DG Roundup: August 7-13, 2013
Aug. 13, 2013, 4:15 p.m.
DG Roundup is ElectionGuide.org’s newest feature. Once a week, DG Roundup will give an overview of developments in democracy and governance from around the world.
Chile: A civil society group in Chile, Marca Tu Voto, has been in contact with Chile’s Electoral Services (Servel) regarding an initiative to have them count marking on ballots in the upcoming presidential election. Marca Tu Voto has encouraged citizens to mark ballots with the letters AC to denote their support for a constitutional assembly. Marca Tu Voto had interpreted the election law to presume that Serval would have to record the content of these markings, in addition to the vote tally. However, Servel has contacted Marca Tu Voto to notify them that they will not be counting the number of ballots with AC marked on them. Servel has announced that ballots with markings will be counted for electoral purposes, so long as they contain a preference for a candidate. Georgia: The Parliament of Georgia has adopted a series of amendments to the Law on Political Unions of Citizens. These amendments will provide campaign finance money to 18 political parties prior to the October presidential elections. Political parties with representation in Parliament will receive $180,000.00 to contest the election, while non-parliamentary parties will receive $90,000.00 for the election. Liberia: Representative James BAINEY has introduced legislation to promote fair play and equal opportunity in the electoral process. The proposed law would prevent executive appointees from campaigning for a candidate in general and presidential elections, in addition to prohibiting government officials and sitting legislators from using government assets for campaigning purposes. Representative BAINEY has introduced the legislation in attempt to allow the majority to freely exercise their right to choose without undue influence. The legislation would force prospective candidates to resign their posts between one and three years before an election to ensure fairness in the electoral process. Morocco: A debate has begun in Morocco over the need to reform the electoral system after the Istiqlal Party dropped out of their alliance with the Justice and Development Party. The current electoral system in Morocco allows for a fragmented political landscape, where it is extremely difficult for one party to gain a majority in the Parliament. In the most recent election, 18 political parties gained seats, given the absence of an electoral threshold. As a result of this system, parties build alliances, not necessarily on common ideology, but rather on common interest. Tunisia: In the wake of the assassination of Constituent Assembly member Mohamed BRAHMI, the Speaker of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) Mustapha BEN JAAFAR announced that the ANC would suspend its work. In his statement, BEN JAAFAR stated that the ANC would not resume its work until the Islamist-led government and secular opposition began talks to resolve the political crisis. The ANC has been tasked with preparing a new constitution and electoral law for Tunisia following the overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine BEN ALI in January 2011. Leaders from the largest union, UGTT, and the Ennahda Movement met on Monday in an effort to solve the political crisis, ahead of a call for more protests Tuesday.