Electoral Systems modular workshop in Ukraine
15-17 March 2023
IFES and IFES-CEC Training Center Deliver BRIDGE Workshop on Electoral Systems
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 thorough analysis of each electoral system type.
The workshop was conducted in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 15-17, 2023.
The workshop was held in Ukrainian language and was facilitated by BRIDGE Accrediting facilitators Evgeniy Krikopolo and Anna Denis together with three TTF Completed facilitators Oleksii Liubchenko, Yuliia Zaltsberh and Igor Feshchenko. The training assembled 25 participants including representatives of the CEC, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (MFA) and IFES Ukraine. It was the first time when representatives of the MFA took part in a BRIDGE training. Taking into account the MFA’s role in organizing the out-of-country voting, IFES considers it a significant contribution to the overall integrity of the electoral process in Ukraine.
The BRIDGE workshop deepened knowledge of the electoral stakeholders on different electoral systems. Despite air-raid sirens going off across Ukraine during the training, participants remained motivated and continued their studies while working in groups and actively participating in specific topic discussions.
Some of the start-up activities developed understanding of basic principles of the electoral systems that later led to profound analys 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 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.
Another major focus of the workshop was understanding of gender representation within the presented electoral systems and measures to increase women representation.
Major achievement of the workshop was that participants agreed that there is no perfect electoral system and that the selection of a particular system should be based on the socioeconomic, historical, and political circumstances of each country in a given moment of its existence.
Participants throughout the workshop expressed interest and actively engaged in all activities.