IFES-CEC Ukraine Training Center Electoral System Workshop
10-12 March 2021
The BRIDGE modular workshop on Electoral Systems was conducted on March 10-12, 2021, by the 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 and Global Affairs Canada. The workshop was held remotely using the online conference platform ZOOM and additional online tools in order to keep the traditional interactive nature of the BRIDGE workshops.
The aim of the workshop was to provide participants with knowledge on the characteristics of all electoral systems’ families and then to make a thorough analysis of each electoral system. Besides, all the workshop activities were intended to facilitate participants’ understanding of the effects of different electoral systems on women’s representation in parliaments.
The workshop was held in Ukrainian language and was facilitated by BRIDGE workshop-level facilitators Evgeniy Krikopolo, Anastasiia Matviienko, Alyona Sheshenia, and Anna Denis (Bandurka). Twenty participants from the CEC, CSOs, and political parties attended the workshop (out of which five were male and fifteen female).
Some of the start-up activities created the basis for understanding principles of the electoral systems design that later led to analyzing electoral systems within each family:
- Participants were asked to rank priorities for the electoral system design based on their understanding. While within the workshop, participants were provided with the understanding that different electoral systems contribute to fulfilling different priorities.
- The principle of representation and its different forms were explained to the participants. This session content later led to the discussion, what type of representation can offer the electoral system.
- Another start-up session focused on the main elements of the electoral system design. During the whole workshop, electoral systems were examined regarding a) District Magnitude: MMD vs. SMD; b) Ballot Structure: Categorical vs. Preferential; Party vs. Candidate oriented; c) Electoral Formula: Plurality vs. Majority vs. Proportional to the share of votes.
All sessions on systems’ technical characteristics were highly interactive and enabled participants to test all types of electoral systems in practice. Participants had the opportunity to try themselves in voters’ role, which ensured a better understanding of each electoral system’s voting and counting procedures.
Having covered all presented electoral systems, participants were tasked to analyze which system was “the most fair”; as well as to choose an appropriate electoral system for an imaginary society based on the provided circumstances. Participants in separate groups received a description of the “x” country’s social, economic, and political peculiarities. Participants had to first determine the most critical priorities for the described society and only then to choose which electoral system could contribute to the fulfillment of identified priorities.
At the end of the workshop, participants concluded that the electoral system’s choice is fundamental for further country’s development. Therefore, the reforming of it is a sensitive issue that requires a balanced approach.