Civil Observers for Monitoring - Fair Elections 2013
Civil Observers for Monitoring - Fair Elections 2013

In early 2013, ISI started a joint project with the Foundation for European and Progressive Studies (FEPS), entitled "Civil observers for monitoring - fair elections 2013".

2011 Elections (presidential and local), as reflected in the report of the OSCE / Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe/ too, reported the need for urgent measures to improve the legal framework and strengthen the monitoring of the electoral process. With our experience, gained from monitoring the pre-election and election processes in 2011, we concluded that civil monitoring is crucial for this purpose.

In recent years, Bulgaria has registered abuses related to political campaigns, as well as to the realization of the right to vote as a civil right. Buying voters’ votes or election commissions, frequent manipulations, backstage schemes and pure fraud, require looking for techniques to tighten control over the whole electoral process. The adoption of the new Electoral Code in 2011 was led by the idea to initiate changes, which would regulate the whole logic of the electoral process. Despite that, the elections in 2011 showed that the Election Code was not able to guarantee justice and democracy of the electoral process. The changes in the Code that followed confirmed that.

Problems become even bigger with the change in the ownership of some of the major Bulgarian media. Media empires have been built. Thus, the fourth power and its main function to objectively inform the public, are put in grave danger. In our final report, the media monitoring team gave many examples on this. There are important reasons to seek alternative instruments for civil control and ISI, as a structure of civil society, is willing to engage in direct observation of public information, presented by the media.

The main objective of the project in 2013 is to activate civil participation in the implementation of effective prevention and control, rule of law, democracy, and objectivity in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Based on the accomplishments of the monitoring in 2011, ISI seeks to closely monitor the pre-election and electionl processes, including the Election Day itself. Possible irregularities in the electoral process should receive the necessary publicity. For that purpose, civil observers need to be trained and prepared in all electoral regions of the country.

Main objectives of the project are:

  1. Increase of citizens participation in voting and election observation in Elections 2013.
  2. Training of civil observers and experts for monitoring in key areas: elections legal framework, election campaign and its media coverage, monitoring on the Election Day, counting and announcement of the results by the electoral commissions in the constituencies.
  3. Practical implementation of the monitoring in the above stated areas.
  4. Public announcement of the defined problems, and opportunities to address them in order to minimize undemocratic processes, acts or operations.