"Monitoring European Elections 2014"


Project Objectives: Support for democratic, transparent and fair elections of representatives for the European Parliament; achieving preventive effect on the possibility of violating democracy during the elections, and increasing citizens’ participation in the electoral process.

The monitoring includes three stages of observation: electoral legislation, media monitoring and observation during the Election Day.

After the early Parliamentary Elections in July 2013, the mass protests in the capital were focused mainly on claims for new electoral legislation. In response to the citizens' demands, civil society organizations and movements, experts and citizens were invited to the National Assembly in July, to discuss the problems in electoral legislation at a common platform. Later, a special Temporary Committee for the discussion and adoption of a new draft for Electoral Code within the 41st National Assembly, and a Commission to work with the civil society organizations and movements and their Public Councils, were set up. At the end of January 2014, following all meetings of committees and councils, the MPs began the discussion of the new Electoral Code at a general meeting. ISI took part in the process of discussing the new rules, through its representatives in all advisory bodies and working groups, which had been formed. A report would be prepared, with a brief analysis of the process for the development of a new Electoral Code and the participation of citizens in it. Also, an analysis of the structure of the Central Elections Commission, under the rules of the new law. After the elections, a functional analysis will be prepared, on the effects of implementing the new code and the changes in the technological methods of the election process.

The media monitoring aims at monitoring and analysis of media environment in Bulgaria in the context of the forthcoming European elections. Apart from the traditional quantitative monitoring /25 March - 25 May/, which will ensure the equality in covering of some of the major candidates, leaders of lists, political leaders and parties, this year ISI will expand the media monitoring with two new activities within the Monitoring. Both are focused on research and analysis of the current trend of widening the gap between the European institutions and local realities, the growing crisis of confidence, not only nationally but also in the European context. Fewer and fewer people recognize voting as their personal priority, and this logically leads to lower voting activity.

The trend holds true also for the elections of Bulgarian representatives for the European Parliament. That’s why ISI will focus part of its efforts on monitoring several major local media, in order to study how much European issues are covered, and how they are presented to the audience of the media. The second new component of the media monitoring includes parallel comparative analysis between the set and declared priorities in the platforms of the leading parties in the country. A study will be made as of how these topics and key points of the policy and program documents are actually reflected in the month of campaigning. Both new activities will last one month - from April 25 to May 25.

Based on the achievements of the monitoring in 2011 and 2013, ISI aims at close monitoring of the campaigning and the electoral process, including the Election Day. The possible violations of the electoral process must be given the necessary publicity and they should be reported to the responsible authorities and institutions. This will be achieved using the already existing network of citizen observers, but new civil observers will be trained too, in all constituencies of the country, within three training seminars in various locations of the country. For the effective work of the observers, a small Manual of the observer will be published.