OPORA accuses CEC of destroying the system of mutual control on commissions
OPORA reports that less than a week before draws are to begin on candidates for precinct electoral commissions [PEC], the Central Election Commission has radically changed the procedure for drawing lots.
According to the new wording of CEC Resolution No. 895 dated 13 September 2012. the draw will be held once only by the district electoral commissions for the entire make up of PEC in the district.
A specific norm has been removed in the new version of the Resolution, this having stipulated that the draw needed to be held at every precinct electoral commission.
OPORA notes that the use of the same procedure for selection of candidates for membership of district electoral commissions [DEC] in August resulted in 63 out of 87 parties not ending up with a single representative on the DEC.
As reported earlier, this has also resulted in some seriously marginal parties with virtually no candidates having a large number of places on these commissions.
Through a questionable interpretion of Article 28 5 of the Law on the Parliamentary Elections, CEC is, the election observers warn, encouraging artificial reduction in representation of parties and candidates, and thus destroying the system of restraints and balances in the election process. The law only establishes the use of a draw as such, not the order in choosing candidates as CEC has decided.
OPORA also expresses concern over the manner of regulating specific stages of the draw with technical staff now also included among those allowed to pull out the lots. It notes that the 18 members of the DEC provide quite enough people for the task. This may lead to problems if infringements are detected in establishing who was responsible. Liability in such cases of members of the committee is set out in the law, whereas liability by technical staff comes only from their contract.
The resolution also states (in Item 15) that while the head of the DEC announces the names of candidates to be included in the PEC, as per the draw, and stating who put forward their candidacy, the DEC continue processing the results of the draw for other precincts. This, OPORA warns, will distract the attention of observers, the candidate, and could therefore result in discrepancies between the results processed by the commission and those announced by the head of the PEC.
OPORA calls on the CEC to publicly issue an official explanation of the logic of the changes introduced on 13 September. “At this stage in the campaign such actions reduce trust in the process for organizing the elections”.