Pre-Election Disputes: Achilles Heel of the Electoral Administration
Over the recent years the electoral administration has achieved important progress in terms of transparency, cooperation with non-governmental organizations and introduction of new technologies. In 2017 only, the work of the Central Election Commission (CEC) was recognized with two international awards. The CEC Chairperson was also awarded in 2017 for her contribution to development of electoral processes. Such awards are indicative of success, however the question that remains is whether the work of the electoral administration was equally successful in all areas.
Over the last two years the work of the electoral administration with regard to consideration of electoral complaints in the pre-election period was less than successful. Resolving election disputes the right way is a tool for creating fair and competitive electoral environment. The electoral administration, which is in charge of considering and deciding disputes envisaged by the legislation, plays an important role in this regard. It should establish the right practice, in compliance with the spirit and goals of the electoral legislation. With its decisions the electoral administration should help create high standard, as a precondition for creating equal electoral environment.
Instead the electoral administration has failed to adequately address the challenges raised by several precedent-setting cases. Its use of electoral norms is completely against the purpose of the electoral legislation. NGO sector criticized the work of the electoral administration in resolution of election disputes as it found that the electoral administration provided narrow interpretation of norms and avoided taking of responsibility for election disputes.
The present document summarizes the reasons why the work of the electoral administration with regard to resolution of election disputes is problematic; what caused the criticism of NGOs; which decisions of the electoral administration was the most unacceptable, and the practice established by the electoral administration with its decisions, which will have a negative impact on the electoral environment in the long run.