DG Roundup: July 24 - 30, 2013

July 30, 2013, 6:13 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. Afghanistan: Ahead of next April’s presidential and local elections, efforts are ongoing to register new voters for the election. Since May, 41 voter registration centers have opened in urban areas around the country, which has led to the registration of 130,000 new voters so far. Starting on July 27, 399 new voter registration centers opened in the more insecure rural areas of the country. It is hoped that these new registration centers can lead to the registration of 4 million new voters before the elections. Israel: The Law Committee in the Israeli Knesset has endorsed an electoral reform that would raise the threshold for entering the Knesset from 2 to 4 percent. The reform passed the Committee by a vote of 7 in favor to 6 opposed. The reform is extremely controversial within the Knesset, with opposition members expressing concern that it would impede the ability of smaller political parties, especially Arab and ultra-Orthodox parties, to gain seats within the Knesset. Had this reform been in place for the January 2013 Knesset elections, only 8 parties would have gained seats, as opposed to the 12 parties that are currently represented. Having passed the Law Committee, the proposal will now be debated in the full Knesset later this week. Indonesia: For the first time in the country’s history, an election in Indonesia was conducting using electronic voting. For the village chief election in Mendoyo Dangin Tukad, voters cast their ballots using touch-screen technology, coupled with the new electronic identity cards (E-KTP). The e-voting system was implemented through collaboration with the Assessment and Application of Technology and the Jembrana regional administration. The system used in the election has an automatic double check system to prevent duplicate voting, which election administrators hoped would prevent double voting. Indonesian officials hope that electronic voting will be used for legislative, gubernatorial, and presidential elections. Myanmar: The Union Parliament of Myanmar has adopted a proposal to form a 109-member Constitution Review Joint Committee to make amendments to the 2008 constitution. The members of the committee proportionally represent members from both houses of Parliament, and of the different political parties. The proposal for amending the constitution comes in the wake of the legalization of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party in 2012. In the by-elections following the re-legalization of the NLD, the party won 43 of the 45 open seats. A major concern of opposition parties is the constitutional requirement that 25 percent of parliamentary seats are reserved for non-elected MPs from the military.

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