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News and Events
A new CICDE policy brief on organising elections during the COVID-19 pandemic
Date: 25.05.2020   

Today, on 25 May, the Centre for Continuous Electoral Training (CICDE) presented a policy brief entitled ‘Organising elections during the COVID-19 pandemic’. The event took place in circumstances where Parliament scheduled the presidential election for 1 November 2020, but the pandemic does not seem to recede.

During the LIVE presentation on Facebook, authors of the material presented the current situation, the international experience of other states that organised elections during the pandemic, the protection measures that were implemented, scenarios of holding elections during the pandemic and provided a number of findings and recommendations for the autumn presidential election, in case if the second wave of the pandemic starts.

(Excerpt from the text) On 21 May 2020, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova scheduled the elections for 1 November 2020. Elections are significant events for a country: they imply a huge logistical, financial and human effort. At the same time, elections rely mainly on communication and direct contact among people. This year, 2020, is characterised by the global spread of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19). After 2 months of state of emergency, a state of emergency in public health was decreed in the Republic of Moldova.

There is an increase in the daily number of COVID-19 infection cases and experts already say that a new wave of pandemic may begin in autumn. Moldova is far from being the only country which had to decide on holding elections during the pandemic. According to IDEA International, from 21 February to 20 May 2020, at least 56 states and territories of the world decided to postpone national or local elections due to the novel coronavirus, while at least other 24 states and territories opted for holding the elections within the legal time frame, despite the risk of COVID-19 spreading. Organising elections or not is the sovereign decision of each and every country.

This decision must be based on an objective risk assessment, conducted jointly with the public health authorities. It must reflect the position of political parties and of the civil society organisations that are representative for the country and it must imply a clear awareness of the risks related to organising elections under a pandemic. Basically, countries have to choose between organising elections, thus taking responsibility for the public health, or postponing them, thus putting the country’s electoral democracy at risk. 

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