“The exercise of women’s individual voting rights: a democratic requirement” - CG (9) 7 Part II

(10/05/02)

Rapporteur: Diane BUNYAN (United-Kingdom)

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EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

INTRODUCTION

‘Family voting’ describes voting practices that disenfrancise women. Family voting occurs in three ways: by a male family member accompanying one or more women relatives into a polling booth – ‘group’ voting; family groups voting together in the open – ‘open’ voting; a male family member collecting ballot papers that rightfully belong to one or more women relatives and marking those papers as he sees fit – ‘proxy’ voting. This behaviour stems from cultural attitudes and practices that fail to recognize women’s right to full and equal citizenship with men. It is facilitated by polling officials refusing to adhere fully to electoral laws.

Independent election observer reports from the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly and Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) along with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) identify family voting occurring in some parts of greater Europe, most notably in former Soviet states (Appendix 1). The practice was brought to the attention of the Council of Europe Bureau by the Congress delegation that observed the local elections in ‘the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ on 10 and 24 September 2000. Subsequently, the Committee on Social Cohesion, at its meeting on 23 March 2001, stressed the paramount importance in a democracy of a woman’s right to an individual, free and secret vote and was of the opinion that the problem of family voting, observed in several countries in Greater Europe, was unacceptable from the standpoint of women’s fundamental rights.

For the preparation of this report, the election monitoring reports adopted in the last few years by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly and the OSCE were examined so as to measure the scale of the problem in Council of Europe member states and applicant states. As rapporteur I would like to take this opportunity warmly to thank Yvonne Galligan, Director of the Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics at Queen’s University in Belfast and member of the Council of Europe Group of Specialists on Balanced Participation of Women and Men in Political and Public Decision-Making, for her essential contribution to the drafting of the report. The Congress has also established close co-operation with the Equality Division1 of the Directorate General of Human Rights, which provided very valuable advice on developing an integrated approach to the problem within the Council of Europe.

Agneta Kyller, Congress representative with the CDEG, took part in a hearing held by the Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in Paris on 7 March 2002, which saw a fruitful exchange of views and wide-ranging discussion on this crucial issue regarding the exercise of democratic rights. New approaches have also emerged in connection with development of the integrated project on “Making democratic institutions work” launched by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in 2001 and with the Venice Commission’s work on drafting a code of good practice in electoral matters.

Lastly, contacts have been established with members of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG), the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the Stability Pact Equality Task Force and the Gender Equality Grouping of the Liaison Committee of NGOs holding consultative status with the Council of Europe with a view to gathering information and examples of best practice.

The protection of individual voting rights is a fundamental basis for democracy and is provided for in the constitutions of member states in the Council of Europe. These constitutional provisions invariably provide for universal suffrage for all citizens over 18 years, direct and free elections to parliamentary and local assemblies and a secret ballot. Many constitutions go further and protect women’s equal political, civic, social, cultural and economic rights with men (Table 1). Electoral laws and regulations derive from these basic principles. In addition, the right of women to exercise their vote is protected by international law (Article 7, CEDAW). All countries surveyed have at a minimum acceded to the Convention and are legally bound to put its provisions into practice. This makes Article 7, guaranteeing women’s political rights, enforceable in member states.

However, cultural practices that reflect the dominance of patriarchy over democracy in some member states lead to women being disenfranchised. This problem is apparent in member states with relatively new democratic political structures, unlike in older democracies where the individual right to vote is well established. This transgression of international, constitutional and electoral law results in many female citizens being denied their right to vote. It confirms, in a very fundamental way, the observation of the Council of Europe’s group of specialists on equality and democracy, that ‘the equal value and dignity of women and men, although already accounted for in the legislation of the majority of countries, has still not been entirely recognised de facto’.2 This results in a faulty functioning of democratic participation and undermines the legitimacy new pluralist democracies are striving to achieve. As the Declaration adopted at the 4th European Ministerial Conference on equality between women and men observes:

The marginalisation of women in public life and democracy is a structural factor that is linked to the unequal distribution of economic and political power between women and men and to attitudinal stereotypes regarding the social roles of women and men. These stereotyped social roles limit the scope for both women and men to realise their potential.3

The extent of the problem

Family voting is a problem that to date has not been recognised in the documents of the Council of Europe on gender equality in political decision making. The many papers dealing with this matter recognise that women had a long and difficult struggle in order to obtain the right to vote, but presume that once women gained this right, they were free to exercise their franchise. In these papers, then, discussions on gender equality focus on measures to eliminate the many other discriminations against women.

An assessment of election reports by independent observers from the Council of Europe and OSCE reveals that between 1995 and 2001 family voting was identified as a recurring problem in16 countries in greater Europe (Appendix 1). The severity of the problem varied from one country to another and also from election to election: family voting was seldom observed in Poland and Bulgaria and was of minor significance in Hungary; over time family voting appeared to decrease in Georgia, but it continued to be a widespread practice in other former Soviet states. Explanations for family voting provided to election observers focused on local attitudes and traditions, where it is deemed normal that men speak and act for women in public and political affairs. In some areas, the practice of family voting was associated with ethnically-based cultures. In other areas, the practice was identified as a post-communist phenomenon rather than an ethnic one. It appears from observer reports that the majority of observations of family voting occurred in rural communities. In many instances polling officials made little effort to stop the practice – even though it was in violation of electoral and constitutional laws. Some observers too, treated the practice of family voting as a matter of lesser importance than other infringements of the electoral process.

As a first step to addressing this problem the constitutional position regarding the right to vote and equality between women and men in member states where this problem was noted (Appendix 2) was investigated, along with the extent of acceptance of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). A summary of the findings can be found in Table 1:

TABLE 1: Constitutional provisions for equality and the right to vote in Member States of the Council of Europe, and implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

Member state

Constitution

CEDAW

Albania

Art 1: Free elections
Art 3: Protection of human rights
Art. 18: Non-discrimination on named grounds (including gender)
Art. 45: Right to vote, secret ballot

A. 11.5.94

Armenia

Art 3: Elections, secret ballot
Art 4: Protection human rights
Art. 16: Equality before the law (general)

A. 13.9.93

Azerbaijan

Art 2: Elections, secret ballot
Art 25: Equality between women and men
Art 54: Right to participate in political life
Art 55: Right to participate in state governing
Art 56: Citizens right to vote

A. 10.7.95

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Art 1: Free, democratic elections
Art 2: Human rights and non-discrimination on named grounds (incl sex)

D. 1.9.1993

Bulgaria

Art 6: Non-discrimination on named grounds (incl sex)
Art 10: Elections, secret ballot
Art 42: Citizens right to vote

C. 8.2.82

Croatia

Art 14: Equal rights (named groups)
Art 45: Right to vote, secret ballot

D. 9.9.92

Czech Republic

Art 6: Majority rule
Art 10: Protection of human rights
Art 18: Elections, right to vote, secret ballot

C/D. 22.2.1993

Estonia

Art 12: Non-discrimination on named grounds (incl sex)
Art 56: Citizens right to vote
Art 57: Voting age
Art 60: Parliamentary elections, secret ballot
Art 156: Elections for local government, secret ballot

A. 21.10.91

Georgia

Art 7: Protection human rights (general)
Art 14: Equality before the law, named grounds (incl sex)
Art 28: Right to vote
Art 49: Parliamentary elections, secret ballot

A. 26.10.94

Hungary

Art 8: Protection human rights (general)Art 56: Equality between men and women
Art 66: Equality between women and men
Art 70: Elections, right to vote
Art 70A: Non-discrimination, named grounds (including gender); penalty for discrimination; fair opportunities
Art 71: Secret ballot

C. 22.12.80

Latvia

Art 6: Parliamentary elections, Secret ballot
Art. 8: Voting age
Arts. 89-91: Protection rights (general)

A. 14.4.92

Lithuania

Art 29: Equality, named protections (incl sex)
Art 34: Citizens right to vote
Art 55: Secret ballot for national parliament
Art 119: Secret ballot for local government

A. 18.1.94

Moldova

Art 2: Popular sovereignty
Art 4: Protection human rights
Art 16: Equality before the law, named grounds (including sex)
Art 38: Secret ballot, right to vote

A. 1.7.94

Poland

Art 32: Equality before the law (general)
Art 33: Equal rights of men and women; equal opportunities between men and women, including holding office
Art 62: Right to vote
Art 96: Secret ballot for parliamentary elections
Art 97: secret ballot for Senate elections
Art 169: Secret ballot for local elections

B. 30.7.80

Romania

Art 4: Non-discrimination on named grounds (incl sex)
Art 16: Equality before the law
Art 34: Right to vote
Art 59: Secret ballot
Art. 120: local government elections

B. 7.1.82

Russian Federation

Art 2: Protection of human rights
Art 19: Equality of rights, named grounds (incl sex); equal rights and opportunities between women and men
Art 32: Right to elect and be elected to governance bodies
Art 81: Secret ballot for presidential elections
Art 96: Elections to Duma

C. 23.1.81

Slovakia

Art 11: International treaties on human rights paramount
Art 12: Equality; guarantee of rights of named categories (incl sex)
Art 30: Secret ballot and equal right to vote

D. 28.5.93

Slovenia

Art 14: Protection human rights, named grounds (incl sex)
Art 43: Right to vote
Art 80: Parliamentary elections, secret ballot

 

Ukraine

Art 3: Guarantee of human rights
Art 21: Equality (general)
Art 24: Non-discrimination, named grounds (incl sex); equal opportunities between women and men
Art 70: Right to vote
Art 71: Secret ballot

C. 12.3.81

‘The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’

Art 8: Recognition of citizens’ rights
Art 9: Equality before the law, named grounds (incl sex)
Art 22: Right to vote; secret ballot

D. 18.1.94

For CEDAW: A= Accession; B = Declarations/reservations; C= Reservations subsequently withdrawn; D= Succession. Sources: www.psr.keele.ac.uk/const.htm, consulted on 2 December 2001; www.un.org/womenwatch consulted on 4 Dec 2001.

Given the constitutional provisions and commitment to CEDAW as summarised in Table 1, family voting has no legal basis for existence. Nonetheless, local attitudes, traditions and perceptions of women’s civic roles facilitate the continued disenfranchisement of women in many post-communist countries.

The political and social explanations of the problem of family voting appear to be of some substance. In particular, there is some legitimacy in the ‘incomplete democracy’ explanation that suggests that voting practices in new pluralist democracies are not as established as they are in consolidated democracies, and that therefore the fundamental principle of one person, one vote, based on a secret individual ballot, is not yet fully assimilated into electoral practices.

The second explanation, offered in some cases, suggests that women are less literate than men, and therefore need to be assisted in casting their vote. This explanation belies a more fundamental perception of women’s social role, viz that political and public activities are the preserve of men. To test this explanation fully would require a considerable amount of detailed country-specific data, disaggregated according to region and ethnic background, and is beyond the scope of this study. Nonetheless, an examination of macro-level gender-related indicators seems to suggest that overall, while women are less economically, politically and socially privileged than men, they are present in the workplace and in decision making, and are, in general, as literate as men (Table 2). With the exception of Moldova, women gained the right to vote in the early or mid 20 century. Women are present in a decision making capacity in politics and economic life, providing role models and claiming a public space. While women’s earning power is only between one half and two-thirds that of men, at least one half of all women of working age participating in paid employment. In addition, with the exception of Albania Bosnia and Herzegovina and, to a lesser extent, Romania, women’s literacy levels are quite similar to those of men.

Table 2: Political, educational and economic inequalities between women and men, 2000

Member state

Women’s right to vote

Female legislators

Female legislators, senior officials and managers (% of total)

Female labour force %

Female earned income as proportion of male earned income

Adult illiteracy rate

Men Women

Albania

1920

6

-

41

-

9

23

Armenia

1921

3

-

48

-

1

3

Azerbaijan

1921

11

-

43

-

-

-

Bosnia and Herzegovina

1949

7

 

38

 

2

12

Bulgaria

1944

26

-

48

-

1

2

Croatia

1945

21

26

44

.55

1

3

Czech Republic

1920

16

23

47

.64

-

-

Estonia

1918

18

35

49

.63

-

-

Georgia

1918, 1921

7

-

47

-

-

-

Hungary

1918

8

34

45

.57

1

1

Latvia

1918

17

39

50

.65

0

0

Lithuania

1921

11

39

48

.67

0

1

Moldova

1978,
1993

13

-

49

-

1

2

Poland

1918

20

34

46

.61

0

0

Romania

1929, 1946

11

26

44

.58

1

3

Russian Federation

1918

8

37

49

.63

0

1

Slovakia

1920

13

32

48

.65

-

-

Slovenia

1945

12

31

46

.61

0

0

Ukraine

1919

8

38

49

.54

0

1

‘The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’

1946

7

-

42

-

-

-

Note: - means that the information was not available.

Source: UN Human Development Indicators in UN Human Development Report 2001 at www.undp.org/hdr2001 consulted 12 December 2001; Inter-Parliamentary Union database for women in parliament,at www. ipu.org, consulted 12 December 2001; World Bank statistics at www gendstats.worldbank.org.

Thus, the above indicators reinforce the perception that family voting is a problem in specific areas and possibly among particular ethnic groups in the Greater Europe where the socio-economic profile of women may not as advanced as that portrayed in Table 2. Therefore, any initiatives to tackle the problem must be based on country-specific research that identifies the root cause of family voting and the particular geographical and social locations in which it is a problem.

Addressing the problem

Family voting is a difficult and sensitive issue. It requires attention from a number of different sources including the Council of Europe, individual member states, democracy-building non-governmental organizations and election training providers. An issue in the tackling of this problem is the difficulty in independent monitoring of elections in member states of the Council of Europe to ensure that this practice is on the decline. Equally problematic in some instances is bringing governments of member states around to recognizing that the problem exists within their jurisdiction. This may in part be due to the reluctance of governing authorities to admit that women are victims of prejudices and stereotypes that restrict them to a subordinate citizenship, with ready explanations of ‘cultural exceptions’ hiding a serious manifestation of unfair treatment. However, women’s individual right to vote, freely and in secret, must be accepted in all democratic societies, and a failure to do so is a failure for democratic electoral practices and a diminution of a government’s (national, regional or local) democratic legitimacy. As the Beijing Platform for Action4 notes:

The empowerment and autonomy of women and the improvement of women’s social, economic and political status is essential for the achievement of both transparent and accountable government and administration and sustainable development in all areas of life…without the active participation of women and the incorporation of women’s perspective at all levels of decision making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved.

In the light of the foregoing, the following recommendations for eliminating the practice of family voting are offered for consideration:

Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is in a strong position to advocate the upholding of the highest standards of democratic electoral practices in member states, and can do so by means of a range of initiatives designed to support institutional and individual democratic capacity:

1. Working through the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Council of Europe can encourage the twinning of local and regional governments across member states as inter alia a means of supporting best democratic electoral practices. Twinning could also facilitate the bring together of women from similar ethnic, religious or cultural backgrounds to share experiences of the electoral process and to engage in an informal process of awareness-raising on women’s rights as political citizens;

2. The Parliamentary Assembly could draw attention to the inappropriateness of the practice of family voting in its ongoing work on the participation of women and men in politics and public life;

3. Working in co-operation with the Assembly and CLRAE, the Steering Committee for equality between women and men (CDEG) could bring forward a resolution to the Council of Ministers seeking to uphold, enforce and support best practices in voting behaviour and enforcement of electoral law in the democratic electoral process in member states;

4. Working in co-operation with the Assembly and CLRAE, the CDEG could commission research on best practice and effective strategies regarding awareness-raising programmes on women’s rights as political citizens;

5. The Committee on Social Cohesion could alert the other relevant statutory committees of the Congress to this practice and develop with them a concerted programme of action for the elimination of family voting that would involve election observers, democracy-building organizations and women’s non-governmental organizations;

6. Through appropriate channels (eg CLRAE), the Council of Europe could support the activities of democracy-building non-governmental organisations and women’s organisations in raising local awareness of women’s rights as political citizens, including their right to vote;

7. The significance of family voting as a disenfranchisement of women and a form of electoral fraud to be emphasized in election observer training and briefings carried out by the Council of Europe;

8. To give effect to the Declaration agreed at the 4th European Ministerial Conference on equality between women and men (Istanbul 1997), and especially to the commitment to ‘ensure that the realisation of equality between women and men is a part of the monitoring of member States’ fulfilment of their democratic obligations’;

9. Widespread dissemination of Council of Europe reports on good practices and strategies for achieving gender-balanced representation in political and social decisionmaking. This could be accompanied by seminars on women’s political rights organized in co-operation with local women’s ngo’s and democracy-building agencies;

10. Encourage national delegations to refer the problem of family voting to their parliamentary committees on women’s rights and to their ministries with responsibility for electoral law and for women’s rights;

11. Bring the problem of family voting to the attention of European review meetings of the Beijing Platform for Action.

Member States

Member states are already constitutionally and legally committed to upholding democratic electoral practices, including the equal voting rights of women and men. Their attention now needs to be directed towards the implementation of these commitments:

1. The electoral law to contain a clause holding election officials legally liable for failure to uphold democratic voting practices. Electoral commission officials should be aware of the risk of severe sanction if fraud is discovered in a polling station for which they are responsible. This sanction should be enforced for family voting as well as for other infringements of the electoral law;

2. Election officials should be fully trained in the conduct of a democratic poll, with the importance of individual voting and the secrecy of the ballot emphasized, and a zero tolerance of practices that diverge from these principles;

3. Election officials should have adequate infrastructural and personnel support to enable them carry out their duties in accordance with best democratic practices;

4. Electoral commission and election officials should rigorously enforce democratic procedures;

5. Consideration should be given to having non-locals officiate elections in regions where family voting is more likely to occur (eg rural areas);

6. Complaints procedures should be accessible, easily understood and swiftly addressed, incorporating an effective investigative procedure;

7. Public information campaigns should be conducted in advance of elections that emphasise the importance of the individual right to vote and family voting as an unacceptable and illegal practice. These could take the form of targeted women’s rights education that includes voting rights as well as being part of more general public education programmes on democracy. Women occupying decision making positions could be used as role models and as champions of women’s right to vote and to participate in democratic decision making;

8. Political parties should be obliged to develop democracy education programmes, incorporating gender equality modules, in order to qualify for state funding;

9. Women’s groups in political parties should be encouraged and supported to address the problem of family voting;

10. General citizenship and equality education should be provided in schools, with an emphasis on women’s equal rights with men in the political, civic, social and economic spheres. These programmes should seek to address local traditions and cultural practices and perceptions that consign women and girls to a subordinate citizenship;

11. Literacy education should be a basic right for all, with equal access for women and girls of all backgrounds and identities to full educational opportunities;

12. Local and regional governments to promote awareness of women’s equal political and civic rights and promote best voting practices through print and broadcast media, seminars, public campaigns. These programmes to tackle sexist attitudes and language, and adopt as a model the Media Awareness Campaigns devised by the Stability Pact Gender Task Force;

13. Democracy-building non-governmental organisations should be supported and facilitated in their work by national, local and regional governments. In particular, they should be assisted in educating and informing the population regarding individual voting rights;

14. Ballot papers should be sensitive to voter needs – eg dual-language ballot papers, party symbols on ballot papers – to enable women voters make individual voting decisions without recourse to assistance from others;

15. National governments should table a political statement explaining that women have an equal right to vote with men, and forbidding the denial of women’s right to cast their ballot;

16. National governments should promote research that investigates the causes and extent of family voting, and on the basis of findings draw up a national programme to eliminate this practice, with timetables, targets and monitoring mechanisms;

17. NGOs should develop their activities as pressure groups working for equality in the political process, with a special focus on women’s equal right to vote;

18. NGOs should initiate and /or develop activities and training programmes aimed at informing women about their civil and political rights – programmes such as the Developing Active Women’s Citizenship programme of the Gender Task Force of the Stability Pact could be used as models;

19. NGOs should monitor elections in their localities to assess the extent of women’s participation in voting and submit a report to the Electoral Commission regarding the pattern of women’s participation and the extent to which women were free to cast their ballot in private;

20. Women’s ngo’s should be encouraged and supported by all appropriate means to network with democracy-building ngo’s to pool experience, knowledge and strategies for supporting women’s right to vote;

22. Governments (national, regional, local) to support extending the ‘Women Can Do It’ political awareness-raising and grassroots women’s political empowerment programmes devised through the Stability Pact Gender Task Force to regions where family voting is an issue.

Empowering women as political citizens
This study of family voting clearly shows that women are not sufficiently empowered to exercise their political rights. This situation is brought about by a combination of direct denial of their rights as women voters and women’s own lack of awareness of their rights as political citizens. In this section, a number of innovative practices are described that have the potential to enhance women’s knowledge of their rights as political citizens and empower them to exercise their democratic choice at the ballot box. They are chosen to reflect a diverse range of imaginative ways of raising women’s political consciousness and nurturing confidence in exercising their rights, and should not be seen as the only activities of this kind.

“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Turkey: Working with rural women:
One of the problems of doing gender work in societies or ethnic groups that hold to traditional practices is that women are seldom allowed to assemble with ‘strangers’ without the presence of their men-folk. In the course of investigating the problem of family voting, it became clear that this was often a major impediment to grass-roots awareness-raising activities. One NGO activist working on development and human rights issues in the Albanian community in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” described her strategy for gaining the ear of women while discouraging men from being present. She came to realise that there was one particular issue that the men would absent themselves from in a public forum, and that issue was women’s health. She used this issue as a way of gathering women together and after the health concerns were discussed, the group would turn their attention to other policy matters of practical relevance to women’s lives.

This strategy was similar to that used by a woman party activist in rural Turkey during an election campaign in the 1990s. The new, pro-religious Welfare Party (founded in 1983) sought to gain electoral support, and the head of the provincial branch of the party returned to her home village in Western Turkey near the city of Bursa. There, she asked a relative to organize a women’s meeting when the men had gone to the coffee shops. Women from neighbouring villages also came along to the meeting, at which she campaigned for votes for her party. When the votes were counted, the Welfare Party did exceptionally well in the village and surrounding area, much to the surprise of many!5

These two examples illustrate that there is often a need for imaginative strategies for gaining access to rural women, particularly when they live in traditional communities. The effectiveness of these strategies of access depends on a number of important considerations, the first of which is trust and an understanding of confidentiality among the group and between the group and the activist. The second consideration is that the activist is known, or familiar to, the women. The third consideration to take into account is that this is but a first step in gaining access to women who by custom and practice lead very sheltered lives. It requires the activist/ngo to have a plan that progressively empowers women to assert their political rights.

Nonetheless, this strategy, if accompanied by a public campaign on voters’ rights directed towards men and women, can be a useful tool in educating women as to their political entitlements.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Women voters can do it

The concept of empowering women as voters is a familiar one in the context of South East Europe, and many countries in this region have devised a range of strategies around this theme. The Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) project is an ambitious one, designed to increase the participation of rural women voters in BiH 2002 general elections, and is intended to run from March to December. In particular, it has three stated goals:

o To increase the turnout and decrease the number of spoiled ballots of rural women voters while also checking women’s voter registration
o To increase awareness in rural areas of the secrecy of the ballot, and diminish the problem of family voting
o To increase understanding in rural areas of the new BiH election law.

Designed by the Stability Pact Gender Task Force (SPGTF), the project addresses the serious reality of rural women’s lack of awareness of the voting process and of their new role in democratic elections, hence the prevalence of family voting. This initiative is undertaken by the Gender Task Force and a coalition of women’s politically aware NGOs and will empower local women from 40 communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Fieldworkers will also research women’s voter registration in villages while enabling voter awareness meetings to take place in these villages. Women will be informed of the new election law, and given basic information on where their polling station is located and on how to fill in a ballot paper. Where possible, local women municipal councilors will be invited to join and meet their women constituents, while rural women will get additional opportunities to meet and interact. This project calls for a high level of co-ordination. It will be directed a national project board of 20 person. SP GTF Regional Centre, Zagreb will carry out overall supervision, monitoring and evaluation of the project. GTF BiH will carry out the implementation through local partners, under the direction of the project board.

The Women Can Do It technique, developed in Norway, is a large-scale training tool for women politicians but also works as a pre-electoral awareness-raising technique. In this approach, a few trainer/activists are educated for the work, and they train other trainers and activists to be aware of the potential of women in politics and to develop their skills. An unexpected side effect has been that many of the trainers have themselves become political candidates. The example of Croatia below illustrates the potential of this strategy.

Croatia: Women Can Do It initiatives

In 1997 five Croatian women did Women Can Do It training in Budapest and brought their ideas home to start training Croatian women. Each year since then more trainers have been trained and local training meetings have expanded, reaching small groups of women in many localities. Each trainer joins with another to agree to organize up to three local training events in their own region. In the lead in to the 2001 local elections, some 80 separate local one-day training sessions gave women a basic knowledge about gender equality and the need for more women in politics. Many of the local training actions were supported by male politicians and mayors.

In addition to the Women Can Do It training, other activities were organized. Women’s groups such as B.a.B.e and the Center for Women’s Studies organized seminars and workshops to train women in debating techniques, public appearance and public speaking. These activities were supported by an advertising campaign encouraging voters to vote for women with special shopping bags, badges, posters, leaflets and television spot. The gadgets were distributed through a bus tour in 23 cities in 12 days, accompanied by a band, which helped to increase media attention. The combined efforts worked: the local elections saw an increase in women at council level from 4% to 20%. A large proportion of the elected women had attended the Women Can Do It training sessions.

The advantage of a programme such as Women Can Do It is that it empowers women to become active political citizens – through encouraging them to support women candidates or providing them with the skills needed for representative office. It also raises general expectations among women that they have an equal right to partake in political life with men. This knowledge, in the longer term, can diminish the practice of family voting. In the meantime, other measures can be taken to encourage women develop a sense of their political rights and entitlements.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Go Out and Be Active

A wide variety of actions to foster awareness raising among women were engaged in to raise the participation of women as voters in 2000, leading up to the elections in September and December. Go Out and be Active (GOBA) aimed to address women as a specific group and empower them to overcome political apathy. It lasted 5 months and was implemented by a wide coalition of women’s groups and other NGOs, independent of the political parties. The activities consisted mainly of advertising campaigns with billboards, stickers, leaflets, buttons, promotional materials such as hats, bags and t-shirts, radio jingles, press releases and a website. Direct actions, concentrated in cities, were highly imaginative and attracted considerable media attention. These included hanging a laundry-line crossing Belgrade’s main square with posters and leaflets from all the participating women’s groups. Happenings and performances were also organized on other cities and the campaign was among the first to get their posters up after the elections were announced. As a result of these efforts, the female turn-out increased to equal that of men.

APPENDIX 1

Information on family voting as observed by the Parliamentary Assembly,
the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe
and the OSCE in recent elections

Albania

    Parliamentary Elections 24 June - 19 August 2001
    OSCE/ODIHR

    The principle of equality between men and women is provided in Article 18 of the Constitution: "all are equal before the law", and "no one may be discriminated against for reasons such as gender…." According to a report on gender equality issued by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Albania's legislation foresees the concept of equality between women and men, but not yet the concept of equal opportunities. The system does not take into account that if women are to achieve equal opportunities, they require special measures. As of yet, no affirmative action measure to accelerate equality has been introduced.

    Although very active at the grassroots level in Albanian politics, and guaranteed a percentage of prominent internal positions by some political parties, women generally face difficulties in being selected as candidates and reaching leading positions in political parties. Only 78 of the 1,114 candidates (7%) standing for election in the single-member zones and 120 of 823 candidates (15%) in the proportional lists were women, with even fewer in positions high enough on the list to stand a reasonable chance to be elected. Only the Liberal Alternate Party placed a woman at the top of its party list. Women were also underrepresented in the administrative structures for the elections. None of the full CEC members are women and only 7% of ZEC members and 8% of members of VCCs visited by international observers on 24 June were women. The electoral code does not provide for positive discrimination in favour of women.

    However, nearly all political parties and coalitions included references to gender related concerns in their political programs and several organized election events targeted specifically at women voters. Some of these events were reported in national newspapers. The Public broadcaster also targeted women voters with a number of special programs featuring prominent women politicians.

    The election results in the single-member zones showed that only seven women won seats. One additional seat was awarded to a woman when the "compensatory" mandates were allocated. The new Parliament will therefore include eight women (5.71%), compared to eleven in the slightly larger Parliament of 1997, a figure unrepresentative of their actual strength in Albanian society.

    Recommendations (Participation of women in the electoral process)

    1. Political parties should consider measures to encourage greater participation of women in elections. This should include greater transparency in candidate selection; specific measures to increase numbers of women candidates in higher positions on lists; and increasing numbers of women in central and local committees.

    2. Training of VCC members should be undertaken to emphasize that group voting should not be permitted. Voter education programs should explain to women the importance of making a personal choice when casting their vote.

    Local Government Elections (1 and 15 November 2000)
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Generally most members of VCCs performed their tasks well and in a cooperative spirit, enabling voters to cast their ballots freely throughout the day. However, the lack of training received by VCCs as a result of their late establishment was clear on election day. Copies of the Electoral Code and training manual were delivered together with the electoral material, and VCC members had to learn on the spot how to run the voting centre. Observers reported that VCCs often did not properly follow the procedures for inking voters and allowed widespread "family voting" according to local tradition.

    Report on the local government elections in Albania 1 and 15 October 2000
    Congress, CG/CP (7) 13 rev

    First round
    46. The following general irregularities were observed on election day:
    - “Family voting” was noted in the majority of centres observed, contradicting the principle of secret vote. VCC Chairs were often reluctant to intervene on this issue, referring to “cultural traditions”.

    Second round
    73. Another general issue of concern for the Congress delegation was the frequently observed “family voting” which consists of wife and husband or father and children going together into the voting booth and filling in the ballots jointly. This certainly is contrary to the idea of secrecy of vote and it furthermore hampers the individual voting right of many women and young people.

    74. When asked about this, the voting centre committees frequently do not react because they feel it is a cultural tradition or they indicate that many of the wives or young people do not know how to read or write. The latter idea does not seem to be very credible and it should at any rate be noted in the minutes of the Voting Centre Commissions which is not the case. It would therefore be of particular importance to educate both VCCs and voters on this particular issue.

    Referendum on the Constitution (22 november 1998)
    OSCE/ODIHR

    There was also evidence of heads of family signing for the whole family. Moreover, family or group voting is still common and occurred in almost thirty per cent of polling stations observed. Proxy voting and open voting occurred in about two per cent of polling stations observed.

    Report on obsarvation of the early local by-elections in Albania (16 localities) – 21 June 1998 and (2nd round) 28 June 1998
    Congress, CG/BUR (5) 61

    Quite often, in a large number of polling stations, more than one person entered the booths together: sometimes accompanied elderly people, sometimes couples or fathers and doughters. Even if the issue of „culture“ is to be taken into account, attempts should be made gradually to change mindsets to ensure that each voter really is entitled to an individual secret vote.

    Parliamentary Election 29 June - 6 July 1997
    OSCE/ODIHR

    In areas where there were difficulties, the majority of the problems were ballots not stamped or signed family voting and ballot box seals not properly affixed. These cannot be considered as serious violations. It was only in a small percentage of cases that the difficulties could be described as acute.

    Information report on the parliamentary elections in Albania (29 June and 6 July 1997)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 7902 Addendum I, 8 September 1997

    109. Particular guidance and encouragement must be given to the youth, education and culture. Women in Albania are faced with many problems and are particularly vulnerable to all kinds of exploitation.

    Observation of the local elections in Albania – 20 and 27 october 1996
    Congress, CG/BUR (3) 52 rev

    41. Other irregularities observed were on the whole of much less serious nature and have not had any significant consequences on the outcome. They involved..., husbands and wives voting together... – occuring mostly in small villages...

    Parliamentary Election 26 May and 2 June 1996
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Several teams reported people voting with several ballot papers and in many cases family voting was a rule and not an exception. Family voting can to some extent be understood in countries with short voting traditions. It could under no circumstances be accepted when polling officials issue several ballot papers to one single voter, as observed frequently on election day.

Armenia

    Parliamentary Election 30 May 1999
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Family/collective voting was reported in 17% of observations.

    To the Progress Report of the Bureau of the Assembly and the Standing Committee - Information report on the presidential elections in Armenia (16 and 30 March 1998)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8058 Addendum IV, 20 April 1998

    21. The main irregularities witnessed were:
    a. It was observed and alleged that uniformed and plain-clothes secret police were present inside the polling stations, who were trying to indirectly influence voters, and whose presence was intimidating to them;
    b. Countless cases of collective "family" voting, a common practice in the Soviet era and its vestige;

    (second round)
    32. Irregularities witnessed were, essentially, a repetition of flaws carried over from round one. Once again, there were numerous instances of family voting and, at times, overcrowding of some of the polling stations, which made controlling the ballot boxes a not-too-easy task. In addition, some polling stations were not properly marked (lack of national flags at the entrance), which, seemingly, had no effect on the local population who apparently knew well where the stations were located. The Chair qualified these irregularities as minor and not capable of having an impact on the outcome of the vote.

    Presidential Election 22 September 1996
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Observers were specifically asked to look out for any signs of multiple voting (family voting) at the polling stations. Although many observers reported that the PEC chairman had said that some voters had attempted to vote for other family members in only 3% of polling stations visited was it actually witnessed. Very few polling stations (2.6%) allowed voters to vote without some form of recognised photo identification.

Azerbaijan

    Parliamentary Elections 5 November 2000 & 7 January 2001
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Observers reported numerous instances of voting outside the voting booth and at times PEC
    members and other persons intruded on voter’s privacy or otherwise attempted to see how
    voters had voted. A remarkably high number of report forms (12.3 percent) indicated that some voters were showing pre-marked ballots to persons before depositing them in the ballot box. Men were frequently voting on behalf of their spouses and sometimes for the entire family. On other occasions, voters presented multiple passports and received multiple ballots.

    REPORT ON LOCAL ELECTIONS IN AZERBAIJAN held on 12 December 1999
    Congress, CG/Bur (6) 184

    Nevertheless, a number of serious irregularities were observed :

    · Unauthorised persons were present in the polling stations and behaved obtrusively with the work of the election officials and voters;
    · A mismatch between signatures registered on the voting list and votes found in the ballot box;
    · Ballot stuffing;
    · Attempts to « mobilise » voting by PECs chairmen who seemed to think that such action was commendable
    · Unauthorised use of the mobile voting box;
    · Poor management of unused ballot papers;
    · Some local observers had their activities hampered
    · Addition of extra voters on the official list during the day of the election
    · Polling stations were often not opened in time
    · Electoral propaganda was displayed inside the polling stations
    · Ballot paper manipulations during the polling
    · Difficulties in the counting procedures
    · Family voting
    · Uncontrolled voting boxes

    Parliamentary Election and Constitutional referendum 12 November 1995
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Many heads of families, especially in the countryside, considered it their prerogative to vote for their wives and children, and, admittedly, family voting is a tradition in Azerbaijan.

    Nevertheless, it is a violation of the electoral law, and in some instances, people voted for neighbors as well. In one case in the south of the country, an observer saw a man present twenty passports and receive as many ballots. Moreover, family voting is not merely a cultural phenomenon; it also has important political implications. The official acceptance of widespread multiple voting on election day starkly contrasted with the electoral authorities' strict adherence to the letter of the law during the election campaign, when they rejected signatures on the grounds that one person had signed for several family members. In sum, multiple voting justified the CEC's exclusion of candidates and parties, yet was exploited to ensure that the election met the turnout requirements to be valid.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Report on the Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina – 11 November 2000
    Congress, CG/BUR (5) 54 rev.

    Nevertheless, the CLRAE delegation observed some shortcomings, including confusions in the voters lists in difficulties for some voters to find the right polling station. The use of the ballot boxes was not uniform: in some polling stations the same box was used for the different types of ballots, whilst in others there were separate boxes. As in many other countries of the region, man and wife often observed entering the voting booth together.

    Observation of elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (12 – 13 September 1998)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8216, 2 October 1998

    26. Apart from the family vote, seen above all in rural areas, all of the observers had witnessed problems caused by the absence of the electoral rolls in a great many polling stations when they opened. In certain polling stations it had not been possible to vote until late in the morning or even in the afternoon, and in some cases it was not even possible to vote at all on the first day. This was all the more deplorable in that these were mainly polling stations for refugees, who had made considerable efforts to be able to vote. Furthermore, the same problems had already arisen in these same polling stations in the 1996 and 1997 elections. It should also be noted that many people were no longer on the electoral rolls of their constituencies even though they had not changed their addresses in the past two years. Some people claimed that although they had registered several times they still did not appear on the lists and for some the polling station to which they belonged had been changed since the previous elections. In some polling stations there were too many voters in comparison with others. The ODIHR accordingly changed the voters from one polling station to another until the last minute which caused great confusion. It was claimed that this was a computer problem. This does not give a good impression of the efficiency of the preparation of the elections.

    Observation of Regional and Local Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina – 12-13 september 1998
    Congress, CG/BUR (5) 54 rev.

    There was a noticeable drop of cases where families entered the voting booths together.

    National Assembly Election in Republika Srpska 22 - 23 November 1997
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Some 30 per cent of observers noted one or more instances of family voting – more than one person in tho booth at the same time – during the two days. Whilst this problem is mainly due to family members wishing to vote together, it is not satisfactory to dismiss this practice as a “local tradition”. Such a practice has been discouraged in other similar environments and could be here, as it does compromise the principle of a secret ballot and should not be permitted in the future.

    Report on the Observation of Parliamentary Elections in the Republika Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – 22-23 november 1997
    Congress, CG/BUR (4) 147

    The overall impression of the members of the CLRAE is that an election highlights a number of local attitudes and traditions:

    The warmth of relations with the observers and supervisors, the celebratory aspect of this civic event and above all the tradition of voting as a family or as a couple should not be overlooked. As far as the last aspect is concerned, the members of the delegation believe that it may be due to the rate of illiteracy and the concept of head of the family but that this tradition should in no way be considered to be family voting as prohibited by the Rules and Regulations.

    Information report on the municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (13-14 September 1997)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 7902 Addendum II, 22 September 1997

22. The specific conditions under which the elections took place resulted in an extremely complex voting procedure, particularly for the absentee and tendered ballot voting. Effective remedies to ensure simplification and greater transparency as well as allow for better planning and anticipation of difficulties should be found before the next elections take place. The secrecy of tendered ballots was a legitimate concern. Rules for family voting also need to be better defined.

Bulgaria

    Parliamentary Elections, 17 June 2001
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Group and proxy voting was very low, at 1.7% and 0.8%, respectively. In only four cases did international observers note voters not using the booth, equaling 0.6% of all observations. In the majority of cases, disabled voters were assisted according to the rules.

    Ad hoc Committee for the observation of the parliamentary elections in Bulgaria
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 9134, 25 June 2001

    Despite the complex voting system in Bulgaria, where voters select from different colour coded ballots to cast their vote, relatively few invalid votes were cast, which underlines the level of voter education in Bulgaria. The committee members noted that the parties using similar names to the Coalition National Movement Simeon II, also used similar colour schemes on their ballots, potentially confusing voters. Only very few instances of family, group or proxy voting where recorded by the international observers.

Croatia

    Local Government Elections  20 May 2001
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Family / group voting was permitted in many areas, with 10.3% of reports noting at least
    one occurrence, and a further 10% of forms noting it happened between 2-20 times. It is
    clear that this practice is common in many areas and VCs made little or no attempt to address it.

    Ad hoc Committee to observe the parliamentary elections in Croatia (3 January 2000)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8624, 24 January 2000

    12. A number of observers referred to the problem of the secret ballot and the minority vote. They noted that sometimes there were no voting booths or envelopes. The balloting was hardly secret, given the different colour of the ballot papers and the existence of separate voter registers for minorities. Family voting was occasionally observed. In the sensitive regions, serious - albeit isolated - incidents were reported, such as the intimidation of voters, fights in front of polling stations or, on rare occasions, a police presence within the polling station.

Estonia

    Parliamentary Elections,  7 March 1999
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Instances of group voting were mentioned by 28% of observers, and a further 9% indicated that they saw instances of open voting (i.e. not in the polling booth).

Georgia

    Ad hoc Committee to observe the presidential elections in Georgia (9 April 2000)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8742, 16 May 2000 

    Nevertheless, quite a few instances of violations of the electoral process and irregularities were reported and witnessed by members of the committee, family voting being the least of our concerns.

    Parliamentary Election, 31 October and 14 November 1999
    OSCE/ODIHR

    “Group” or “family” voting was reported in 21% of observations.

    Ad hoc Committee to observe the parliamentary elections in Georgia (31 October 1999)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8605, 22 December 1999

23. Family voting was one of the most common violations of the Electoral Law in some areas. At several polling stations the observers saw family members entering the booths together or one member of the family voting for another member. In some cases, the polling station officials allowed it, taking into account the age of the voter and physical difficulties to vote. This violation could be explained by the fact that in Soviet times people had been allowed to vote for members of their family who were ill or absent at the time of the elections.

It must be emphasised that some observers did not see any examples of this practice, and that many polling station officials and local observers were especially vigilant in this regard.

Hungary

    Parliamentary Election 10 and 24 May 1998
    OSCE/ODIHR

    As stated above the general voting process was administered in a very professional
    manner. However, there were three aspects of the process, two of which are
    highlighted in the table below, which do warrant comment.

    % Total 1stRound % Total 2nd Round

    Group Voting 16.00% 17.60%
    Open Voting 15.00% 9.87%

    Group Voting: people being in the polling booth together
    Open Voting: people filling in their ballot papers in the open, not in a polling
    booth.

    Both these instances require some clarification.
    With regards Group Voting, observers never felt that voters were under undue pressure. In most instances it was obvious that the voters were very comfortable being together, often they were a husband and wife, or elderly friends. In some instances it was clear that a person in fact required assistance but had been too embarrassed to state so to the Polling Station Committee. It was notable that this practice was more frequent in rural areas. However, such a practice is definitely against the Election Law, and can breach the secrecy of a person™s vote.

    Open Voting, on the contrary, is not against the law in Hungary. Article 68.1, of Act 100 (1997), states: Voters may not be obligated to use polling boothsle.

    Municipal Elections in Hungary, 30 Seprember 1990
    Congress, CPL/P (25) 18

    The CLRAE delegation noticed a number of minor shortcomings; for example, couples and occasionally whole families voting together in one booth; voting outside of the booth; too many people in the voting stations.

Latvia

    Observation of parliamentary elections in Latvia (3 October 1998)
    Doc. 8255, 3 November 1998

    41. Very few irregularities were noted by our observers. It should perhaps be mentioned that many of the voters did not go into the polling booths; it has to be said, though, that there were not enough of these in some of the polling stations where there was an unexpectedly large turnout, since numbers were difficult to foresee as voters could vote in any of the country’s polling stations. There were also many cases of "family voting".

    Report of the Council of Europe (CLRAE) Observer Delegation to the Local (and Regional) Elections in Latvia – 29 May 1994
    Congress, CG/BUR (1) 13

    Voting booths happened to be too small in the majority of polling stations in Riga, owing to the very large size of the ballot paper. At some hours of peak attendance, voters filled in their ballot papers on tables outside the voting booths. This was always tolerated by the Chairpersons of electoral commissions, as was the case of families entering the voting booth together.

Lithuania

    Parliamentary Election 20 October and 10 November 1996
    OSCE/ODIHR

    The marking of ballots in the polling booths by several voters at the same time, generally family members, is another very common deviation from Article 65, Section 1. of the Election
    Law. This was observed in 102 polling stations.

    In this case, however, the current Election Law is not clear. In Section 6 of Article 65, the official English translation states that “The voter who because of his physical disability is unable to mark the ballot himself, cast it in the ballot box, may invite another person (with the exception of the chairman of the committee or its members, or an election observer) to carry out these actions in his place.”

    The original Lithuanian text employs a wider term than “physical disability” , closer to “physical impairment”. Moreover, no provisions are made for the electoral committee to ask for any sort of proof of “physical impairment” from the voter, or even to have the right to grant permission to such a voter to enter the polling booth accompanied by another person.

    As a result of this, the electoral committees did not wish to intervene for fear of confrontation
    with voters.

    This vague and imprecise definition of "physical impairment" in the polling stations stands in
    stark contrast to the detailed provisions for home voting as a part of postal voting Article 66,
    section 7 which clearly demands written confirmation of disability from the town, regional social guardianship and care institutions for voter to be allowed to vote at home.

„The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia“

    Report on the local elections observation mission in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” - 10 and 24 September 2000
    Congress, CG/CP (7) 12 rev

    In certain areas of the country, the Congress delegation found a great many instances of family heads voting on behalf of all the members of the family, such as wife and children, clearly an infringement of individual voting rights. The delegation condemned numerous irregularities concerning multiple voting, at which certain polling station, and even electoral commission, officials connived. This finding was confirmed in the second round of voting.

While such a practice might be understandable in cases of need, such as sight or other disabilities, the delegation cannot accept that one person should determine how a whole family is to vote. Some observer teams also witnessed ballot stuffing operations, when one person arrived with several voters' cards and lodged multiple votes. In these same polling stations, the delegation observed record turnouts (in the order of 95%) and a real plebiscite for one of the candidates.

    Presidential Election  31 October and 14 November 1999
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Round 1
    As in 1998, the most significant problems identified by observers were proxy voting in 9.41% of polling stations observed and group voting in 14.9%. Observers saw instances of one person arriving with multiple voter cards or the ballot box containing ballots folded together, which had clearly been inserted at the same time as a bundle.

    Many instances of proxy voting in ethnic-Albanian areas represented the male head of household voting for the women members of the family. In some instances the women were present. Again, this was claimed to be “normal local practice”. Nonetheless, such practice is unacceptable as it disenfranchises the women concerned as well as opening the system to widespread abuse.

    Round 2
    The most significant problems observed were again voters not presenting a voter card and identification documents, and instances of proxy and family voting. The vast majority of negative observer reports were due to high instances of proxy and family voting. These negative reports were predominantly from ethnic-Albanian areas, such as Lipkovo (21), Cegrane (52), Kamenjane (55), Aracinovo (64) and Studenicani (66). The final results from these areas were also of grave concern.

    An observer report from Studenicani is indicative of the type of problems experienced in these districts. The local head of the DPA visited polling stations in the area on election day, urging people to vote for the VMRO candidate. In polling station 66/2353, the DPA head shouted at the PEB chairman, accusing him of a low voter turnout, 20% at 16.00. Later, four VMRO members entered the same polling station and remained there to “supervise the voting”. As observers left, a large number of voters entered the polling station. In other polling stations in the area, widespread and repeated instances of family and proxy voting were observed. Political party representatives on the PEBs sometimes appeared unsure of the party they were supposedly representing.

    Ad hoc Committee to observe the presidential elections in "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (31 October and 14 November 1999)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8604, 22 December 1999

    Family voting was much less widespread than in 1998. In general terms, no tension was noted at the polling stations.

    36. However, in order to ensure further improvements in the future electoral processes, the Ad Hoc Committee calls on the Macedonian authorities:

       

    · to take measures to avoid any controversies in appointing the members of the State Election Commission, as well as to adapt the modalities of appointing the members of District and Polling Stations Election Commissions to the real political situation in the moment of the elections;
    · to elaborate more detailed laws governing media coverage of the elections and to grant legal status to the guidelines issued by the Broadcasting Council;
    · to continue and strengthen citizens' information on electoral behaviour, putting an emphasis on the illegality of family voting;
    · to carefully analyse all alleged irregularities reported and make public the results of these analyses.

    Parliamentary Elections  18 October and 1 November 1998
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Round 1
    382 forms out of 1,314 (29.07%) reported instances of group voting. 78 out of 1,314 (5.92%) reported instances of proxy voting. 116 out of 1,314 (8.85%) reported instances of open voting. The main concerns of observers relate to the practices of proxy, open and
    particularly group voting. It was raised in the de-briefing by observers that the practice of group voting was particularly problematic, and represents a particular problem for women voters.

    Observers reported that in some instances, particularly in rural areas in the west of the country, the male head of household would often vote on behalf of female members, who were present but did not actively participate in the process. Some observers reported that proxy voting was carried out often by the male head of household without the female members being present.

    Round 2
    Observers were again very concerned about the high number of instances of group voting, particularly as this practice opens the door for a number of associated illegal procedures, including effective proxy voting and the virtual disenfranchisement of many women voters.

    Proxy voting was also reported in District 66 in particular, where some persons were observed voting with multiple voter cards, and not ‘just’ female family members. It was also observed that persons were collecting the voter cards of persons who had not used them thus far in the day and bringing the cards to the polling station and voting with them.

    Observation of parliamentary elections in "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (15-19 October 1998)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8257, 3 November 1998

    The observers did, however, note one or two irregularities, particularly with regard to the very widespread practice of family voting, especially in the west of the country, where the Albanian minority is dominant: in several constituencies in the Tetovo and Gostivar areas, as many as 80% to 90% of women did not vote in person, their votes being cast for them by a husband, father or brother.

    Quite apart from possible cultural explanations, it should be pointed out that the ballot papers were in Macedonian (Cyrillic script) only, which is neither spoken nor read by many Macedonian Albanians. Many women are illiterate and speak only Albanian. It was thus impossible for them to exercise their voting rights properly.

    Report on the mission to observe the local elections held on 17 november 1996 in „The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia“
    Congress, CG/BUR (3) 62

    All members of the Polling Station Committees knew what they had to do, and the delegation did not note any confusion. As already mentioned, the polling booths proved to be small, and there was even too few of them, particularly in polling stations Skopje. At peak voting times electors completed the ballot papers on tables set up outside the polling booths. The Chairs of the Polling Station Committees systematically allowed this and also permitted members of the same family to enter booths together.

Moldova

    REPORT BY THE CLRAE OBSERVATION DELEGATION OF THE LOCAL ELECTIONS IN THE TARACLIA JUDET (MOLDOVA) HELD ON 23 JANUARY 2000
    Congress, CG/BUR (6) 131 Confidential

    Nevertheless, the CLAE delegation observes a number of irregularities. These were as follows:

    · Family voting;
    · Contradictory interpretations of electoral regulations in some polling stations;
    · Non-availability of ballot papers in the Moldavian language in some polling stations where Moldavian-speaking voters were registered;
    · Voting without identification papers by some old-aged persons, who were nonetheless recognised by the members of PCs
    · Intrusive behaviour of domestic observers with the work of the Precinct Electoral
    Commissions and the voters at some polling stations.
    · Agitation placards still on the walls in some places on polling day.

    It should be pointed out that such irregularities as family voting or ballots handed over to some people without identification papers but known to the members of a PC were rather due to local cultural features and not aimed at influencing the vote. There was also a high proportion of people registered on supplementary lists which was in the main the result of high mobility of the population, in particularly youths.

    Report of the mission of a CLRAE delegation to the Republic of Moldova to monitor the local and regional elections of 23 May 1999
    Congress, CG/BUR (6) 16

    Polling booths being used by more than one person at a time, particularly in rural areas.

    Parliamentary Election, 22 March 1998
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Family voting is still a common practise, in particular in the villages. In total more than 30 % polling station observations included family voting and 5.5 % indicated open voting. The arrangements for assisting voters that needed assistance was violated in a large number of
    cases observed.

    To the Progress Report of the Bureau of the Assembly and the Standing Committee - Information report on the parliamentary elections in Moldova (Chisinau, 19-24 March 1998)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8058, Addendum II

    While the Ad hoc Committee observed that the elections had been organised in an entirely professional manner, it identified areas in which improvements could be made:

    · the form of the ballot papers;

    · procedure in stamping ballot papers;

    · intransigence of polling station officials in deciding whether a ballot was valid or not;

    · training of observers at polling stations;

    · presence of unauthorised people at the counting of votes;

    · practice of family voting.

    Presidential Election, 17 November and 1 December 1996
    OSCE/ODIHR

    In the second round approximately 40 % of the observer reports indicated instances of family voting. This high figure was recorded despite an effort by the CEC to instruct the polling station commissions to reduce family voting.

    Report on the monitoring by a CLRAE delegation of the first local elections in the Republic of Moldova, held on 16 April 1995
    Congress, CG/CP (2) 8

    On the other hand, the most significant weaknesses were:
    ...“the inhabitants widespread practice of entering the polling booth in a group (family voting)“...

    Observation of the referendum in Moldova on the status of Gagauzia, Congress, CG/CP (1) 48, 21 March 1995

    67. Perhaps the most important irregularity was the habit of „family voting“. A widely established practice in soviet times, „family voting“ meant that one family member, usually the father, would present the passports of his wife and sometimes of other family members and cast the votes for them. This practice was expressly ruled out in point 22 of the Temporary Regulations – a provision, seen by the one town electoral commission chairman as specifically introduced to make the referendum more difficult for the Gagauz cause.

    68. The observers found that whereas the electoral commissions, with few exceptions, resisted the habitual approach of „family voting“ in some polling stations „family signing“ was tolerated. On numerous occasions the observers witnessed a family approach the electoral commission, produce its passeports, each member of the family receive his or hers voting bulletin and then the father sign the electoral list for all family members. Votes were cast, however, personally by each individual family member. In one polling station a sample check of the signatures showed that such „family signing „ might amount to some 3-5% of all the signatures.

Poland

    The Municipal Elections in Poland on 27 May 1990
    Congress, CPL/P (25) 9

    Certain technical points of detail were noted: the absence of accounting in connection with the number of ballot papers actually deposited in the ballot boxes, the utilisation of a voting booth by a whole family at the same time, the fact that certain electors did not use the voting booths for filling in their ballot papers.

Romania

    Presidential and Parliamentary Election, 26 November 2000
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Family voting occurred in 28% of the cases and was more of a problem outside of Bucharest
    -- in rural areas 47% and urban areas 18%. If a man and women entered the polling booth
    together, not only would the secrecy of the vote be compromised but one spouse could also influence the vote of the other.

Russian Federation

    Presidential Election,  26 March 2000
    OSCE/ODIHR

    “Family voting,” or voting together in groups, was noted in 82% of the polling stations, although observers rated these occurrences as “minor” violations in view of the fact that booths were provided and that often the voters themselves seemed not to be concerned about the secrecy of their votes. “Proxy voting” or voting on behalf of a person who is not present at the polling station, was observed in 34% of the stations visited. Once again, observers rated these instances as “minor” violations in terms of the frequency with which it occurred at any one station during the time of visits.

    Ad hoc Committee to observe the Russian presidential election (26 March 2000)
     Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8693, 3 April 2000

    Family voting is still common practice;

    Ad hoc Committee to observe the parliamentary elections in Russia (19 December 1999)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8623, 24 January 2000

45. However, in the 100-odd polling stations which the members of the ad hoc committee visited on election day, they noted a number of irregularities which deserve due consideration by the authorities concerned:

    · equipment of polling stations: many of them were too small and the number of booths was often insufficient, which entailed lack of privacy for voters in marking their ballot papers ;  
    · family voting ;  
    · party and candidate badges: they continue to be allowed to be displayed by observers within the polling stations ;  
    · posters containing declared information on the assets, property and income of candidates are displayed in polling stations ; this information should be rivate but the subject of declaration and registration in the event of election;  
    · mobile boxes: some of them were seen unsealed, in particular in Rostov; furthermore the polling process with mobile boxes is far too long, due in particular to the complexity of ballot papers and the number of elections taking place at the same time (4 different elections in Moscow for instance).

    Presidential Election, 16 June and 3 July 1996
    OSCE/ODIHR

    The most substantial criticism related to the lack of secret voting and to the associated problem of “family” voting – that is one person, usually the husband, voting for another, usually the wife, or family groups voting together in the open. The key guard against intimidation of the secret ballot is clearly not understood in Russian and it is considered sufficient to have the choice whether or not to vote in secret. Observers drew attention to many examples of both practices and urged the CEC to take the lead in instructing the local commissions to ensure secret and individual voting. In a numberof polling stations voters were actively encouraged to vote outside the booths by the provision of tables and pens in the open area.

Slovakia

    Parliamentary Election, 25 - 26 September 1998
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Family or group voting - e.g. more than one person in the booth at the same time – was observed in almost 20% of the polling stations. This is not in accordance with the law and representatives from the Ministry of Interior were quite surprised to hear about this relatively
    high number after the elections. It was said that this would be taken up when training the Polling Station Commission members for the local elections in November.

    Observation of parliamentary elections in Slovakia (25-26 September 1998)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8254, 3 November 1998

    32. There were, certainly, some irregularities, such as family voting and lack of clarity regarding the regulations covering the methods of applying seals to ballot boxes. However, against the general backdrop these should be considered as insignificant and having little or no impact on the result of the voting.

Ukraine

    Ad Hoc Committee to observe the presidential elections in Ukraine (31 October and 14 November 1999)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8603, 21 December 1999

    There remain traditions of disregard for secrecy and of family voting. Casualness in treatment of ballot papers and ballot boxes caused many irregularities, but not on a scale to cause difficulties except in a small number of stations. It is wrong that militia personnel continue to have access to the interior of polling stations. (first round)

    The observation of the second round of these elections has revealed that voting day procedures according to the law were not followed as closely as they were in the first round. In the first round, observers were generally satisfied with the conduct of voting although some minor irregularities were seen. In the second round, observers saw instances of more serious violations. Observers in Lviv oblast in particular, saw voters given more than one ballot paper in a number of polling stations visited in rural areas. They also noted instances of family voting and breaches of the secrecy of the vote. (second round)

    Parliamentary Election, 29 March 1998
    OSCE/ODIHR

    The observation mission is concerned over the high rate of family and open voting observed.
    In 59.0% of polling stations visited family voting was observed, and in 59.0% of pollings tations open voting was observed. These levels are very high and all efforts should be made in future to ensure that such practices are curtailed. It is recognised that some of these instances, particularly in the larger cities, may have been due to the inadequate capacity of polling stations to deal with the number of voters assigned to them.

    To the Progress Report of the Bureau of the Assembly and the Standing Committee - Information Report on the parliamentary elections in Ukraine (29 March 1998)
    Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 8058, Addendum III

    13. The most peculiar aspects of these elections were the "family vote" (two or three people going into the cabin at the same time), which was more the rule than the exception, and the number of ballot papers available at polling stations generally exceeding that of registered voters. This practice was justified on the ground that each polling station was prepared to accommodate even those citizens who were not present in the official list.

    Report of the CLRAE observation mission for the municipal and regional elections in Ukraine – 29 March 1998
    Congress, CG/BUR (4) 132 rev.

    The turnout of approx 70% and voter affluence resulted in some delays and phenomena such as family voting and a degree of confusion, in often the restricted space of a number of polling stations and as a consequence of, what seemed in some places, to be a shortage of voting urns.

    Report on the CLRAE mission to observe the municipal and regional elections in Ukraine (26 June 1994)
    Congress, CG/BUR (1) 11

    Members of the delegation saw husbands voting for their wives, and in some cases several signatures appeared beside a name on the voters list, indicating that he had received ballots for several people.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

    Report on the observation of the early parliamentary elections in Montenegro, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – 22 April 2001
    Congress, CG/CP (8) 5 REV

    The practice of family voting was not observed to any significant extent, except in a few limited cases involving elderly persons votes.

    Election to the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, 23 December 2000
    OSCE/ODIHR

    However, observers reported that some Polling Boards failed to check voters’ ID documents
    consistently and the “secrecy” of the vote was imperfect. The quality of voting screens was
    variable with some positioned without consideration for privacy. Observers often noticed more than one person in voting booths simultaneously, mostly family members, thereby lessening the secrecy of the vote. These problems occurred mainly in rural areas.

    Ad hoc Committee on the observation of elections to the National Assembly of Serbia / Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. Doc. 8934, 22 January 2001

    14. In order to avoid double voting, voters had to agree to have one finger sprayed with a special ink and which could be detected by means of an ultra-violet lamp. This was the first time this system had been used and voters reacted differently to, and sometimes disputed, the test, which was used systematically, but which was perceived as being contrary to civic dignity.  We also noted that family voting was a common practice, mainly for couples who, nevertheless, voted in separate booths.

    Report on the elections in Serbia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – 23 December 2000
    Congress, CG/BUR (7) 85

    Group or family voting was also noted in some cases, this being mainly limited to the vote of husband and wife.

    Municipal Elections in Kosovo – 28 October 2000
    Congress, CG/BUR (7) 63

    32. Family voting was observed, but was generally litmited to two people. True, many people were presented as illiterate and therefore needing assistance. This was generally not noted in the reports, in spite of instructions to this effect. One case was observed, however, where the Chair of the polling station remained behind the voting booth, with the authorisation of the international supervisor, to assist peopl purporitng to be illiterate, although nobody was supposed to give such assistance to more than one person – and it woas not supposed to be given by polling station staff.

    Report on the observation of local elections in Podgorica and Herceg Novi (Montenegro, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) - 11 June 2000
    Congress, CG/Bur (7) 45

    A few cases of “family voting” were observed, although this cannot be said to have influenced the election results. Election commission members were careful to limit this practice to cases where it seemed absolutely necessary (eg voters with visual impairments or disabilities).

    Parliamentary Elections in the Republic of Montenegro, 31 May 1998
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Did you observe instances of family voting?
    Yes - 19.8%
    No - 80.4%

    Family voting is still a widespread practice.

    Presidential and Parliamentary Election in the Republic of Serbia,  21 September and 5 October 1997
    OSCE/ODIHR

    Other observations included open voting outside the polling booth (13%), more than one person in the booth (23%) and voting without appropriate ID (16%).

    APPENDIX 2

    Constitutional provisions of Council of Europe member states in the region of greater Europe regarding equality between women and men and equal voting rights

    Albania
    Constitution adopted on 21 October 1998
    Article 1: 3) Governance is based on a system of elections that are free, equal, general and periodic.
    Article 3: The independence of the state and the integrity of its territory, dignity of the individual, human rights and freedoms, social justice, constitutional order, pluralism, national identity and inheritance, religious coexistence, as well as coexistence with, and understanding of Albanians for, minorities are the bases of this state, which has the duty of respecting and protecting them.
    Article 18: 1) All are equal before the law
    2) no one may be unjustly discriminated against for reasons such as gender, race, religion, ethnicity, language, political, religious or philosophical beliefs, economic condition, education, social status, or ancestry.
    3) No one may be discriminated against for reasons mentioned in paragraph 2 if reasonable and objective legal grounds do not exist.
    Article 45: 1) Every citizen who has reached the age of 18, even on the date of the elections, has the right to elect and to be elected.
    4) the vote is personal, equal, free and secret.

    Armenia
    Constitution passed at referendum 5 July 1995
    Article 3: Elections of the President of the Republic of Armenia, the National Assembly and local self-government bodies, as well as referenda, occur by secret ballot on the basis of a general, equal and direct right to vote
    Article 4: The state provides for the protection of human rights and freedoms based on the Constitution and laws in accordance with the principles and norms of international law
    Article 16: All are equal before the law and are protected equally without prejudice by the law.

    Azerbaijan
    Constitution passed at referendum on 12 November 1995; in force on 27 November 1995
    Article 2: The people of Azerbaijan exercise their sovereign right directly – by way of nation-wide voting – referendum, through their elected representatives based on universal, equal and direct suffrage by way of free, secret and personal ballot
    Article 25 (1) All people are equal with respect to the law and law court.
    (2) Men and women possess equal rights and liberties.
    (3) The state guarantees equality of rights and liberties of everyone, irrespective of race, nationality, religion, language, sex, origin, financial position, occupation, political convictions, membership in political parties, trade unions and other public organizations. Rights and liberties of a person, citizen cannot be restricted due to race, nationality, religion, language, sex, origin, conviction, political and social belonging.
    Article 54 (1) Citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic have the right to take part in political life society and state without restrictions.
    Article 55 (1) Citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic have the right to take part in governing the state. They may exercise said right themselves or through their representatives.
    Article 56 (1) Citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic have the right to elect and be elected to state bodies and also to take part in referendum

    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Article 1 Bosnia and Herzegovina (2) Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be a democratic state, which shall operate under the rule of law and with free and democratic elections.
    Article 2 Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1) Bosnia and Herzegovina and both Entities shall ensure the highest level of internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. To that end, there shall be a Human Rights Commission for Bosnia and Herzegovina as provided for in Annex 6 to the General Framework Agreement.
    (2) The rights and freedoms set forth in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols shall apply directly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These shall have priority over all other law.
    (3) All persons within the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall enjoy the human rights and fundamental freedoms referred to in paragraph 2 above; these include:
    (a) The right to life.
    (b) The right not to be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
    (c) The right not to be held in slavery or servitude or to perform forced or compulsory labor.
    (d) The rights to liberty and security of person.
    (e) The right to a fair hearing in civil and criminal matters, and other rights relating to criminal proceedings.
    (f) The right to private and family life, home, and correspondence.
    (g) Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
    (h) Freedom of expression.
    (i) Freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association with others.
    (j) The right to marry and to found a family.
    (k) The right to property.
    (l) The right to education.
    (m) The right to liberty of movement and residence.
    (4) The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms provided for in this Article or in the international agreements listed in Annex I to this Constitution shall be secured to all persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

    Bulgaria
    Constitution adopted 12 July 1991
    Article 6: (1). All persons are born free and equal in dignity and rights
    (2) All citizens shall be equal before the law. There shall be no privileges or restrictions of rights on the grounds of race, nationality, ethnic self-identity, sex, origin, religion, education, opinion, political affiliation, personal or social status or property status
    Article 10: All elections and national and local referendums shall be held on the basis of universal equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot
    Article 42: (1) Every citizen above the age of 18….is free to elect state and local authorities and vote in referendums
    (2) The organization and procedure for the holding of elections and referendums shall be established by law.

    Estonia
    Constituton adopted on 28 June 1992
    Article 12: (1) All persons shall be equal before the law. No one may be discriminated against on the basis of nationality, race, color, sex, language, origin, creed, political or other persuasions, financial or social status, or other reasons.
    Article 56:The people shall exercise their supreme power through citizens who have the rightto vote by:1) electing the Parliament;2) participating in referenda.
    Article 57: (1) The right to vote shall belong to every Estonian citizen who has attained the ageof eighteen.
    Article 60: (1) The Parliament shall be comprised of one hundred and one members. Members of the Parliament shall be elected in free elections on the principle of proportionality. Elections shall be general, uniform and direct. Voting shall be secret.
    (2) Every citizen entitled to vote who has attained 21 years of age may be a candidate for the Parliament.
    Article 156: (1) The representative body of local government shall be the council, which shall be elected in free elections for a term of three years. The elections shall be general, uniform and direct. Voting shall be secret.
    (2) In the election of the local government council, all persons who have reached the age of eighteen years and who reside permanently on the territory of that local government unit shall have the right to vote, in accordance with conditions determined by law.

    Croatia
    Article 14:(1) Citizens of the Republic of Croatia enjoy all rights and freedoms regardless of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, education, social status, or other characteristics.
    (2) All are equal before the law.
    Article 45: (1) All citizens of the Republic who have reached the age of eighteen years have universal and equal suffrage. This right is to be exercised at direct elections by secret ballot.

    Czech Republic
    Article 6 Political decisions shall derive from the will of the majority expressed through free voting. Minorities shall be protected by the majority in decision-making.
    Article 10 Ratified and promulgated international accords on human rights and fundamental freedoms, to which the Czech Republic has committed itself, are immediately binding and are superior to law.
    Article 18 (1) Elections to the Chamber of Deputies shall be held on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot, according to the principles of proportional representation.
    (2) Elections to the Senate shall take place on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot, on the basis of the majority system.
    (3) Every citizen of the Czech Republic, on reaching the age of18, has the right to vote

    Georgia:
    Constitution passed by referedum on 31 March 1991
    Article 7: The state recognises and defends generally recognised rights and freedoms of the individual as everlasting and the most high values. The people and the state are bound by these rights and freedoms as well as by current legislation for the exercise of state power.
    Article 14: Everyone is born free and is equal before the law, regardless of race, skin colour, language, sex, religion, political and other beliefs, national, ethnic and social origin, property and title status or place of residence.
    Article 28: 1. A citizen who has attained the age of 18 has the right to participate in referenda and elections of state and self-governing bodies. Free will of constituents is guaranteed.
    Article 49: 1. The Parliament of Georgia consists of one hundred and fifty deputies elected for a term of four years by a proportional system and eighty five elected by a majority system for a period of four years on the basis of free, universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot.

    Hungary:
    Article 8: (1) The Republic of Hungary recognizes inviolable and inalienable fundamental human rights. The respect and protection of these rights is a primary obligation of the State.
    Article 66: (1) The Republic of Hungary shall ensure the equality of men and women in all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
    Article 70: (1) All adult Hungarian citizens residing in the territory of the Republic of Hungary have the right to be elected and the right to vote in Parliamentary elections, local government elections or minority self-government elections, provided that they are present in the country on the day of the election or referendum, and furthermore to participate in national or local referenda or popular initiatives.
    Article 70A: (1) The Republic of Hungary shall respect the human rights and civil rights of all persons in the country without discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origins, financial situation, birth or on any other grounds whatsoever.
    (2) The law shall provide for strict punishment of discrimination on the basis of Paragraph (1).
    (3) The Republic of Hungary shall endeavor to implement equal rights for everyone through measures that create fair opportunities for all.
    Article 71: (1) Members of Parliament, members of representative bodies of local governments, Mayors and the Mayor of the Capital are elected by direct, secret ballot by voting citizens, based on their universal and equal right to vote.

    Latvia
    Article 6: The Parliament shall be elected in general, equal, direct and secret elections, based on proportional representation.
    Article 8: All citizens of Latvia who enjoy full rights of citizenship and, who on election day have attained eighteen years of age shall be entitled to vote.
    Article 89: The State shall recognise and protect fundamental human rights in accordance with this Constitution, laws and international agreements binding upon Latvia.
    Article 90: Everyone has the right to know about their rights.
    Article 91: All human beings in Latvia shall be equal before the law and the courts. Human rights shall be realised without discrimination of any kind.

    Lithuania:
    Constitution adopted by referendum on 25 October 1992
    Article 29: (1) All people shall be equal before the law, the court, and other State institutions and officers.
    (2) A person may not have his rights restricted in any way, or be granted any privileges, on the basis of his or her sex, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, religion, convictions, or opinions.
    Article 34: (1) Citizens who, on the day of election, are 18 years of age or over, shall have the right to vote in the election.
    Article 55: (1) The Parliament shall consist of 141 Parliament members - representatives of the People, who shall be elected for a four-year term on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot.
    Article 119: (1) Administrative units provided by law on State territory shall be entitled to the right of self-government. This right shall be implemented through local government Councils.
    (2) Members of local government Councils shall be elected for a two-year term on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot by the residents of their administrative unit who are citizens of the Republic of Lithuania.

    “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”
    Article 8: (1) The fundamental values of the constitutional order of the Republic of Macedonia are:
    - the basic freedoms and rights of the individual and citizen, recognized in international law and set down in the Constitution;
    Article 9: (1) Citizens of the Republic of Macedonia are equal in their freedoms and rights, regardless of sex, race, color of skin, national and social origin, political and religious beliefs, property and social status.
    (2) All citizens are equal before the Constitution and law,
    Article 22: (1) Every citizen on reaching 18 years of age acquires the right to vote.
    (2) The right to vote is equal, universal and direct, and is exercised at free elections by secret ballot.

    Moldova
    Article 2 (1) National sovereignty resides with the people of the Republic of Moldova, who shall exercise it directly and through its representative bodies in the ways provided for by Constitution.
    (2) No private individual, national segment of population, social grouping, political party or public organization may exercise state power in their own behalf. The usurpation of state power constitutes the gravest crime against the people
    Article 4 (1) Constitutional provisions for human rights and freedoms shall be understood and implemented in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and with other conventions and treaties endorsed by the Republic of Moldova.
    (2) Wherever disagreements appear between conventions and treaties signed by the Republic of Moldova and her own national laws, priority shall be given to international regulations.
    Article 16 (1) It is the foremost duty of the State to respect and protect the human person.
    (2) All citizens of the Republic of Moldova are equal before the law and the public authorities, without any discrimination as to race, nationality, ethnic origin, language, religion, sex, political choice, personal property or social origin.
    Article 38 (1) The foundation of State power is the will of the people made known through free elections held at regular intervals and based on universal, equal, direct, and free suffrage.
    (2) Except for the persons banned from voting by law, all the citizens of the Republic of Moldova having attained the age of 18 on or by the voting day inclusively have the right to vote.
    (3) The right of being elected is granted to all citizens of the Republic of Moldova enjoying the right of voting.

    Poland
    Constitution confirmed by referendum in October 1997
    Article 32: (1) All persons shall be equal before the law. All persons shall have the right to equal treatment by public authorities.
    (2) No one shall be discriminated against in political, social or economic life for any reason whatsoever.
    Article 33: (1) Men and women shall have equal rights in family, political, social and economic life in the Republic of Poland.
    (2) Men and women shall have equal rights, in particular, regarding education, employment and promotion, and shall have the right to equal compensation for work of similar value, to social security, to hold offices, and to receive public honours and decorations.
    Article 62: (1) If, no later than on the day of vote, he has attained 18 years of age, a Polish citizen shall have the right to participate in a referendum and the right to vote for the President of the Republic of Poland as well as representatives to the House of Representatives (Sejm) and Senate and organs of local self-government.
    Article 96: (2) Elections to the House of Representatives (Sejm) shall be universal, equal, direct and proportional and shall be conducted by secret ballot.
    Article 97: (2) Elections to the Senate shall be universal, direct and shall be conducted by secret ballot.
    Article 169 (1) Units of local self-government shall perform their duties through constitutive and executive organs.
    (2) Elections to constitutive organs shall be universal, direct, equal and shall be conducted by secret ballot. The principles and procedures for submitting candidates and for the conduct of elections, as well as the requirements for the validity of elections, shall be specified by statute.

    Romania
    Article 4 (2) Romania is the common and indivisible homeland of all its citizens, without any discrimination on account of race, nationality, ethnic origin, language, religion, sex, opinion, political adherence, property, or social origin.
    Article 16 (1) Citizens are equal before the law and public authorities, without any privilege or discrimination.
    Article 34: (1) Every citizen having attained the age of eighteen by or on the election day shall have the right to vote.
    Article 59: (1) The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate are elected by universal, equal, direct, secret, and free suffrage, in accordance with the electoral law.
    Article 120: (1) The Public Administration authorities, by which local autonomy in communes and towns is implemented, shall be the Local Councils and Mayors elected, in accordance with the law.

    Russian Federation
    Constitution adopted by referendum on 12 December 1993
    Article 2: Humans, their rights and freedoms are the supreme value. It is a duty of the state to recognize, respect and protect the rights and liberties of humans and citizens.
    Article 19: (1) All people are equal before the law and in the court of law.
    (2) The state guarantees the equality of rights and liberties regardless of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, property or employment status, residence, attitude to religion, convictions, membership of public associations or any other circumstance. Any restrictions of the rights of citizens on social, racial, national, linguistic or religious grounds are forbidden.
    (3) Man and woman have equal rights and liberties and equal opportunities for their pursuit.
    Article 32: (1) Citizens of the Russian Federation have the right to participate in the administration of the affairs of the state both directly and through their representatives.
    (2) Citizens of the Russian Federation have the right to elect and to be elected to bodies of state governance and to organs of local self-government, as well as take part in a referendum.
    Article 81 (1) The President of the Russian Federation is elected for a term of four years by the citizens of the Russian Federation on the basis of general, equal and direct vote by secret ballot.
    Article 96: (1) The House of Representatives [State Duma] is elected for a term of four years.
    (2) The procedure for forming the Federation Council and the procedure for electing deputies to the House of Representatives [State Duma] is established by federal law.

    Slovakia:
    Constitution adopted on 1 September 1992
    Article 11: International treaties on human rights and basic liberties that were ratified by the Slovak Republic and promulgated in a manner determined by law take precedence over its own laws, provided that they secure a greater extent of constitutional rights and liberties.
    Article 12 (1) People are free and equal in dignity and their rights. Basic rights and liberties are inviolable, inalienable, secured by law, and unchallengeable.
    (2) Basic rights and liberties on the territory of the Slovak Republic are guaranteed to everyone regardless of sex, race, color of skin, language, creed and religion, political or other beliefs, national or social origin, affiliation to a nation or ethnic group, property, descent, or another status. No one must be harmed, preferred, or discriminated against on these grounds.
    Article 30: (3) The right to vote is universal, equal, and direct and is exercised by means of secret ballot. Conditions for exercising the right to vote will be set out in a law.

    Slovenia
    Article 14: (1) In Slovenia each individual shall be guaranteed equal human rights and fundamental freedoms irrespective of national origin, race, sex, language, religion, political or other beliefs, financial status, birth, education, social status or whatever other personal circumstance.
    (2) All persons shall be equal before the law.
    Article 43:(1) The right to vote shall be universal and equal.
    (2) Each citizen who has attained the age of 18 years shall be eligible to vote and to stand for election.
    Article 80: (1) The National Assembly shall consist of 90 Deputies, representing the citizens of Slovenia.
    (2) Deputies must be directly effected by secret ballot on the basis of a universal, adult franchise.

    Ukraine
    Article 3: The human being, his or her life and health, honour and dignity, inviolability and security are recognised in Ukraine as the highest social value.
    Human rights and freedoms and their guarantees determine the essence and orientation of the activity of the State. The State is answerable to the individual for its activity.
    To affirm and ensure human rights and freedoms is the main duty of the State.
    Article 21: All people are free and equal in their dignity and rights.
    Human rights and freedoms are inalienable and inviolable.
    Article 24: Citizens have equal constitutional rights and freedoms and are equal before the law.
    There shall be no privileges or restrictions based on race, colour of skin, political, religious and other beliefs, sex, ethnic and social origin, property status, place of residence, linguistic or other characteristics.
    Equality of the rights of women and men is ensured: by providing women with opportunities equal to those of men, in public and political, and cultural activity, in obtaining education and in professional training, in work and its remuneration; by special measures for the protection of work and health of women; by establishing pension privileges, by creating conditions that allow women to combine work and motherhood; by legal protection, material and moral support of motherhood and childhood, including the provision of paid leaves and other privileges to pregnant women and mothers.
    Article 70: Citizens of Ukraine who have attained the age of eighteen on the day elections and referendums are held, have the right to vote at the elections and referendums.
    Article 71: Elections to bodies of state power and bodies of local self-government are free and are held on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage, by secret ballot. Voters are guaranteed the free expression of their will.

    References:
    Council of Europe, Final report of the Group of Specialists on Equality and Democracy (EG (97) 1), Strasbourg, 6 March 1997

    Council of Europe, Positive Action in the Field of Equality between Women and Men EG-S-PA (2000) 7 prov.

    Council of Europe, 4th European Ministerial Conference on equality between women and men (Istanbul, 13-14 November 1997), Declaration on equality between women and men as a fundamental criterion of democracy.

    Council of Europe, Women in politics in the Council of Europe member states, EG (2000) 4
    United Nations, Human Development Report, 2001 consulted on website www.undp.org/hdr2001.
    CLRAE, Situation of local democracy in ‘the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’, CPL (7) 8 Part II, Strasbourg 23-25 May 2000, Rapporteur: Jean-Claude Frecon.

    CLRAE, Report on the local elections observation mission in ‘the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ 10 and 24 September 2000, CG/CP (7) 12 rev, Strasbourg 13 Nov, Rapporteur: Claude Casegrande

    CEDG, Going for Gender Balance: A Guide for Balancing Decision-making, draft report compiled by Alison E. Woodward, November 2000.

    CEDG, Equal Time: Inspiring Europeans to Work for Gender Balance: a guide to persuasion strategies for balanced representation of women and men in decision making, draft report, EG-S-BP (2001) 6, Strasbourg, October 2001.

    Stability Pact Gender Task Force website, www.spgtf.org

    United Nations, Platform for Action and Beijing Declaration, New York:United Nations, 1996.
    Council of Europe Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, Report: Equal representation in political life, Doc. 8423, Rapporteur Paul Staes, 26 May 1999

    ECE Regional Preparatory Meeting on the 2000 Review of Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, 19-21 Jan 2000, Geneva, Agreed Conclusions.

    Commission of the European Communities, Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee on the Implementation of Council Recommendation 96/694 of 2nd Dec 1996 on the Balanced Participation of Women and Men in the Decision-Making Process, COM (2000) 120 final, Brussels 7.3.2000.

 

1 http://www.humanrights.coe.int/equality/default.htm

2 Final report of the Group of specialists on equality and democracy, EG (97) 1, p. 4

3 Declaration on Equality between Women and Men as a Fundamental Criterion for Democracy (Istanbul 1997), MEG-4 (97) 18.

4 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 4-15 September 1995), p. 109.

5 Thanks to Professor Yesim Arat, member of the expert group on the balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision making, for this information.



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