C

“CIVIL SOCIETY AGAINST VOTE-BUYING: EFFECTIVE CIVIL CONTROL AS A FACTOR IN HOLDING FAIR AND DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS” PROJECT (2008-2009)

The main focus of the international campaign is the exchange of information concerning the proposed changes to electoral law made by NGOs and the accumulation of support for the initiative for effective civil control over the electoral process by the Council of Europe, European Parliament, European Commission – DG “Justice and Home Affairs”, ОССЕ, experts on election legislation from France, Germany, UK and other countries-members of the European Union.

Goals of the project:

- To mobilize public support and to put effective public pressure in order to take adequate measures against the attempts for electoral votes-purchase and distortion of the electoral process in the upcoming elections for MPs at the 41st National Assembly and for members of the European Parliament in 2009;

- To apply real civil control over the election process aiming to provide fair and transparent elections based upon civil rights and electoral freedom consideration and upon international standards for fair and democratic elections compliance;

- To form adequate proposals for legislation changes directed to restriction of electoral votes purchase during the upcoming elections for members of Parliament and members of European Parliament in 2009;

- To mobilize civil society structures for active public pressure application upon the state authorities aiming for acknowledgement of the civil requirements for changes in the legislation and for provision of fair democratic elections;

- To assist for creation of atmosphere of public intolerance regarding electoral votes purchase practice by means of public attention focusing upon the importance of that phenomenon through organizing of observers’ campaign for fair elections;

- To increase the capacity of non-government organizations and state institutions responsible for the election process for effective opposing and restriction of practices for electoral votes purchase.

The initiative has been carried out in four basic lines of activity:

  1. Holding of a round of sociological surveys – national representative surveys and expert-criminology research – directed to identification of public attitude and expert estimations regarding the reasons for purchase of electoral votes, the problem display and the main directions for opposing of electoral votes purchase.
  2. Analysis of the deficiencies in the electoral laws allowing the votes purchase – analysis of the electoral legislation, The Political Parties Law and Criminal Code. Formation of concrete proposals for changes in the laws regulating the electoral process implementation in Bulgaria.
  3. Organizing an observers campaign in two basic dimensions – І) national observers campaign and ІІ) international observers campaign.

The national observers campaign include the following activity lines: 1) Promotion of a Charter for fair elections; 2) Public campaign for mobilizing of civil society structures and formation of a coalition of non-government organizations and media supporting the initiative for restriction of the practices for votes purchase; 3) Publishing and distribution of stickers, brochures, badges and other materials with appeals against the electoral votes purchase; 4) Media campaign in radio, TV channels and electronic websites comprising of a publicity clip with an appeal against the votes purchase, publication of banners and text links in electronic releases, holding of press-conferences and public discussions.

  1. Monitoring of the election process. Accordingly:

- tuition of non-government organizations representatives from the country, policemen and prosecutors;

 – formation of 15 monitoring-teams for elections observation;

- monitoring of the election process in the country.