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ESSENTIALS: Electoral Assistance[edit]

by United Nations Development Programme Evaluation Office

UNDP Practice Area: Democratic Governance, Synthesis of Lessons Learned

Introduction[edit]

Elections provide a key forum for citizens to exercise their political voice and participate in decisions that affect their lives. The electoral process offers citizens an opportunity to choose their representatives and hold public officials to account.

Conversely, elections are crucial to the political legitimacy of governments and represent a foundation for states to serve every citizen and take on the challenges of poverty focused development.

Development hinges on the broader political environment, requiring practices of democratic governance, including active civic participation, transparent government policies and accountable public institutions.

In turn, democratic governance ensures that political, social and economic priorities are based on a broad consensus in society, and that the poorest and most vulnerable citizens have a role in decision making over the allocation of resources.

Elections present a crucial opportunity to instill and consolidate democratic practices that enable meaningful social and economic development. While elections are essential to legitimize democratic governance, they alone are not synonymous with democracy.1 Beyond the assurance of regular, “free and fair” elections, building a democracy also requires embedded and truly representative institutions. 2

Concept[edit]

Many countries have started to reform their electoral practices to more closely meet the interconnected goals of accountability, legitimacy, representativeness and sustainability. In this context, the role of UNDP has vastly expanded to directly support electoral processes, representing a growing share of its governance and institutional development activities.3 With a focus on democratization, UNPD and its partners have adopted sustained, multipronged efforts that draw on broad support of domestic and international players. The primary goal of electoral assistance is to ensure that countries have the ability to organize future elections with little or no external help.

The Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA/EAD) supports the Under- Secretary-General for Political Affairs in his capacity as the UN’s focal point for electoral assistance by responding to country requests and determining the political feasibility of assistance.4 UNDP works in partnership with UNDPA/EAD to coordinate and leverage support through bilateral and multilateral agencies, international and national NGO’s, civil society groups and public institutions at the country level.

As political events with high-stakes outcomes, elections are sometimes marred by political instability, violence and social intimidation. Where they exist, these conditions can threaten the integrity of any election process and call for sensitized and cautious external support. Given the likelihood of a host government’s interest in the election outcome, unbiased support for the electoral process cannot be assumed.

The character and relationship between existing institutions as well as the level of social and political insecurity will therefore largely determine how electoral assistance is conceived and implemented.

Besides security and political considerations, any electoral assistance approach will depend on the type of election: post conflict, breakthrough, consolidating or procedural5. Whether elections are held at national, regional or local levels, and if they are parliamentary, presidential or municipal/communal, will also define the scope of technical and financial assistance from external agencies.

Given the multiple historical and political nuances in every electoral assistance effort, there is no single approach or combination of strategies that can be endorsed upfront. The following five lessons have been drawn from evaluative evidence of UNDP and partner agency experiences since 1999. They are intended as a starting point to guide the multi-faceted planning processes necessary for any electoral assistance.

Lessons Learned[edit]

1. Electoral assistance is most effective when focused on long-term capacity development[edit]

Elections are intimately tied with processes of democratic transition and governance. It is important to consider them as part of the permanent institutional framework of a given country and not a one-time event. Beyond targeted financial and technical support to ensure valid and credible elections, longterm institutional support to electoral systems and management bodies is necessary to instill principles of sound democratic governance.

Capacity building of electoral commissions constitutes a building block for open, inclusive and accountable electoral processes. Better prospects for free, fair and efficient elections exist where electoral commissions are independent of the executive branch and where they rely on a permanent staff. By assuming important civic education, voter registry, training and other functions, permanent commissions also have a critical role between elections.

High upfront financial and technical investments in permanent commissions have proven compelling to achieve longterm efficiency associated with a professional staff and minimal need for future external support.

What to do?

􀂃 Provide a lead time of at least one year especially where assistance is comprehensive and oriented to the institutional reform of electoral commissions

􀂃 Assess to what extent the political infrastructure will support such reform. Engage in dialogue with public officials to determine the level of commitment and scope of electoral reform. It is crucial to identify the type of assistance required by the government so that it is able to internalize a process that would ensure the effective use of resources and sustainability of institutional change.

􀂃 Scan the political environment to identify the key issues and stakeholders and clearly define the short-term (event specific) and longer-term (institution building) objectives of the assistance. Articulate benchmarks for each step of the process to monitor and ensure that momentum is not lost between short- and long-term phases of assistance.

􀂃 Ensure adequate time for the allocation of financial and technical support to electoral institutions and processes. Set priorities and deadlines appropriate for each task, whether in resource management, professional development, systems technology or legislative reform.

􀂃 Create an on-site advisory team of different representatives to advise the electoral authorities and other actors on a long-term basis through building consensus around the objectives of any assistance with the ongoing participation of domestic and international stakeholders, including government ministries, civil society and NGO’s.

Example:

Leading up to the 2001 local government elections in Albania, UNDP collaborated with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and the International Foundation for Election (IFES) to support the electoral management structures and long-term voter registration systems at the local district level.

A Central Electoral Commission was established as an independent institution to support all local government elections and build capacity from the bottom-up.

Consensus among donors and national stakeholders was achieved through regular consultations, ensuring that the goals of assistance were constantly aligned.

Technical assistance was provided to develop a computerized voter list and voter identification cards, as well as consolidate data collection in a central unit. Capacity building and training of Albanian officials in data management was also provided.

Together, these investments in upgrading the voter registration systems and building local capacity helped secure long- term administrative efficiency and raise public confidence in the electoral process.

Example:

In Yemen, UNDP played a pivotal role in strengthening the electoral management body, Supreme Commission for Elections and Referenda (SCER). Leading up to the parliamentary elections in April 2003, UNDP supported institutional reforms for the commission with parallel voter education efforts. The initiative was designed in two phases: the short-term objective was to build the voter registry and introduce standardized management procedures in the Commission; the long-term five-year goals were to strengthen broad electoral processes and civic education. Upon the completion of phase-one, there was some evidence of the institutionalization of democratic governance principles within the SCER. For example, the principal of “transparency”—which is critical to the credibility of any electoral process—was put into practice throughout the agency: SCER was encouraged to provide institutional updates to the public, rely on the media to disseminate information, and open channels of communication between other stakeholders, including political parties and civil society. An unprecedented level of public discourse around democratization was taking hold as a result of the assistance, achieving well beyond the project’s anticipated short-term outputs.

Example:

The 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections in Mali represented a consolidation of electoral reforms that were initiated with the first multiparty political system in 1992. UNDP worked through the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Local Collectives (MATCL) to strengthen credibility and rationale for the electoral process following a crisis of confidence in the 1997 elections.

UNDP assisted in building credibility around the electoral process through 1) strengthening the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) and concurrently 2) supporting the decentralization process to invest local councils with more authority and technical capacity. As a result, dialogue between national and local actors was initiated, the electoral register was restored, and the legal code to support dispute mechanisms was revised. These multi-pronged technical assistance efforts strengthened existing electoral institutions and fostered civic participation in decision making processes.

As revealed in a UNDP survey of public perception on democracy immediately after the election, an overwhelming majority of Malians--90% of the respondents--voiced confidence in the electoral process, even through their knowledge on the issue was reportedly limited.

2. Electoral assistance provides a key entry point for broader governance programming[edit]

Through electoral assistance, UNDP and partner agencies are able to strengthen relationships with local and national players and effectively channel to the broader governance agenda, including promotion of human rights, gender-responsive leadership, representative institution building and judicial independence.

Synergies that are generated around a specific electoral event can consolidate democratic processes on a national scale.

Decentralization programmes in support of a local election can foster civic participation and build representative institutions, functioning as a catalyst for democratic governance. For example, organized women’s networks at the community level can serve as a powerful constituency to leverage gender-responsive priorities on the national agenda.

Targeted technical assistance to judicial or legislative systems can also serve as a conduit for broader democratic governance. Support to legislative bodies, whether through reforming parliament or introducing quotas for women and other marginalized groups, can impact broadly on civic representation and the rule of law.6

Reforms to achieve a free and impartial state media have also been initially conceived and have gained broad support within electoral assistance.

What to do?

􀂃 Approach electoral institutions and processes as part of the broader democratic governance whole and as an integral means of alleviating human poverty, as opposed to support to an event per se.

􀂃 Explore opportunities to initiate governance programming with broad impact. Forge linkages between different types of technical assistance, particularly those that transcend the electoral period, such as voter registration with the creation of a permanent civil registry.

􀂃 Foster dialogue between national and local actors to share knowledge and build relationships across governance themes. Identify dynamic partnerships between local associations and political institutions that will serve as an entry-point to influence the national agenda.

􀂃 Consider targeted voter education to elicit the active participation of vulnerable and disenfranchised groups in the political process. Identify suitable participatory approaches for each constituency to strengthen their own political voice and bargaining power in a way that does not compromise UNDP’s impartiality or other national partnerships.

􀂃 Promote broad and equal access to information. Advocate for a free and impartial state media through legislative reforms for balanced coverage and/or assistance to improve information technology systems.

􀂃 Take stock of specific campaign and electoral outcomes with a view to determine future governance programming. Solicit public opinion on the electoral process, identify areas of convergence, and prioritize issues to formulate multi-pronged governance programming.

Example:

In Pakistan, UNDP collaborated with the Ministry of Women and Development (MOWD) with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), to initiate the Women’s Political Participation Project (W3P). Following a newly introduced quota in 2001 that reserved 33% of local government seats for women, W3P was conceived as a two-year capacity development initiative to support this legislative reform.

Using a “mentoring and nurturing” approach, women councilors were trained in gender sensitivity, awareness raising, advocacy, budgeting and executivelegislative relations. As many as 21,000 women were trained by a pool of 200 mentors; they actively participated in council deliberations, formulated a gender-sensitive poverty reduction agenda, published a community newsletter, and provided a platform to further organize and expand this informal political network. As a result, an unprecedented 36,000 women were elected to district, tehsil and union councils in the 2001 elections. By eliciting the participation of women and prioritizing the role of gender in politics, W3P effectively set the stage for a transformative governance agenda.

Example:

Rwanda’s post-genocide nation-building process has demonstrated important advances for women’s leadership. The 2003 National Assembly elections was a historical moment, with women comprising 49% of the elected Assembly. According to the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU), it represents the closest any country has come to reaching parity between men and women in parliament, even surpassing Sweden.

Since 2000, IPU has directly supported the reconstruction of governance systems— focusing on the role of women in parliament.

IPU organized two broad-based seminars to improve women’s access in the political sphere. The first, in 2001, was focused on building a gender-sensitive Rwandan Constitution to ensure a fixed allocation of seats for women in parliament. A second, in 2003, was held in partnership with UNDP to directly support women compete as candidates. Both initiatives, with a growing commitment by women to participate in politics, have helped secure the world’s most gender-balanced parliament. This transformed parliamentary structure carries the potential to fundamentally alter the country’s future development priorities.

3. Strategic partnerships and well coordinated resources are critical to sustain electoral reform[edit]

Multi-party elections are complex undertakings that require capacity and resources beyond the reach of some developing countries. External technical and financial assistance is often indispensable, particularly for first time elections in transitional countries. It is important to strategically leverage domestic and international partnerships to transfer and build knowledge and capital.

Strategic partnerships are a quick and efficient means to flexibly respond to changing electoral environments.

Specialized competencies of different actors can effectively complement each other within a multi-pronged assistance.7 The coordination between partners is crucial to optimize resources, avoid duplication of efforts and minimize potential conflict of interest. Experience has shown that clearly defined roles and responsibilities, with mechanisms for regular information sharing, are particularly important when coordinating impartial observation missions with institution-building technical assistance.

What to do?

􀂃 Mobilize support and engage in dialogue with a variety of specialized international and domestic stakeholders—public institutions, donor agencies, civil society groups, religious institutions, private investors and NGO’s. Identify areas of convergence and define key priorities.

􀂃 Build consensus on decisions regarding the scope of technical assistance and resource mobilization. Develop strong relationships with local actors and participate in meetings with members of the national electoral body.

􀂃 Determine the scope of national resources that are committed to electoral institutions. Identify national budget expenditures and allocations to strengthen electoral systems, and mobilize donor support accordingly.

􀂃 Identify financing mechanisms suitable to manage donor resources. Based on the required level of flexibility or autonomy for the assistance, determine whether cost-sharing or multi-donor trust funds are appropriate.9 Make sure that costsharing arrangements, when implemented, are agreed upon in advance of the assistance effort. This will reduce overlap and ensure efficiency in the long run.

􀂃 Ensure that systems and processes are in place to effectively take on the challenges posed by managing and coordinating large funds. Consultants can help to provide specialized training or meet temporary staffing needs.

􀂃 Institute clear feedback and communication channels between different donor, national and local partners. Assign a central oversight or coordination body to ensure that efforts are streamlined and not duplicated.

􀂃 Ensure the transfer of knowledge and skills between partners. Institute systems to document, analyze and disseminate information among stakeholders. Provide targeted professional development and capacity building through cascade training approaches.

􀂃 Coordinate local and international observation missions to share knowledge about ongoing electoral developments. Where necessary, reinforce the separation between technical assistance and impartial observation missions. Emphasize longer-term observation groups that rely as far as possible on national resident observers.

Example:

Electoral assistance to the 2001 General Assembly Election in Fiji demonstrates how effective coordination of knowledge, skills and resources are crucial to the long-term development of electoral systems. The specialized competencies of national and donor partners effectively complemented each other: observer missions were conducted by impartial UN Volunteers (UNV), donor technical assistance was targeted to upgrade information technology, and broad-based civic education was facilitated by national and local community groups. UNDP and UNDPA/EAD acted as lead coordinators to manage cost-sharing funds among donors.

Streamlined administrative systems and processes were established at the outset: a central Coordination Center provided ongoing technical, administrative and advisory services; regular informational sharing meetings between donor and national stakeholders were held; and a Media and National Elections Tally Center was set up to systematically disseminate information through an election website and media outlets. As a result, statistics on voter registration and ballots, updates on political candidates, UNV observer statements and insight on political conditions, were readily accessible to each partner in the assistance, contributing to the overall efficacy of the election.

Example:

During the 2001 National elections in Guyana, UNDP partnered with UK/DfID and the EU on an innovative electoral observation program, the Guyana Long Term Observation Group (GLOG). It comprised a core team of international residents and Guyanese nationals who conducted low-profile “flagless” observations for 6 months prior to the elections. Even though the election results were disputed by the defeated party, GLOG illustrates how effective partnerships between donor and national actors is instrumental to any electoral process.

GLOG was successful in 1) coordinating efforts with other short term observer missions and donor agencies, 2) disseminating data and holding regular consultations with the electoral commission, 3) building public confidence through its widespread community and local presence, and 4) realizing cost-saving by relying primarily on resident representatives. The ability to bridge comparative perspectives within a joint observation mission reinforced to donor agencies and the electoral commission the value in developing wellcoordinated, strategic partnerships.

4. Democracy building depends o inclusive, representative and transformative participation[edit]

The cornerstone of a vibrant democracy is the active participation of its citizens—and particularly those who are traditionally denied access to decision-making processes and political resources.

Democracy building calls for inclusive access to rights, representative political institutions, and transformative or changeoriented civic participation.10

Civic education and access to information are vital for the transfer and creation of knowledge. Education raises public awareness and encourages dialogue around democracy, political rights and responsibilities, and personal freedoms.

Beyond the acquisition of knowledge, however, citizens also require the ability to exercise their political rights. Regulations and legal mechanisms to hold government accountable are equally as important as civic education for a healthy democracy.

Protections for individual and group rights are necessary to build public confidence and reliance in the rule of law. Experience has shown that individual rights are best protected by legal knowledge, alternative dispute mechanisms and access to formal justice systems; meanwhile, group rights can be institutionalized through mobilizing communities to demand legislative and electoral law reform that will serve their common interest.

What to do?

􀂃 Elicit the active participation of marginalized groups, including women, ethnic minorities, youth, migrant workers and refugees. Identify key constraints to their political participation and prioritize action steps. Ensure that voter registration systems are inclusive of disenfranchised communities and voting stations accessible.

􀂃 Integrate voter education/registration with broad-based civic education efforts. Voter or campaign related education is important to inform citizens of the mechanics and implications of voting, of political choices and of platforms. Civic education is oriented beyond the electoral event to raise awareness on political rights and responsibilities, and gender, racial and religious equality.

􀂃 Ensure that civic education begins in advance of an election and is sustained as part of an ongoing democratization process. Institutionalize it through “national champions” in key sectors. Secure the endorsement and support of government heads, ministries, public agencies and broad-based NGO’s to ensure that education campaigns are on the national agenda.

􀂃 Implement a parallel approach of civic education to public officials and civil society. Conduct relevant training-oftrainer workshops for people in different “leadership” positions (civil servants, parliamentarians, the judiciary, the military, police, teachers and religious leaders). At the same time, ensure broad-based and targeted civic and legal education to civil society groups.

􀂃 Ensure adequate means for electoral dispute resolution and the enforcement of individual and group rights. Election adjudication bodies will best confer legal rights when independent of the electoral commission, either in the judiciary or as an autonomous unit.

Example:

During the 2002 Kenyan presidential election, UNDP coordinated the “Good Governance for Poverty Reduction Programme”, a multi-faceted voter education and training initiative. The activities were focused on 1) community based voter education 2) training and capacity building of staff in the Electoral Commission, 3) monitoring “civic preparedness”, and 4) observing pre and post election environments with local and national observers. All activities were carried out in close partnership with the Government of Kenya, the Electoral Commission, and the Institute for Education in Democracy (IED). Technical support from UN Volunteers, Transparency International, the Media Institute and local faith based organizations reinforced the commitment to open, democratic processes at every level.

The elections, considered the “freest and fairest so far in the history of Kenya” with low corruption, orderly conduct, observance of the law and high voter turnout, was ultimately successful because of a readiness for change and commitment to democracy by the entire Kenyan people.

Example:

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) provided technical support in organizing the 2000 Out-of-Kosovo voter programme for municipal elections. In partnership with UNHCR and the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), IOM established a Refugee Elections Steering Group to give voice to over 1 million Albanians who were forced from the province during the war.

Through a sophisticated information campaign, including media outlets, club networks and associations, the program provided direct links to voters via a telephone hotline and in-person polls. As a result, over 90% of the estimated Kosovars residing outside Kosovo participated in the 2000 local election. Building on this inclusive and innovative voter registration system, OSCE subsequently launched a multi-lingual website for potential voters around the world to register and vote by mail for the 2002 Kosovo municipal elections. As a result, over 80,000 individuals from 40 countries globally exercised their political voice and submitted voter applications.

5. Mobilizing public support for accountable and transparent political parties can create a competitive multiparty system[edit]

Essential to any multiparty electoral system is the assurance of competitive political fora that represent different constituencies, interests and voices. Credible and strong political parties are vital for democratic and transparent political processes.11 They stimulate electoral participation, prioritize choices along different issues, aggregate specific interests into broad coalitions, and integrate citizens into the state and its political process.

Political parties often lack favorable conditions and incentives for accountable and transparent participation. External technical support can be important to “level the playing field”. Assistance can include advocacy around equal access to media coverage or legislative reforms to ensure equitable and transparent party financing.

Support to parties at the primary level can be especially important to broaden representation and invite new political candidates. Support can also be oriented to the internal operations of parties, in fundraising, campaign planning, candidate selection and training. When directed strategically, and to the public at large, these initiatives can ensure that parties maintain real links to the community, draw broad and diverse representation, are accountable to their constituents and have democratic internal structures.

What to do?

􀂃 Demonstrate the benefits of transparent and accountable multi-party processes to political parties and the general public. Engage with individual parties to identify areas of support that will advance leveled competition; raise awareness and mobilize public demand for representative political institutions.

􀂃 Provide multi-partisan and equitable support to strengthen the internal and external democratic processes around political parties. Assess the regulatory environment and constitution of individual parties to define the exact scope of technical assistance.

􀂃 Conform to domestic regulations on party involvement, for example, on party financing or the use of public funds in elections. Engage with national and local stakeholders to clearly define party regulations and determine mechanisms to level the playing field.

􀂃 Clearly define the criteria for supporting political parties and ensure the process is public and transparent. If appropriate, enhance party representation with support to new candidates during primary elections. Disseminate information about technical support to both new and established parties through the media and other social and political networks.

􀂃 Engage civil society on anti-corruption campaigns to foster transparent institutions and hold public officials accountable. Raise public awareness, provide legal knowledge and mobilize citizens to demand anti-corruption measures in public institutions.

􀂃 Ensure the process of delimiting electoral boundaries is transparent and independent of competing political pressures. Make sure that an independent electoral commission or adjudication body maintains direct oversight in setting boundaries.

Example:

The 2001 East Timor election process illustrates how complementary approaches may be used to strengthen political parties and “level the playing field” towards a robust multi party political system. At the community level, UNIFEM provided targeted training for women candidates to formalize their participation in political processes.

With the Gender Affairs Unit (GAU) of the East Timor Temporary Administration (ETTA), UNIFEM conducted workshops to train and support women contestants in the 2001 Consultative Party election. As a result, 26% of the 90 elected members of Parliament were women. Moreover, many participants decided not to compete as candidates and instead formed a Women’s Political Caucus to continue to promote women’s leadership in politics. Building on this success, today UNIFEM is working with the Office for the Promotion of Equality to continue training potential women candidates for village level elections.

On a national scale during the 2001 Election, UNDP worked in partnership with SIDA to sponsor a Political Party Resource Center to extend technical and logistical support for political parties. Established in different local districts, the Centers provided access to computers, transportation, campaign materials, and a media mediation panel to hear complaints about election coverage. Based on the UNDP project report, all but one party, and all independent candidates requested support from the center. The success of newly formed parties in the elections is attributed in part to the Resource Centers, and to its role in informing citizens of their political choices.

Example:

In the context of the 2003 National Assembly Election in Cambodia, “Equity News” was instrumental in ensuring free and fair elections through balanced and impartial campaign coverage on broadcast media. It was also crucial in impacting more broadly on the role and function of Cambodian media. Initiated by UNDP and the National Election Committee (NEC), Equity News ensured equitable allocations of broadcast time to political parties based on a predetermined, publicly announced formula.12 In support of the experiment, UNDP provided technical assistance in ongoing media monitoring, risk management and content design.

This intervention successfully laid the groundwork for journalistic advances in Cambodia. The unconventional news formats such as interviews, street footage, live discussions and opinions from a range of parties, promoted transparency and raised public scrutiny of the political process. The impact of Equity News went well beyond its target priorities of supporting competitive political parties. With an orientation towards candid, hard-nosed coverage, the quality of other non-campaign media broadcast started to address contentious subjects such as voter intimidation and immigrant rights.

Example:

During the 2002 presidential elections in Costa Rica, Transparency International (TI) launched an anti-corruption programme to independently monitor campaign finances by tracking each candidate’s expenses and contributions. Eight presidential candidates were invited to sign an agreement to regularly provide this information; not all signed it initially, but because of mounting public pressure, they each cooperated in subsequent electoral rounds. The programme revealed upfront that parties undervalued and failed to declare their full campaign expenses. Wide support from the press and growing public awareness around campaign financing demanded a higher degree of transparency in public accounting.

The programme also exposed legal loopholes in regulations governing party finances. It set the stage for civil society groups to reform party finance legislation and to introduce legal sanctions that hold public officials to account.


For references, please go to: http://aceproject.org/ero-en/topics/electoral-assistance/ElectoralAssistance.pdf/view?searchterm=


NOTES[edit]

1 As the 2002 Human Development Report states, “Elections are the paradigm of enforceable accountability…no form of accountability is more direct, no form of participation is more egalitarian. But it would be a mistake to equate democracy with regular elections: democracy also requires functioning institutions (p. 54).

2 UNDP characterizes “free and fair elections” by universal suffrage, open registration, secure and secret ballots, universal access to voting sites, the independence of supervisory bodies, and freedom of expression and association. UNDP and Governance, Experiences and Lessons Learned, MDGD.

3 According to the 2003 Multi-Year Funding Framework (MYFF), 42% of total programme expenditures from 2000-2002 when to democratic governance. This figure includes initiatives by UNIFEM, UNV and other UNDP agencies.

4 For further guidance on the responsibilities for delivering assistance, see Department of Political Affairs of the UN Secretariat and the UNDP: Note of Guidance on Electoral Assistance, 2001.

5 USAID: Managing Assistance in Support of Political and Electoral Processes, 1999.

6 The May 2002 ESSENTIALS “Assisting Legislatures” provides further discussion.

7 For example, civil society groups best target and represent constituents, and the UN Volunteer programme has a comparative advantage in mobilizing impartial observers to validate elections.

8 According to the UNDP and UNDPA/EAD Note of Guidance, the EAD takes a direct role in observation that is “normally independent of any project support to electoral process, systems or institutions.” UNDP is the lead coordinator of international and domestic observer missions, bringing valuable field presence and country knowledge.

9 See UNDP Practice Note: Electoral Systems and Processes, 2003m for further discussion on an alternative, the Democratic Governance Thematic Fund, in which earmarked donor funds are maintained in a central facility.

10 UNIFEM: Review of Pacific Women in Politics, 1998-2001, provides a further discussion on the inclusion of a transformative political agenda (p.6).

11 Based on USAID definition, a “political party” is any entity that competes for elected office, whether a political movement, party, electoral coalition or alliance. USAID Political Party Assistance Policy, September 2003.

12 The formula, set by the Ministry of Information and the NEC, included the number of seats each party held in parliament and the average votes they received in the 1998 and 2002 elections. UNDP “Equity News” (p.5).