Webinar Series: Democratic Resilience in Europe During a Pandemic

Participants take part in an Election Day simulation exercise to identify potential problems during Ukraine's 2020 local elections.

Much like other organizations, entities and communities around the world, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and its beneficiaries have been deeply impacted by the novel coronavirus crisis.

With most in-person events and activities canceled or postponed due to restrictions on travel and large gatherings of people, IFES swiftly embraced this challenge and opportunity within its “Regional Elections Administration and Political Processes Strengthening” (REAPPS) program. In response to the new environment, IFES’ Regional Europe Office in Prague, Czech Republic, quickly adapted in-person events to online webinars and meetings to continue programming and ensure continued engagement of key electoral stakeholders across the Europe and Eurasia region.

At the onset of the pandemic, the REAPPS team developed and launched a dedicated webinar series for international election practitioners, observers and donors. To date, Democratic Resilience in Europe During a Pandemic (formerly Administering Elections in Europe During a Pandemic) has held multiple dedicated webinars, each focusing on salient issues, such as:

The webinar series has received broad interest and high-level participation from more than 35 countries, due in part to its revolving relevant topics and expert panelists who address key issues developing across electoral environments during the pandemic. This feature is complemented by the webinar’s greater engagement of non-English speakers as each webinar is simultaneously translated into multiple languages. The webinar series has delivered an array of international good practices and recommendations from experts on protecting electoral integrity during the pandemic. These insights have provided integral input to the actions of election management bodies, observers and advocacy groups, especially those poised to conduct elections in the period following webinar participation.

Upcoming Events

IFES is planning further installments of the webinar series about European electoral processes and democratic resilience during the pandemic. During the spring of 2021, webinars will focus on gender equality and disinformation in elections, money in politics and electoral justice. To register for the January 28 event, please click the link below.

Recent European Elections During the Pandemic: Georgia, Romania, Ukraine and Moldova

January 28 at 14-15:30 CET/8-9:30 a.m. EST

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, numerous countries in Europe and Eurasia postponed scheduled elections to later in the year, when it was thought the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic would be lessened. Several elections were conducted in the region in late 2020, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine. These elections were held when the spread of the virus in many countries was notably worse than it was during the spring of 2020.

What are the lessons from these recent elections, both regarding their impact on democracy and in guaranteeing the results represent the will of the electorate? What were the biggest challenges during the parliamentary elections in Georgia and the presidential election in Moldova? What lessons can we learn from holding both legislative and local government elections in Romania during the pandemic? What was the importance of pressing ahead with local elections in Ukraine following the recent decentralization reforms?

Please join IFES and experts from the region to discuss how COVID-19 has transformed the electoral process, new opportunities and challenges and how electoral stakeholders work to promote a fair and inclusive vote while safeguarding voter trust and confidence.

In line with the previous installments of the webinar series, the event will be held live via Zoom and feature simultaneous interpretation from English into Albanian, Armenian, Georgian, Macedonian, Russian, South Slavic language and Ukrainian.

The event will be moderated by Dr. Magnus Ohman, director of IFES’ Regional Europe Office, and feature the following speakers:

  • Anya Cumberland, Deputy Regional Director for Europe and Eurasia, IFES
  • Tamar Zhvania, Chairperson of the Central Election Commission, Georgia
  • Vajda Zsombor, Vice President of the Permanent Electoral Authority, Romania
  • Vitalii Plukar, Deputy Chairperson of the Central Election Commission, Ukraine
  • Dorin Cimil, Chairman of the Central Election Commission, Moldova

Learn More and RSVP

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Illustration of a voter wearing latex gloves and casting a ballot

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