23 January 2008
For the first time, the elections of the Sabor, the Croatian Parliament, on 25 November 2007 have been conducted by a permanent and professional electoral body.
The State Election Commission of the Republic of Croatia (SEC) started its work as a permanent body on 9 March 2007. Prior to this reform enacted under Law on the SEC of 31 march 2006, Croatia was one of the rare European states appointing temporary, ad hoc, members to a central election commission before each election. The new permanent State Election Commission consists of six members appointed for eight years and three judges of the Supreme Court of the Republic Croatia.
In support of this reform, UNDEF is funding a joint effort of SEC and UNDP to strengthen the capacity of the new permanent election body with the goal of ensuring a professional and impartial electoral policy in Croatia.
This one year initiative is aiming at:
Since the beginning of the project in April 2007, the SEC members have been given opportunities to improve their knowledge in election policy and electoral management through a seminar organized domestically and a study visit to institutions of the Council of Europe dealing with electoral matters.
In turn, the SEC has conducted training activities at the local level, for the members of the Constituency Election Commissions established in each of the ten geographical electoral constituencies and for the members of the Municipal and City Election Commissions. Furthermore, it has provided manuals on electoral procedures to voting committees.
The interactive seminar for the members of the SEC
The seminar featured both international and domestic lecturers. The international lecturers came from the State Election Commissions of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the Republic of Hungary and of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The domestic lecturers included Croatian experts experienced in conducting elections, officials from the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia, officials from the Central State Administrative Office in charge of the voters’ register, representatives from APIS, an IT Company providing a technical electoral assistance and from GONG, a Croatian NGO dealing with elections, as well as senior academics from Zagreb University.
Study visit to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, September 2007
The Study visit of the members of the SEC to the Council of
Moreover, the SEC’s members have participated in:
Training in Zagreb, November 2007
Training sessions for election bodies
Moreover, the State Election Commission has developed and updated manuals intended to help the voting committees to perform their tasks in an efficient and professional manner in the context of the parliamentarian elections. Information such as the specific introduction to the elections for the representatives of the Croatian Sabor, a glossary of electoral procedures and some examples and check lists to conduct elections have been included in the handbooks delivered to voting committees.
The remaining activities of the project will focus on reinforcing the SEC’s capacity to play a vital role in the Croatian policy making process. To this end, the SEC will develop an on-line database gathering information on the election system within the country as well as abroad and conducting analysis and studies of relevant electoral issues. Furthermore, an expert discussion on the reform of the electoral procedures will be initiated and two roundtables will be organized on topics related to the above mentioned analysis with the overall objective to launch a systematic cooperation between the SEC, national stakeholders and representatives of international organisations.