control of two-thirds of the parliament. This will likely happen despite the fact that most Ukrainians regularly tell pollsters their country is heading “in the wrong direction” and less than a quarter of them plan to vote for the Party of Regions. Perhaps the most important reason for this is that Ukraine has reverted to the mixed proportional and first-past-the-post system last used in 2002. Back then, it allowed Leonid Kuchma, an unpopular president, to secure a working majority in parliament thanks to a divided opposition and post-election defections to his camp. The same conditions are in place now for Viktor Yanukovych (pictured above), the current president. His candidates can come out on top in first-past-the-post constituencies where three or more opposition politicians are competing. On October 14th the two main anti-Yanukovych forces agreed to withdraw some of their candidates in some districts in order to limit this phenomenon, but they have stopped far short of a genuine alliance. It is testament to the current parliamentary opposition’s ineffectiveness that it allowed this electoral reform to pass last year, giving the ruling party a chance to retain power in an election that could be classed as free and fair (given that an elected parliament had agreed to its rules).

Full Article: Ukrainian politics: Ten days before polling day | The Economist.

Belarus: Elections in Belarus: lack of neutrality, competitiveness and impartiality | New Europe

Elections to appoint the House of Representatives in Belarus took place on 23 September 2012. According to the preliminary conclusions of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and their Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) AND OSCE PA* international observers in the country, the elections were not administered in an impartial manner and the complaints and appeals process did not guarantee effective remedy. Furthermore, the preliminary report seems to indicate that the lack of neutrality and impartiality on the part of election commissions severely undermined public confidence in the process, while the lack of proper counting procedures or ways for observers to verify the results raised serious concerns.

Full Article: Elections in Belarus: lack of neutrality, competitiveness and impartiality | New Europe.

Belarus: Belarus denies visas to two European poll observers | The Financial

Belarus has denied visas to two observers who planned to monitor Sunday’s parliamentary polls in the isolated country for the OSCE mission, Europe’s security and rights body said Wednesday. “Two parliament members from Germany and Lithuania who planned to observe the elections were told they would be denied visas” by the Belarussian foreign ministry, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly said. Visa denials to European lawmakers from international observer missions are extremely rare, and the last time Minsk barred foreign observers was in 2006, said spokesman for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Neil Simon. Simon named the two banned observers as Marieluise Beck from Germany and Emanuelis Zingeris from Lithuania.

Full Article: The FINANCIAL - Belarus denies visas to two European poll observers.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Ivanishvili Says to Accept Georgian Election Results Deemed ‘Legitimate’ by International Observers | Civil.Ge

Leader of Georgian Dream opposition coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, said on Sunday that his coalition would accept results of elections if October 1 parliamentary polls were deemed as legitimate by international observer organizations. Ivanishvili, who was interviewed by the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s weekly program Accents, also said that it was President Saakashvili who was interested in having post-election disorders.  Asked whether he would accept election results if those results were deemed “legitimate” by “authoritative” international observer organizations, Ivanishvili responded: “Yes, of course.”

Full Article: Civil.Ge | Ivanishvili Says to Accept Election Results Deemed 'Legitimate' by Int'l Observers.

Libya: Wartime Prime Minister Jibril takes early lead in Libya vote | Reuters

Wartime rebel prime minister Mahmoud Jibril took an early lead in Libya’s national assembly election, according to partial tallies released on Monday that pointed to a weaker than expected showing for Islamist parties. If confirmed that trend would set Libya apart from other Arab Spring countries such as Egypt and Tunisia where groups with overtly religious agendas have done well – although Jibril insists his multi-party alliance is neither secular nor liberal and includes sharia Islamic law among its core values. Saturday’s poll was the first free national vote in six decades and drew a line under 42 years of rule under former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. International observers said it went well despite violent incidents that killed at least two people. Jibril’s National Forces Alliance (NFA) was heading for landslide victories in the Tripoli suburb of Janzour and the western region towns of Zlitan, Misalata, Tarhouna and Khoms with over three-quarters of votes counted in those areas. In Misrata, Libya’s third city, the Union for the Homeland led by a long-time Gaddafi opponent, was on course to win.

Full Article: Wartime PM Jibril takes early lead in Libya vote | Top News | Reuters.

Armenia: OSCE Reaffirms Armenian Election Verdict | ArmeniaNow.com

Western monitors representing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reaffirmed on Tuesday their cautious assessment of Armenia’s recent parliamentary elections, praising the election campaign but criticizing voting in a “considerable” number of polling stations. In its final report, the largest international vote-monitoring mission deployed in the country by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) again avoided concluding whether the May 6 elections were democratic. “The voting process was orderly and well organized in the large majority of polling stations observed,” says the report. “However, international observers assessed voting negatively in nine per cent of polling stations, which is considerable. This assessment was mainly due to organizational problems, undue interference in the process, generally by proxies, and cases of serious violations, including intimidation of voters.”

Full Article: OSCE Reaffirms Armenian Election Verdict - Vote 2012 | ArmeniaNow.com.

Egypt: Carter Praises Transparency of Presidential Election | allAfrica.com

Former United States President Jimmy Carter praised Egypt’s presidential election, particularly the high participation, considering it a model for the world to follow. Carter said, “The Carter Centre to monitor elections – which he heads – has monitored more than 90 elections worldwide, but the most important was Egypt’s presidential election, which was blessed with transparency, an eagerness to participate, integrity and an overwhelming turnout”, the Middle East News Agency reported. Carter’s statement came during his meeting with Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb in his office.

Full Article: allAfrica.com: Egypt: Carter Praises Transparency of Presidential Election.

Egypt: Carter Praises Transparency of Presidential Election | allAfrica.com

Former United States President Jimmy Carter praised Egypt’s presidential election, particularly the high participation, considering it a model for the world to follow. Carter said, “The Carter Centre to monitor elections – which he heads – has monitored more than 90 elections worldwide, but the most important was Egypt’s presidential election, which was blessed with transparency, an eagerness to participate, integrity and an overwhelming turnout”, the Middle East News Agency reported. Carter’s statement came during his meeting with Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb in his office.

Full Article: allAfrica.com: Egypt: Carter Praises Transparency of Presidential Election.

Lesotho: Former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi to Lead Commonwealth Observers to Lesotho Elections | allAfrica.com

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced on 14 May 2012 that former Malawian President Dr Bakili Muluzi will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Lesotho Parliamentary Elections, to be held on 26 May 2012. Mr Sharma said he was delighted that Dr Muluzi had accepted the invitation to lead the Group. “I am grateful to President Muluzi and other members of the Group for accepting to serve on this important undertaking. The Commonwealth attaches great importance to conducting credible elections as a means of strengthening democracy and giving citizens the opportunity to choose their leaders,” he said. “Lesotho is a valued member of the Commonwealth family, and we are delighted at having been invited to observe these elections. Credible and peaceful elections are a litmus test of how healthily the democratic culture in a country is taking root,” he added.

Full Article: allAfrica.com: Lesotho: Former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi to Lead Commonwealth Observers to Lesotho Elections.

Serbia: OSCE: Serbia’s elections open and highly competitive, additional transparency needed | The Financial

Serbia’s parliamentary and early presidential elections on 6 May 2012 took place in an open and competitive environment, but additional efforts are needed to improve the transparency of the election process and the functioning of the media, international observers said in a statement issued. Observers noted that voters were provided with a wide choice between various political options, and contestants were able to campaign freely. Most electoral stakeholders expressed a high degree of confidence in the professionalism of the election administration. According to OSCE, on election day, commissions carried out their duties professionally. Certain procedural problems were noted but no serious incidents took place. Media ownership lacks transparency and there is a need to have more balanced and analytical coverage, observers said.

Full Article: The FINANCIAL - Serbia’s elections open and highly competitive, additional transparency needed.

Serbia: OSCE: Serbia’s elections open and highly competitive, additional transparency needed | The Financial

Serbia’s parliamentary and early presidential elections on 6 May 2012 took place in an open and competitive environment, but additional efforts are needed to improve the transparency of the election process and the functioning of the media, international observers said in a statement issued. Observers noted that voters were provided with a wide choice between various political options, and contestants were able to campaign freely. Most electoral stakeholders expressed a high degree of confidence in the professionalism of the election administration. According to OSCE, on election day, commissions carried out their duties professionally. Certain procedural problems were noted but no serious incidents took place. Media ownership lacks transparency and there is a need to have more balanced and analytical coverage, observers said.

Full Article: The FINANCIAL - Serbia’s elections open and highly competitive, additional transparency needed.

Armenia: Local and international observers get ready to monitor parliamentary election | ArmeniaNow.com

Seven international and 47 local organizations will carry out an observation mission at the May 6 parliamentary elections in Armenia. The OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe’s (PACE), the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the European Parliament, the CIS Observation Mission and the International Expert Center for Electoral Systems (ICES) are among the international organizations.

Full Article: Vote 2012: Local and international observers get ready to monitor Armenia’s parliamentary election - Vote 2012 | ArmeniaNow.com.

Algeria: Election campaign begins in Algeria | Magharebia.com

Election fever is spreading in Algeria ahead of the official start of the campaign season on Sunday April 15th. Authorities have appealed to voters to participate in the May 10th elections and have invited international observers to witness the vote, giving assurances that the poll will be free and transparent. The ruling coalition that once held a majority in parliament and government no longer exists. The Movement for a Society of Peace (MSP) was the first to leave, even though it retains its ministerial posts in the government and its seats in parliament. MSP leader Bouguerra Soltani has formed a “Green Alliance” with two other Islamist parties, Ennahda and El Islah, with the goal of becoming head of the ruling coalition.

Full Article: Algeria begins election campaign (Magharebia.com).

Myanmar: Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi set for key elections | BBC News

Voters in Burma go to the polls shortly for by-elections that promise to be the most open contests in decades, with Aung San Suu Kyi among those standing. Her National League for Democracy (NLD) is contesting all 45 seats, vacated when politicians joined the new, military-backed civilian government. It is the first time Ms Suu Kyi is standing in an election herself. It is also the first time international observers have been allowed to monitor elections in modern Burma. The European Union looks set to ease some sanctions on the country if Sunday’s elections go smoothly.

Full Article: BBC News - Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi set for key elections.