The British Helsinki Human Rights Group monitors human rights and democracy in the 57 OSCE member states from the United States to Central Asia.
* Monitoring the conduct of elections in OSCE member states.
* Examining issues relating to press freedom and freedom of speech
* Reporting on conditions in prisons and psychiatric institutions
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Election in Czech Republic 2002: details of the campaign
The election campaign was low key. Czech TV fulfilled its duties and broadcast the parties’ election programmes. However, the print media was generally hostile to the ODS – as pointed out, it is the second most popular party in the Czech Republic (and the one that led in opinion polls until weeks before the election) yet it has no newspaper outlet.
Fewer posters were on display than in 1998 and most were dull and uninspiring. The most unappealing posters were those of the ODS which featured close-up shots of Václav Klaus whose cold, steely eyes peered over sinister rimless glasses – hardly a heart-warming image. The party also covered lamp posts and walls in Prague with silly leaflets warning of a return to proto-Communist rule if the ČSSD returned to power.
Confounding exit polls suggesting a neck-and-neck race for the Romanian presidency, Bucharest’s mayor, Trajan Basescu, defeated incumbent prime minister, Adrian Nastase, by almost 5% in the decisive second round of voting on 12th December, 2004. Following allegations of widespread fraud in the first round of the elections held on 28th November, monitors from the British Helsinki Human Rights Group observed the 2nd round of the Presidential elections in polling stations in Constanta, Eforie, Medgidiu and Otopeni. The conduct of the poll everywhere was efficient. After a slow start, voter numbers increased, but the simplicity of the choice between two candidates and generally reliable lists of registered voters meant that the polling stations dealt quickly with voters. Only a handful of cases of people coming to the wrong polling station or without adequate documentation were noted.
BHHRG was able to observe several polling stations on the day of the poll in County Dublin. The principal point of interest was the introduction of a new electronic voting system. Voters present themselves at a desk, as would be customary for any normal vote, and are then issued with a ticket which they take and present to someone sitting next to the voting machine. This enables them to go behind it and cast their vote. At the beginning of the voting day, a print-out is taken showing that the chip in each voting machine registers zero. Equally, at the end of the day, a print-out is again taken, this time showing the number of votes cast at each voting station, but not the way they were cast.
HITS: 1996 | 1-05-2003, 16:59 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Estonia , Elections, Political science
BHHRG observed the voting in Paldiski, Keila, Rakvere, Vaike-Maarja and Tartu. On the whole, the voting was conducted in an orderly and peaceful manner, but BHHRG’s observers were struck by the absence of domestic observers in any of the polling stations - the only exception was at Paldiski No. 1, where one observer was present. This observer was actually a candidate from the Russian Party (which campaigned on a platform of overhauling the health system to allow inexpensive Russian medicines into the country). This should set alarm bells ringing for the forthcoming EU referendum is held with a similar dearth of domestic observers. In other polling stations, BHHRG encountered a few minor problems. In Keila No. 2, also in the 4th district, BHHRG found the polling station housed in a sports complex that did not qualify as a public building. The complex, which included an indoor swimming pool, was a business concern that belonged to a “sports union.” This was odd, considering Keila was clearly a large enough municipality to have schools and other public buildings to serve as polling stations. BHHRG was bothered by the large poster of Reform Party leader and Prime Minister Siim Kallas displayed just beyond the parking lot, a little too close to the polling station entrance for comfort.