Publication | Report/Paper

Electoral Systems Seminar: Brasov, Romania, September 2-4, 1992


The Romanian Electoral Systems Seminar was organized jointly by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the Conference on Security and cooperation in Europe (C.S.C.E).

IFES is a private, non-profit foundation, based in Washington, D.C., supporting and strengthening the process of elections worldwide.

Since its foundation in 1987, IFES has been a vital resource for any nation seeking assistance in developing a sound electoral process. This process is essential in establishing and maintaining a democratic form of government. IFES is committed to supporting free and fair elections as the expression of the will of the people.

Each nation requires an election system tailor-made to suit its unique culture and environment. The consultation of international experts, reflecting the diversity of electoral systems around the world, allows IFES to provide directly relevant assistance to countries establishing or fine-tuning an electoral process.

In addition to providing direct technical assistance, IFES serves as a clearinghouse for sharing information about all aspects of the electoral process. This includes a data base which identifies the individuals who are experts in different aspects of the electoral process as well as the material necessary for administering elections.

The CSCE began in the mid-1970s as a forum for communication and cooperation between East and west. It entered a new and dynamic phase with the end of the Cold War. The CSCE has now intensified its practical work through the creation of such institutions as the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The ODIHR, based in Warsaw, is responsible for the "human dimension" of the CSCE - furthering human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

The ODIHR serves as a clearinghouse for information on democracy building programs. Over the next year, it will organize international seminars on issues crucial to political development, including migration, tolerance, free media and national implementation of human rights standards in CSCE countries. It will also support the work of the new CSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities.

A key area of the ODIHR's work is support for democratic elections in the region and assistance to international election observers. In this context, it has organized election seminars in Poland, Bulgaria and Albania and has played a central role in the development of continuity among election administrators and experts.

The purpose of this seminar was to bring together all groups involved in the democratic process in Romania in order to discuss freely and openly the political process in the country in the weeks prior to the September 27 parliamentary and presidential elections.

The participants were electoral tribunals, organizations, mayors, prefects, political parties judges from the local and non-governmental

The methodology of the seminar was to present papers by speakers in the plenary sessions. After these sessions the delegates moved into workshops where they had the opportunity to discuss in detail the topics raised in the plenary sessions. Each workshop had a moderator and rapporteur who had the responsibility of recording the discussions and reporting conclusions at the end of the seminar.

IFES and the CSCE were very pleased by the high turnout at the seminar. The content of the seminar was judged to have been of considerable value and the seminar itself afforded the participants the opportunity of meeting others involved in the election process around Romania and learning from each others experiences.

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