Towards an effective and independent body to supervise the elections
Public Policy Analysis and Human Rights Unit
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights (Egypt)
Under a project
The Universal Periodic Review as a Tool to Improve Public Policies during the Transition
November 19, 2016
[responsivevoice_button voice = ”Arabic Male” buttontext = “Listen to the robot reciter”]
“This release was implemented with the help of the European Union. The content of this publication is the responsibility of the Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights and can in no way be considered a reflection of the vision of the European Union.
The credibility and integrity of electoral processes is closely related to their management systems and how those systems work. The Global Commission on Democracy, Elections and Security, in its 2012 report, identified five main challenges facing conducting elections fairly in all countries, and the most important of these challenges was the lack of professional and relevant election management bodies. Efficient and fully independent in her behavior.
And under interesting Public Policy Analysis and Human Rights Unit With the Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights with the recommendations that were submitted to Egypt in light of the universal periodic review and the Egyptian government's position on the recommendations and in light of the foundation’s implementation of the project The Universal Periodic Review as a Tool to Improve Public Policies during the TransitionFunded by the European Union during 2016-2017, the Foundation has been interested in shedding light on this issue through a paper explaining the most important models and types of bodies entrusted with managing electoral processes and through which it proposes some of the recommendations necessary to establish the body.
The paper dealt with several axes, the development of the electoral process management, and then presented some of the three models of independent, governmental, and mixed administration. The paper also presented the most important principles that should govern the work of these departments and the human rights framework organizing their work. In a separate axis, the paper dealt with the powers and tasks of the bodies. Elections and their financing, and the paper presented the current system for managing elections in Egypt and the extent to which Egypt needs to establish an independent national election commission. The paper concluded with some recommendations that must be available to the authority’s management to help it ensure its independence, continue its efficient work, and enhance its role in communicating with electoral bodies worldwide to develop its performance.
- The evolution of the electoral process management
Elections are considered one of the most important direct democratic activities. It is a highly complex administrative task carried out in a politically charged atmosphere. With the aim of choosing a person to assume an official position, or accepting or rejecting a political proposal by means of direct voting in what is known as a referendum.
The primary goal of the elections is to reach political participation that leads to political and social stability, to create favorable conditions for growth and progress, to eliminate the exclusion of power and to limit random individual decisions that are not approved by society. The parliamentary system is generally required to affirm the rights of individuals and avoid encroachment upon them by the state, regardless of its parliamentary majority, because the rights and freedom of the individual are a prerequisite for the success of the parliamentary process that is based on it, and therefore these rights are stipulated in constitutions and prevented from violating them.
Elections, on the other hand, provide the political authority with the required legitimacy because it guarantees the representation of the political authority of society in all its classes, sects, and trends through individuals who represent them and participate in decision-making. Accordingly, popular representation makes it easier for the political authority to make crucial decisions in critical historical situations, because the entire nation, not a specific individual or individuals, bears its responsibility through representation or voting in making these decisions.
The elections were not something new at all, as some think. Rather, the electoral system has existed since the dawn of time, but in countries that respected their people and decided that there should be a democratic system in government. And it was present in ancient Rome and ancient Greece. Elections were known in the early part of the Middle Ages, during which the Holy Emperor or Pope of the Catholic Church was determined, which was indicated by the election currency, which was distributed to the electorate in ancient Rome.
In the year 920AD in Tamil Nadu, India, palm leaves were used to complete the voting process, where the candidate's name is written on palm paper and placed inside a clay pot. The Arabs also knew elections and used them in the past to choose the caliph they want. Elections were held and Muslim successors such as Othman bin Affan and Ali bin Abi Talib were chosen.
In view of the importance of elections in democratic actors, their administration needs special skills to carry it out, and it is better to assign responsibility for electoral events to one or more specific bodies or bodies. So that this entity, which may take different shapes and sizes, as well as different names, such as “Election Commission”, “General Administration of Elections”, “Electoral Council”, or “Electoral Affairs Unit.” The term electoral administration is used to denote the body responsible for managing the process. Electoral. Managing the electoral process completely without default, with transparency and integrity.
Previously, elections were administered under the full supervision of the government itself, or a ministry affiliated with it, until the idea of electoral bodies began to appear since the mid-1980s, and they were mixed bodies, then they developed into independent electoral bodies, due to the great interest of the media and election observers, as well as the emergence of organizations International and regional work to strengthen democracy, one of the things that led to the assignment of election management to a neutral party far from the government.
- Models of electoral management
The design of any model for establishing an election management body in any country worldwide is subject to several criteria that are based in their entirety on what regulates the constitution and law of this country. However, in most countries of the world, election management models are divided into three types:
- Independent model
This model would be a completely independent body based on organizing the election administration and operating as an institution separate and independent from the executive authority of the government, and its members and workers are all not related to the executive authority. It has its own budget and manages itself by itself and is not subject to any accountability from any party of the executive authority in the countries in which it operates, and is subject only to the legislative and judicial authority. Also, this model of EMBs enjoys complete financial independence. This model has been adopted by a number of countries with modern democracies such as South Africa, Indonesia, Armenia, Costa Rica, Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Canada, Georgia, India, Liberia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Poland, Thailand and Uruguay.
This form of election administration provides a good environment in which it can develop and raise the capabilities of its employees, as it is characterized by not being bound by individuals or specific entities to administer elections, as it can delegate whom it deems competent to work with, in addition to fully enjoying its budget and financial resources, which drives it to implement All its activities are freely carried out and its level of focus is raised in the supervision and management of the entire electoral process without relying on any other party.
However, as a result of its complete independence, it is isolated from the decision-making circles related to the political and electoral frameworks, which leads to the lack of this model of sufficient political support to ensure the continuity of funding as a result of the high cost of working on this model because complete organizational independence requires not benefiting from the institutions and executive departments or relying on any of them to help in Carrying out electoral operations
- Government model
This model is followed by the executive authority by assigning the organization and management of the entire electoral process to one of the ministries, often the Ministry of the Interior, Justice, or others. One of the ministers or workers within it is assigned to head this form, and the head of the model is subject to accountability before the minister responsible for the supervising authority, as is the budget for that The committee or body supervising the electoral process is also within the budget of the responsible party.
It adopts countries such as Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland, Britain and the United States of America. To such a model in elections, where these countries assign the organization and management of elections to local authorities within each region. While the United States and Britain pledged to a body called the "Central Elections Commission" to formulate and coordinate general policies for the electoral process
This model of election administration enjoys a great capacity of experience, especially at the level of its employees, as a result of ensuring its continued work, but it also enjoys high-level governmental support and coordination, which helps it to succeed in its mission. However, of course, he suffers from a lack of credibility among all participants in the electoral process who are not affiliated with the executive authority and its supporters, which makes him under constant political pressure from the opposition, in addition to the submission of this model to the executive authority in terms of financing and drawing electoral policies.
- Mixed model
Dependent France, Japan, Spain, Senegal, and Mali. This model is one of the forms of election administration, which consists of two components that basically constitute a dual form of managing the electoral process. They are an independent body that carries out the tasks of setting general election policies and monitors and supervises the electoral process and is completely independent from the executive authority and does not follow any executive authority and is subject to accountability and responsibility of the legislative and judicial authority. The second element is a special state body that is specialized in implementing the electoral process, and of course it emanates from one of the ministries and is subject to accounting, and under the mixed model, the government election management body organizes and executes electoral processes, under the supervision of the independent electoral management body.
- The principles governing the work of the administration
The electoral administration, whatever its form, must be careful to adhere to some of the principles that govern its work in order to ensure the legitimacy and credibility of the electoral elections that take place under its supervision, regardless of their form and nature, which can be achieved by adhering to a set of basic principles, which are independence, neutrality, and integrity Transparency, Efficiency, Professionalism.
These general principles form the basis of the management of the electoral process as they are of utmost importance to ensure the integrity of the electoral process. These general principles do not come out of nowhere. They are derived from international standards for elections and are based on the legal frameworks in force in several countries, as well as on successful electoral practices and experiences in some other countries. It is a matter that necessitates viewing these principles as the ethical framework governing the organization of elections and carrying out the work of the electoral administration, according to the research published in the Electoral Knowledge Network. Which :
Although the independence of the electoral administration constitutes one of the most controversial topics in the administration of elections, there is still no clear consensus on what that independence is and its true meaning. This is to some extent because the term “independence” implies two different concepts. The first relates to the organizational independence from the executive authority (independent electoral administration as one of that administration’s form), while the second revolves around the practical independence required in all electoral administrations, regardless of their form, which relates to non Its submission to any influences in its decisions, whether it comes from the executive authority or other political and partisan parties. It is clear that both matters are completely separate issues from each other, as one of them relates to appearance and the other to substance, and they are basically two sides of the same coin.
It must be pointed out here that it is not possible in any way to assert the independence of electoral management bodies at the organizational and financial level except through the constitution and the law, and that is in the independent and mixed model, and the simplest way to achieve this independence in decision and action is to create a sound legal framework that consolidates this independence As is the case in a large number of countries such as Mexico and Uruguay. And in which the constitution established the principle of the independence of election administration. For example, Burkina Faso and Mozambique are adopting controls that require the appointment of a civil society leader to head the electoral administration.
As for the government model, it can water the administration of independent elections by appointing a prominent and respected public figure, known for its political neutrality and unwillingness to be politically drawn, to head the constituency or interest in managing elections, such as Northern Ireland.
Achieving the integrity and credibility of the electoral process and raising the level of acceptance of its results, it is imperative that the electoral management bodies work with complete impartiality in addition to organizing the electoral events with complete independence. Without this, the integrity of the entire process is subject to loss of confidence and failure in some cases, especially the accusations that may be directed at them from Before the losers.
Any electoral administration must organize elections with complete impartiality, without taking into account the system or the administrative form followed, the liability bonds imposed on it, as well as the sources of their funding and monitoring, and the electoral management bodies must deal with all participants in the elections without discrimination and to the extent of both countries inclined to political groups. By eye.
The election administration must work diligently to convince the public in general of its impartiality, through its work with transparency and with serious basic support to market its role in implementing and declaring neutrality, as well as announcing the efforts made by it to effectively develop its mechanisms.
The entity that manages the elections is the primary guarantor of the integrity and safety of the electoral process, and its members and workers have a direct responsibility to ensure this. For your information, integrity can be achieved more easily when the body that manages the elections has practical independence and complete control over all aspects of the electoral process. In those cases in which other institutions are entrusted with the implementation of some electoral activities, the electoral administration must be empowered with sufficient powers to supervise the work of those institutions to verify that they are operating in line with the highest standards of integrity.
Transparency is one of the most important principles of correct work for all EMB activities and activities. They lead to the facilitation of the election management process, the fight against corruption and financial or electoral fraud, and the way for any impression about the existence of these practices.
The adoption of transparency is considered one of the most important factors to stand in the way of any shortfall or lack of qualifications or any practices in favor of political leanings, which is what pushes towards raising the level of credibility of the electoral process and the level of confidence of the electorate in the body that manages the electoral process.
The electoral process requires a wide range of activities and procedures related to the process, which necessitates the availability of qualified and best trained staff, which enables the election-based administration to apply the highest professional standards while its cadres carry out their technical tasks.
The professionalism of the electoral administration must also depend on the commitment of all its employees to the principles of fairness, accuracy and diligence to provide the best services in everything they do, in addition to the keenness of the staff to develop their capabilities and skills.
- Rule of law
The extent of the election’s success depends on the acceptance by the various participants of its results on the level of its legitimacy and how everyone acquiesces in the final result. If the participants in the elections contest, this will reduce the public’s confidence in general in that process. In order for the electoral administration to be able to organize elections that are characterized by full legitimacy, it must respect the laws, fully and clearly implement them, with their interpretation known to all.
However, if the electoral administration fails to respect the laws, apply them on an equal footing, and clearly present the legal justifications and reasons for its decisions, this may significantly affect the legitimacy of the elections, which leads the electorate to question its final results.
The electoral administration must also verify that the various laws related to the electoral process are applied and implemented impartially and on the basis of equality for all and without discrimination. It must also ensure that any party, candidate, voter, or any participant in any other capacity in the elections is treated fairly and on an equal footing with the rest of the participants.
- The human rights framework for the formation of bodies
The legal framework that states adopt determines the form, tasks and powers of electoral management bodies. In countries that are new to democratic systems, they often formulate an integrated legal framework that works to ensure the independence and integrity of the electoral process, and promotes integrity and equality in its administration, in addition to pushing political parties, civil society organizations, and voters in general to participate. The most important of which is awareness and training about the importance and how to participate in the electoral process itself. Countries also care to ensure that the legal and legal frameworks regulating these bodies are compatible with international charters and standards such as
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- Article 25 of which states: “Every citizen shall be free from all forms of discrimination mentioned in Article 2 without unreasonable restrictions through
- The right and opportunity to participate in the management of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives
- Voting and running in fair elections that take place periodically by universal and equal suffrage, which are carried out by secret ballot, and that guarantee the free expression of the will of the voters)
African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance
- Article 17 states: “Member States reaffirm their commitment to regularly hold transparent, free and fair elections in accordance with the African Union Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa”
- Establishing and strengthening independent and impartial national electoral bodies responsible for administering elections
- Establish and strengthen national mechanisms that address election-related conflicts in a timely manner
- Ensure fair and equitable access of the competing parties and candidates to state-controlled media during elections
- Ensure a binding code of conduct governs legally recognized political stakeholders, government and other political actors, before, during and after elections. The code should include a commitment on the part of political stakeholders to accept or object to the election results through legal channels.
The Universal Periodic Review
While Egypt was subject to the universal periodic review mechanism, Recommendation No. 166-251 was submitted to it calling on Egypt to improve the electoral process and to ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the election observation missions, which stipulated: -
Upgrading the electoral process and ensuring the implementation of the recommendations of election observation missions, especially with regard to women's equality in political participation with men, the participation of independent election observers, respect for freedom of assembly and expression, and the revision of election campaign financing regulations presented by the Czech Republic and accepted by Egypt.
- Powers and tasks of election bodies and their financing
- Powers and tasks
Electoral bodies all over the world enjoy a set of powers that allow them to set all binding controls for all participants in the electoral process, including the electorate, the candidates, the media, the various press, and those following the electoral process, so that these powers are identical to the constitutional and legal legislation of a country, and these powers may be increased or undermined according to For the laws governing the electoral process.
It is reported in the International Foundation for Democracy series of publications In elections, in Latin American countries such as Uruguay and Costa Rica, the electoral management body has executive, legislative and judicial powers with the aim of reducing the control of the executive authority and its hegemony over the rest of the authorities in light of the ruling minority systems there. Thus, the electoral management body is the fourth authority in those countries where it has the status, amendment, and issuance. Laws and regulations, reviewing them, and obligating everyone to implement them and be subject to them. All its decisions are not subject to any other government authority. Also, these bodies have executive powers to call and implement elections, and to ratify or cancel their results, in addition to settling electoral disputes.
Election management bodies in Bhutan, Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Liberia also have some mandate to investigate and enforce laws related to the conduct of elections. The EMB in a country like Bhutan has the powers of the court, and the EMB in Thailand has the statutory powers of the law enforcement agency. In Bosnia and Herzegovina and Liberia, electoral management bodies can compel anyone to appear before the commission to investigate an incident. In the Philippines and Russia, the electoral management body is obligated to make inquiries regarding complaints of violations of the election law. In Canada, the electoral management body has the power to investigate potential violations.
Fines can be imposed by the Liberian, Mexican and Portuguese electoral management bodies. In Thailand, the electoral management body can indict anyone who violates election laws. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the electoral management body can impose civil penalties for non-compliance, but it must first work to achieve this compliance.
Canadian legislation also mandates the electoral management body to enter into a subordination agreement with anyone who has committed or is about to commit a crime that violates the election law. Election bodies in Cambodia and South Africa enjoy greater powers, such as subjecting violators to investigation under their direct command, and also possessing powers to settle disputes of an administrative nature or disputes that do not necessarily fall within the jurisdiction of the courts.
In countries such as Thailand, Tonga, Zambia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Ghana, Liberia, Russia, and South Africa, its electoral commission has executive powers that enable it to implement all the effectiveness of the electoral process in terms of legislating laws, laying down regulations and imposing penalties on violators, and these regulations and laws are only subject to For review by the competent courts only. In South Africa in particular, there is a court that deals with reviewing all procedures, laws and regulations related to the electoral process.
In India, the election commission has the power to set a timetable for elections, issue an order to hold elections and invite voters to vote, and in Russia also the commission has the right to call for elections if the legislative authority fails to do so.
The legislation of some countries, such as Indonesia, gives electoral bodies the right to re-vote or re-count and count in individual polling stations according to their vision so that the electoral process is correct and not affected by any problems.
Legislation in the country of Namibia also permitted the EMB to issue a re-election order in cases of violence or emergency situations. In some cases, as in Bhutan, Thailand, Uruguay and Zambia, the electoral management body has more broad powers to request re-polling if the elections are not conducted in a fair and impartial manner according to law.
The tasks and powers of the election management bodies may not be determined independently within a legal framework that is organized for them, and the laws that regulate the work of the election management bodies in some countries may include broader powers and tasks depending on the factors of the electoral system within the country and its electoral system as well as the number of actors participating in the electoral process. Electoral systems in general have two basic aspects, which are defining the conditions for those who have the right to vote, receiving candidacy applications for electoral participants and verifying their validity and compliance with the laws governing the electoral process, coordinating, organizing and implementing polling operations, counting and sorting votes, compiling and preparing election results.
Electoral bodies also undertake some non-essential tasks such as sorting, revising and registering voters' lists, dividing electoral districts, organizing what is related to political parties, and examining electoral disputes and appeals. Some bodies have the powers to legislate laws that regulate the electoral process as well, and most EMB activities are subject to accountability and under control. Supervision of the judicial authority or other bodies, such as cases of governmental or mixed electoral bodies.
Some electoral bodies also assume a social responsibility towards the societies that serve them, which may exceed their responsibilities specified in the legal framework for elections. Such as working to promote equality between women and men within the electoral administration body and in political life, dealing fairly with issues related to ethnic diversity, promoting principles of equality and fairness in electoral processes, providing means for participation for all on an equal footing, especially for marginalized groups and people with special needs, and respecting customs and traditions. Which does not conflict with the principles of electoral administration, also some electoral bodies have a societal role in the awareness of the entire electoral process to the electorate.
Electoral processes all over the world are among the most costly operations, which requires continuous and steady funding for the bodies that manage the affairs of the electoral processes in different countries. The size of the funding of each electoral body varies according to its size, roles and powers, and also according to the form and stages of the electoral process. Within each country, the frequency and number of electoral processes
Many election management bodies rely on a number of international donors concerned with electoral processes at the global level, as they obtain large sums from donors in addition to technical support, as is the case with the authorities of Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq and Liberia, due to their emerging from conflicts and crises within those Countries.
Some countries, such as Albania, Ghana, and Kosovo, which have an independent election authority, rely on full funding from the state budget, which is transferred to the agency’s account and they dispose of it as they wish, while some other bodies, especially the government, depend on the budget of one of the ministries whose competence is to supervise the electoral process such as Countries of Denmark and Singapore. When using the mixed model, the budget for the independent component of the electoral management body may be disbursed through one of the relevant ministries, such as the Ministry of Interior in France.
- Election management system in Egypt
Until the issuance of this paper, Egypt suffers from the absence of an independent national body to administer elections, despite the text of the Egyptian constitution for the year 2014 in Articles 208, 209, 210 on the formation of an independent national body that is specialized in managing electoral processes in Egypt. Article 208 stipulates the definition of the body Its mission, which is “the National Elections Authority, is an independent body, exclusively concerned with administering referendums, presidential, parliamentary and local elections, starting with preparing and updating the voter database, proposing to divide the constituencies, determining the controls for advertising and financing, electoral spending, announcing it, controlling it, and facilitating procedures. Voting by Egyptians living abroad, and other measures until the result is announced. And it all as regulated by law."
Article 209 also stipulated the general form for the formation of the commission, which stipulated that “The National Elections Authority shall be administered by a council consisting of ten members who shall be delegated equally entirely from among the vice-presidents of the Court of Cassation, the heads of courts of appeal, the vice-presidents of the State Council, the State Cases Commission, and the Administrative Prosecution, They are selected by the Supreme Judicial Council, and by the special councils of the advanced judicial bodies and bodies, according to the case, from other than their members, and a decision to appoint them is issued by the President of the Republic. Their assignment to work in the Authority is totally delegated for one six-year term, and its presidency is for the most senior members of the Court of Cassation. Half of the council’s members are renewed every three years. The commission may seek the assistance of independent public figures, specialists, and people with experience in the field of elections without the right to vote. The authority shall have a permanent executive apparatus that the law determines its composition, the system of work with it, the rights and duties of its members and their guarantees, in a way that achieves their impartiality, independence and integrity.
Article 210 of the constitution stipulates that “polling, counting in referendums, and elections shall be administered by members of the commission under the supervision of its board of directors, and it may seek the assistance of members of the judicial bodies. Voting, counting in elections, and referendums that take place in the ten years following the date on which this Constitution comes into force, is carried out under the full supervision of the members of the judicial authorities and bodies, as defined by the law. The Supreme Administrative Court adjudicates appeals against the authority’s decisions related to referendums, presidential and parliamentary elections, and their results. The challenge to local elections is before the Administrative Court. The law determines the dates for appealing these decisions, provided that a final ruling is decided upon within ten days from the date on which the appeal is filed.
And due to the absence of a parliament after the approval of the constitution, a higher committee was formed to administer the elections according to the law regulating the exercise of political rights No. 45 of 2014 in Article No. 4 on the formation of the Supreme Elections Commission headed by the President of the Cairo Court of Appeal and the membership of two deputies from the Court of Cassation, and the two most senior vice-presidents The State Council, and the two most senior presidents in Cairo's courts of appeal, and the higher councils of the judicial authorities choose a reserve member, taking into account seniority.
According to the law, the committee has been assigned to “-
- Forming general election committees and polling and counting committees and appointing a secretary for each committee.
- Supervising the preparation of election tables based on the data of the national number and its contents, the method of reviewing, refining and updating them, and supervising the registration and correction of them.
- Establish and implement a system of electoral symbols for political party candidates and independents.
- Receive reports and complaints related to the electoral process, verify their validity and remove their causes.
- Laying down rules governing the participation of Egyptian and international civil society organizations in following up all electoral processes.
- Laying down the rules governing electoral campaigning taking into account the provisions of Article (4) of the Constitutional Declaration and Article 11 of Law No. 38 of 1972 regarding the People's Assembly, provided that these rules include prohibiting the use of slogans or symbols or the conduct of electoral campaign activities of a religious nature or on the basis of discrimination. Because of gender or origin.
- Establishing rules for distributing available time, especially at peak times, for television and radio broadcasting for the purpose of electoral campaigning in the official and private media, on the basis of complete equality.
- Announcing the general result of the election and referendum.
- Determine the dates of the by-elections.
- Express opinion on draft laws related to elections.
Despite these great specializations that were given to the committee, there are multiple problems that the entire electoral process suffered from as a result, which led to its inability at times to bring out the electoral process in its optimal form, such as:
The incomplete dominance of the formed committee over the entire electoral process, especially the registration stage, due to the nature of the temporary formation of the committee, whose formation is issued by the President of the Republic.
The committees formed to administer the elections also suffered from the lack of established technical secretariats that employ a sufficient number of experts, researchers and employees, which led to the emergence of some deficiencies in the performance of the commission as a whole.
Also, one of the most prominent problems facing the committee is the changes occurring in its formation as a result of its temporary nature, which leads to the absence of institutional and technical expertise from the committee.
The disproportionate number of judges supervising the electoral process and the number of constituencies and polling stations, which led to the conduct of the electoral process in several stages.
Also, one of the biggest problems that the supervising committee met was due to the shortage of judges, which makes the committee confused about it. Elections may only be held under the supervision of a judge on each committee at a time there is a country like Saudi Arabia that has about 300 thousand voters, which requires sending 300 A judge to oversee them, as well as travel costs and expenses for each judge, which caused a major problem as a result of the body's absence.
Also, the lack of coordination between the committees supervising the elections and the concerned ministries participating in the electoral process, such as the Ministry of the Interior, especially the Civil Status Sector, which was mandated to provide voter lists so that they could be able.
The lack of phosphorous ink and the absence of screens, which led to the suspension of some polling committees from working for periods, which led to increased congestion and the reluctance of some to vote, and also led to the inclusion of some committees inside the polling stations as a result of the lack of some logistical materials that were entrusted to the Ministry of Interior under the supervision of the committee .
The judges' delay in reaching the polling places due to the lack of transportation means belonging to the committee and the interference of the armed forces in transporting judges to the polling stations via warplanes to remote places. Some polling locations witnessed the inclusion of some sub-committees in one location as a result of the judge’s absence.
In the past, assigning the electoral process to bodies to be formed by a decision by the President of the Republic led to the decision not to establish the committee's right to hold violators accountable for its decisions before it, which led to the spread of various electoral phenomena, including bribery, violating propaganda, influencing the will of the voters, and the exploitation of places of worship. .
Towards an effective and independent body to supervise the elections
The Legislation Department of the State Council announced that it has completed reviewing the draft law establishing the National Elections Authority, which is sent to it by the government, consisting of 37 articles, after studying it in light of the relevant constitutional and legal texts, and the principles established by the Supreme Constitutional Court and the Supreme Administrative Court regarding referendums and elections .
The draft law stipulates that it is impermissible to interfere in the work of the commission or its functions. It also stipulated that the authority should be managed by a council consisting of 10 members, with a full judicial formation and representing all judicial bodies. They will be delegated for a maximum period of 6 years. 3 years, by lottery.
The draft law specified 10 years for full judicial supervision as a transitional period, according to the constitutional text, provided that polling and counting work would commence after that period from among the country's civil servants, and the project was keen on benefiting from the expertise and youth, provided that the executive regulations specify the mechanism for their selection.
The draft law also included provisions that would interest the human element of the authority, as it stipulated that there would be training centers for workers during the transitional period, to transfer expertise to them through intensive training courses for the authority’s employees.
According to the constitutional text, the draft law encompasses the jurisdiction of the Supreme Administrative Court to adjudicate appeals against the authority’s decisions related to referendums, presidential and parliamentary elections and their results, while the challenge to the local elections is before the Administrative Court.
Counselor Magdy Al-Agati pointed out that the draft law stipulates that the budget of the National Elections Authority is independent, pointing out that according to the Central Auditing Organization Law, it is subject to its control, and therefore this does not require it to be stipulated in the law, noting that the draft law included texts that Emphasizing the observance of transparency, integrity and impartiality in the work of the authority.
From the above, the following paper suggests
- Not to completely dismiss or dismiss the chairman, members of the commission, its director, and his deputies except in cases of resignation or loss of one of the conditions for membership validity in accordance with the membership conditions.
- The draft law stipulates that no interference is permitted in the work of the commission or its functions, and it works in this framework to ensure the right to vote and equality between voters and candidates during the referendum or election process in accordance with international charters and treaties and in accordance with the constitution.
- The authority must be competent to open the door for candidacy alone, determine the dates, procedures, documents and papers required to be submitted upon candidacy, receive candidacy applications, examine them, verify that they fulfill the required conditions and decide on them, notify the candidates of this, and set rules, procedures and mechanisms for the conduct of the referendum and election process in a manner that guarantees its integrity, impartiality, integrity and transparency. Also, the Commission is also responsible for submitting proposals to divide or amend constituencies in coordination with the concerned authorities, and the Commission also determines the appropriate polling locations to conduct the referendum or election process.
- The law must also stipulate that the Commission’s opinion shall be taken on any amendments or approval of draft laws related to referendums, presidential, parliamentary and local elections, provided that its opinion is fully considered by all concerned parties.
- The law must stipulate that the Ministry of Finance allocates an annual estimated budget for the elections and referendums, which the committee supervises alone.
- The commission should enhance cooperation with electoral authorities in order to exchange information and experiences to develop electoral processes.
- Implementing training programs to build the necessary skills for the work team in order to improve its ability to perform the tasks of supervision and control and to develop electoral processes.
- Establishing an independent institute affiliated with the authority for training and building the capacities of election dealers, and graduating batches that educate and educate voters. It should also be affiliated with the institute as a unit for research and documentation, and international cooperation with the aim of continuously evaluating and developing electoral processes, and relying on institute graduates only to supervise the management of electoral processes.
The authority’s relations with parties, civil society organizations and individuals
- The commission must undertake to educate and educate political parties and coalitions of the importance of participating in the referendum or election, and their rights and duties, in cooperation with the national councils, civil society organizations, professional and labor unions, the media, and others.
- The commission must inform voters about its activities and programs, and seek their views on its operations. The commission must also organize public awareness campaigns that ensure voters are introduced to modern technologies that the commission may use in conducting electoral processes through advertising campaigns in all media outlets as well as in cooperation with organizations. Civil society through direct contact with voters.
The powers of the penal authority
- The law must provide the electoral management body with special punitive powers with regard to violating the regulations governing electoral processes, after these regulations are subject to judicial review so that they are constitutionally and legally consistent, with the aim of speeding up the resolution of violations and reducing the phenomena that marred previous electoral processes such as failure to adhere to the size of propaganda spending Violation of silence, electoral bribes, and cases of fraud by candidates or voters, in cases in which the commission is assured of its occurrence without prejudice to the right of the judiciary to settle the dispute between the commission and the party that is punished.
Forms of Electoral Management, International IDEA Handbook, International IDEA Series of Publications
Book of Early Democracies by Jean Charles de Borda
An early view of the elections by Marche de Condorcet
Constitutional and Legal Research Center in Yemen A lecture presented to the Al-Saeed Foundation
Electoral Knowledge Network website
Publication: Texts on Democracy and Local Participation Issued by the Syria Democracy Working Group with support from the ifa Institute for Foreign Relations
The official website of the Supreme Committee for Elections in Egypt
A series of seminars on government systems in the Arab countries by the writer Qaid Tarboush
Electoral Systems and Standards for Their Status - An article by journalist Magdy Helmy