DG Roundup: September 11-17, 2013

Sept. 17, 2013, 6:55 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. European Union: The European Parliament launched a new awareness campaign this week, aiming to further engage Europeans in the democratic process before the upcoming elections next May.  The campaign, organized into four stages, will explain how Parliament decisions affect the lives of Europeans and will promote more active European citizenship. In addition to the information campaign, the European Parliament plans to organize interactive events in various European cities highlighting the most important issues currently being addressed in the Parliament. Georgia: Tamar ZHVANIA, the former head of an election watchdog organization, has been named the new chairwoman of Georgia’s Central Election Commission. The previous chairman, Zurab KHARATISHVILI, resigned in August in order to become a candidate in next month’s presidential election. ZHVANIA was nominated by outgoing President Mikheil SAAKASHVILI and approved by the election commission members for a five-year term. Haiti: Haitian President Michel MARTELLY met this week with Deputy Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Albert RAMDIN, in Port-au-Prince to discuss the feasibility of holding elections in Haiti. Legislative elections are more than a year overdue, with over 140 local representatives either serving past their term limits or arbitrarily replaced. President MARTELLY invited the OAS to send a technical mission to Haiti to assess its capacity to hold new elections, while RAMDIN, for his part, proposed that Haiti host an international business conference exploring investment opportunities in the country, and that Haiti host the OAS Summit in 2015. Northern Ireland: The Northern Ireland Office has proposed legislation that would allow some people in Northern Ireland to vote anonymously. There is concern that publishing the personal addresses of some individuals (e.g. high-profile members of the security forces) may be putting them at risk. The law would permit about 2,500 individuals to register for anonymous voting. These individuals would be allowed to vote by mail, to avoid identity checks at polling stations. The legislation is expected to go into effect by June 2014.

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