Center for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID) conducted a comprehensive analysis of the electoral dispute resolution process which showed that there is an effective resolution of disputes and complaints with a broad and adequate right to file a complaint and appeal, as well as the availability of reasoned decisions, but also that there are risks of short deadlines for resolving complaints and disputes, with application of legal remedies. The Analysis shows also that political character of the electoral administration bodies reduces the independence of arbiter in the process of resolving election disputes and that, regardless of the availability of decisions of the Republic Election Commission and the Administrative Court, transparency is incomplete due to inability to access all information in real time and due lack of transparency of local electoral commissions.
CeSID also conducted a public opinion poll which showed that 76% of citizens do not know that they have the right to file a complaint, 84% of citizens do not know that submitters of electoral lists have that right, and as many as 89% of citizens do not know that this right is given to candidates as well. Only every tenth citizen knows how to file a complaint. Almost a third of citizens (31%) show some skepticism about the guaranteed secrecy of the ballot, among which 12% believe that the secrecy of the ballot is not guaranteed, while 18% of citizens are of the opinion that secrecy is somewhat guaranteed, but not completely.
Some of the recommendations proposed by CeSID are:
- Introducing provisions for the REC to determine violations on its own initiative (ex officio) at all stages of the electoral process;
- Introducing General Instruction governing the actions in certain, special types of cases (pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2 of the Law on Public Prosecution) by the National Public Prosecutor at the proposal of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office professional board.
- Consider the possibility to set the deadline for filing complaints in a different way than in the existing legal framework, by providing for the deadlines of subjective nature – 24h from the learning of a violation or omission
- Consider and implement participatory, systemic, and coherent reform of the Criminal Code in the part treating crimes against suffrage
- Organise and conduct educational campaigns for voters and inform the public about how to use mechanisms in administration of justice and how to access the decision-making process on appeals
Analysis “Electoral Justice: here, now, tomorrow” is available here.