Azerbaijan: Opposition considers election code. “If no amendments are made to the Code, there are calls to boycott the 2013 elections.” | Caucasus Elections Watch

The Azerbaijan Public Chamber on June 21st held a round table discussion on the proposed amendments to the Electoral Code of Azerbaijan. About 60 participants attended the public debate which was moderated by Mr. Vidadi Mirkamal, the chairman-in-office for the Coordination Council of the Public Chamber. There was one keynote speaker, Mr. Hafiz Hasanov, an elections expert, who presented his views on the general electoral environment in the country as well as his suggestions for potential amendments, generating further discussion. After the panelists spoke, several party leaders, NGO heads and experts were involved in an interactive discussion that brought forward a wide range of electoral concerns. This included the seven priority recommendations made by the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission following the 2010 Parliamentary Elections that left all major opposition parties without a single seat in the parliament.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): PACE Monitors on Georgia’s Electoral System | Civil.Ge

Because of a failure to address wide disparity between single-mandate, majoritarian constituencies resulting in unequal weight of each vote, Georgia’s “new election system is not fully in line with European standards,” two co-rapporteurs from Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said in their report to the PACE’s monitoring committee. The information note, which has been drawn up mainly based on co-rapporteurs’ fact-finding visit to Georgia in October, was released on January 26 and focuses on administration of justice and election-related issues. Kastriot Islami and Michael Jensen, co-rapporteurs on honouring obligations by Georgia, welcome in the report the Georgian authorities’ decision to adopt new election code, as well as addressing in the new code a number of recommendations made by the Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal affairs Venice Commission. The report, however, notes it was “regrettable that no consensus could be reached on the new election code and especially on the election system by which the new parliament is to be elected.”

Ukraine: Draft parliamentary election law can be made fairer, say ODIHR and the Venice Commission | ODHIR

Ukraine’s draft law on parliamentary elections could go further to ensure fully democratic elections, says a joint opinion by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.

While the draft law incorporates a number of recommendations previously made by ODIHR and the Venice Commission, the joint opinion notes that the choice of a mixed majority-proportional representation system, the threshold the draft law sets for securing places in parliament, and the ban it establishes on electoral blocs were introduced by the parliamentary majority, and without consultation with other political parties and civil society.

Albania: EU admits Albania unable to hold elections | EurActiv

In an unprecedented statement, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle lamented yesterday (19 July) the failures of the Albanian electoral system, urging the EU hopeful to undertake deep parliamentary reform.

Ashton and Füle lamented the fallout from the recent mayoral vote in Tirana and used simple and unusual wording to convey the message that the electoral system in Albania needs “urgent” and “thorough” reform. “The elections in Tirana were not good as they demonstrated beyond doubt that the electoral framework needs to be reformed,” the top EU officials stated.

Ukraine: Yanukovych: New draft law on election to be submitted to Venice Commission | Ukraine News

Ukraine will forward the new draft law on elections to the Venice Commission, President Viktor Yanukovych said at a meeting with Director, Secretary of the European Commission for Democracy through Law Gianni Buquicchio, according to the Press office of President Viktor Yanukovych.

“Last year we adopted the Budget Code, Tax Code, and as I had promised, started working on the election law. To prepare it promptly, in advance, a large number of NGOs, political parties and international consultants are involved in this work,” Viktor Yanukovych said.

“A commission headed by Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych worked out a draft electoral law and we are ready to forward it to the Venice Commission,” he said.

Armenia: Armenian Election Law Again Amended |

The National Assembly on Tuesday approved in the second reading a set of legal amendments which its pro-government majority says will facilitate the proper conduct of the next Armenian elections.

Armenia’s leading opposition groups dismiss the amendments as insignificant, however. They have also denounced the parliament majority for rejecting virtually all major proposals made by them.

The latest changes in the Electoral Code stem from sweeping political reforms that have been promised by the Armenian authorities to the Council of Europe. The Strasbourg-based organization’s Venice Commission, which monitors legal reforms in Council of Europe member states, has made a largely positive assessment of them.