Electoral Systems modular workshop in Ukraine
2-4 September 2023
IFES Ukraine in cooperation with the joint IFES-Central Election Commission (CEC) Administrative Center for the Training of Elections Process Participants and with the financial support of USAID, UKAID and Global Affairs Canada conducted a BRIDGE modular workshop on Electoral Systems.
The aim of the workshop was to provide participants with knowledge on characteristics of all electoral systems’ families and then to make a thorough analysis of each electoral system type.
The workshop was conducted in Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine, on September 2-4, 2023.
The workshop was held in Ukrainian language and was facilitated by BRIDGE Accrediting facilitators Evgeniy Krikopolo, Yevheniia Pavlovska, Alona Sheshenia together with workshop facilitators Igor Feshchenko. The training assembled 25 participants including members of parliament, CEC of Ukraine members and representatives of its Secretariat together with IFES Ukraine representatives. Members of Parliament took part in the BRIDGE training for the first time. Taking into account the role of the Parliament in the electoral reform, their participation, together with the members of the CEC, is an essential contribution to the preparations for the post-war elections.
The BRIDGE workshop deepened knowledge of the electoral stakeholders on different electoral systems. Despite the high status of the participants and their thorough knowledge, the participants remained motivated and actively worked in groups and actively participated in the discussion of individual topics.
Some of the start-up activities developed understanding of basic principles of the electoral systems that later led to profound analysis of the electoral systems within each family:
· Participants were asked to range priorities that an “ideal to them” electoral system should enforce at most which later was compared to the priorities that each concrete electoral system enforced in practice.
· The principle of representation was explained to the participants. Understanding of the different forms of representation contributed later to analysis of every electoral system and led to the discussion how an electoral system can preserve different types of representation without reserving the seats.
· Another start-up session focused on the three building “bricks” of every electoral system: the constituency magnitude, the ballot design and the formula. For visibility and summary, in parallel to explanation of the systems, facilitators were sorting the systems into a) Constituency Magnitude: MMD vs. SMD; b) Ballot Structure: Categorical vs. Preferential; Party vs. Candidate oriented; c) Electoral Formula: Relative Majority vs. Absolute Majority vs. Proportional to the share of votes.
All sessions on technical understanding of systems were highly interactive and enabled participants to try all types of electoral systems in practice. Participants had the opportunity to try themselves in the role of voters, candidates and as well as polling officials, which ensured better understanding of voting and counting procedures of each electoral system.
One session was devoted to modeling of the results of the 2014 and 2019 Parliamentary elections in Ukraine under the MMP system. This session helped to clearly see the difference between the parallel system which was used in Ukraine to elect the current Parliament and the MMP system. The participants themselves figured out how the composition of the Ukrainian Parliament would change under this electoral system and what impact this could have on politics.
The major achievement of the workshop was that the participants discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the existing electoral system and the possibility of changing it exclusively for post-war elections in Ukraine.
Participants throughout the workshop expressed interest and actively engaged in all activities.