DG Roundup: August 14-20, 2013

Aug. 20, 2013, 3:41 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.

Czech Republic: With early elections becoming likely, civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations have stepped up efforts to monitor campaign funding. Transparency International and Our Politicians are working not only to monitor party funding, but also to work on mapping the key leaders and strategists of the campaign, and the previous professional connections. Information gathered from their campaign will be published online at www.transparentnivolby.cz and www.nasipolitici.cz. Currently in the Czech Republic, there are no clear laws for the financing of political parties and their campaigns, with no provisions for the release of donations, advisors, or account details. As a result, the organizations are concerned about the influence of rich businessmen who may want to become politically involved, by heavily financing the campaigns of certain parties. Although a bill to force political parties to set up transparent accounts and release annual financial management reports was debated in May, it became sidetracked when previous Prime Minister Petr NECAS resigned in June. Malaysia: The Election Commission has said that it will not continue with a proposal to use a biometric system for elections until the election laws are amended. The 2013 general election saw the usage of indelible ink for the first time as the system to prevent repeat voting; however, during the election there were complaints that the ink washed off easily. Following the election, the government announced that it would investigate switching to a biometric system, based off of the identity cards issued to all Malaysians, which would provide a comprehensive registration system. However, the Election Commission has decided to stick with the use of indelible ink following the Kuala Besut by-election, in which no issues were reported with the ink. Slovakia: Two new election laws have been passed in Slovakia, unifying voting procedures and setting campaign finance limits. According to the new law, financial resources for campaigns should be placed in separate accounts for inspection by third parties and state bodies. The new law would also place limits on campaign spending, allowing parties to spend no more than €3 million for parliamentary elections, and limiting presidential candidate to spend no more than €500,000 during an election campaign. The law also sets out limits on when campaigning can occur, including the introduction of a campaign moratorium beginning 48 hours prior to an election. In addition, a law to unify voting procedures proposes that citizens can participate in referendums using postal voting, and allowing votes to be marked by circles, rather than crosses. Finally, the law proposes limiting district election committee members to eight, which would allow for a reduction of 21,635 district election commissioners. Yemen: The government of Yemen has reached an agreement with Suprema, Inc. to provide 4,800 fingerprint scanners for the presidential election scheduled for February 2014. The scanners will be used to register voters, who will be able to vote only if there fingerprint matches the one on file.

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