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 this workshop was to deepen participants` knowledge on characteristics of various families of electoral systems and to provide them with theoretical framework for analyzing electoral systems.
The workshop was held in Kyiv, Ukraine, on September 26-29, 2016, and was hosted by the joint IFES-CEC Administrative Center for the Training of Election Process Participants.
It was conducted in the Russian language and was facilitated by BRIDGE expert Natia Kashakashvili together with the semi-accredited Ukrainian facilitators Oleh Hryshyn, Anna Bandurka and Serhii Serzhan. Twenty-four representatives of the CEC and civil society organizations of Ukraine attended the workshop (out of which nine were male and fifteen female).
The workshop started with revising major principles of electoral systems. This enabled participants to analyze electoral systems within each family in a greater depth.
First, participants were asked to prioritize principles of electoral system 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. After that the facilitators explained the principle of representation and its different forms. Participants had the opportunity to apply acquired knowledge when discussing what types of representation are offered by various electoral systems (without seat reservation). Another session focused on the three elements of electoral system,
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 both: voters and counting officials, which ensured a better understanding of voting and counting procedures of each electoral system.
On the last day of the workshop, participants were tasked to analyze which system is the most fair. The practical exercise required them to design an electoral system based on given social and political circumstances of a country.
Another important issue covered by the workshop was gender representation within electoral systems and the ways 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 an electoral system is a very important and sensitive issue, and therefore requires a balanced approach. Throughout the workshop participants expressed interest in all topics and actively engaged in discussions and other activities.
As a result of completing the conduct of the modular workshop, Oleh Hryshyn, Anna Bandurka and Serhii Serzhan have been granted accreditation as the workshop-level facilitators, increasing the pool of workshop-level BRIDGE facilitators in Ukraine to eight.