IFES-CEC Ukraine Training Center conducts Electoral Systems’ workshop

 

 

IFES Ukraine in cooperation with the joint IFES-Central Election Commission (CEC) Administrative Center for the Training of Elections Process Participants and with the financial support of USAID and Global Affairs Canada conducted a BRIDGE modular workshop on Electoral Systems.

The aim of the workshop was to provide participants with knowledge on characteristics of all electoral systems’ families and then to make thorough analysis of each electoral system. The workshop was conducted in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 23-25, 2017 and hosted by the joint IFES-CEC Administrative Center for the Training of Election Process Participants. The workshop was held in Ukrainian language and was facilitated by BRIDGE workshop-level facilitators Evgeniy Krikopolo, Oleh Hryshyn, Iuliia Shypilova and semi-accredited facilitator Alyona Sheshenia. Twenty-four participants from the CEC and CSOs of Ukraine attended the workshop (out of which nine were male and fifteen female). Some of the start-up activities created the basis of understanding principles of electoral systems that later led to analyzing electoral systems within each family:

  • Participants were asked to prioritize Electoral System principles based on their own understanding, which later on, while analyzing each electoral system principles, led to the discussion that each electoral system can offer specific priorities.

  • Participants were explained the principle of representation and its different forms. This session content, later on while analyzing each electoral system principles, led to the discussion, what type of representation can offer the electoral system (in natural way – without reserving the seats).

  • Another start-up session focused on Electoral System three elements, the content of which was used throughout the whole workshop, in order to characterize electoral systems. For visibility and summary, in parallel to explanation of the systems, facilitators were sorting the systems into a) District Magnitude: MMD vs. SMD; b) Ballot Structure: Categorical vs. Preferential; Party vs. Candidate oriented; c) Electoral Formula: Relative Majority vs. Absolute Majority vs. Proportional to the share of votes.

All sessions on technical understanding of systems were highly interactive and enabled participants to try all types of electoral systems in practice. Participants had the opportunity to try themselves in the role of voters and as well as counting officials, which ensured better understanding of voting and counting systems of each electoral system. One of the sessions was devoted to selecting the best variant of electoral system with open lists for Ukraine. For this used infographics that showed how would have changed the results of parliamentary elections in 2014 in Ukraine if been used different versions of the electoral system with open lists, including the Dutch model, Polish model, Czech model, Estonian model and the Swedish model. This session was very interesting for the participants in light of the relevance of the reform of the electoral system in Ukraine. That helped to combine a theoretical knowledge of international experience with the Ukrainian political and socio-economic factors. During one of the sessions participants were tasked to select the open-list electoral system which is the most applicable for Ukraine. To do so, they used the infographics that showed how the results of the 2014 parliamentary elections could be different under various open-list election systems (including the Dutch, Polish, Czech, Estonian, and Swedish models). Participants responded positively to the session and emphasized its theoretical value and practical applicability in the context of ongoing debate around electoral reform in Ukraine. On the last day, participants were tasked to analyze which system is the most fair; also to design electoral system based on the provided circumstances, where the participants designed the system based on the social and political circumstances of the country “x”. Another major focus of the workshop was understanding of gender representation within the presented Electoral systems, also measures to increase women representation in an electoral system that does not favor representation of women naturally. Major achievement of the workshop was that participants agreed that reforming the electoral system is a very important and sensitive issue, and therefore requires a balanced approach. Participants throughout the workshop have expressed interest and actively engaged in all the activities.

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