Assisting electoral reform legislation
Substantive changes to Serbia’s electoral code are anticipated within NDI’s five-year grant (2010-2015). While timelines for implementation remain unclear, if passed, this package of reform legislation would fundamentally transform the Serbian political system. Most notably, proposed changes would result in a shift away from the current proportional representation (PR) system to a “hybrid” PR system – or a mixed member system – whereby the voters would vote for a candidate, but also for a party, in parliamentary elections, with similar changes being implemented at the local level.
Electoral Reform Conference
Dialogue on the elements and repercussions of reform legislation has been limited and there is a need for constructive discussion among a larger group of stakeholders. In 2011, the Institute will organize a regional conference for participants representing a cross-section of political parties, parliament, academia, and civil society, to create an open forum for discussion, evaluation, and information sharing.
The goal of the conference will be to support electoral reform through public dialogue and exploration of different policy options. In addition, NDI will create an electoral reform network (ERN) of interested organizations. The Institute will call for policy abstracts which will be the focus of the conference. NDI will invite field experts, the academic community, relevant NGOs and graduate students who would be able to compare Serbia’s experience to that in their country.
The conference agenda will incorporate four main pillars which will further define specific sub pillar area. Those are: Serbian Electoral system and Obstacles to change, Electoral Reform and Institutional design, Political representation of women and minorities and Political parties financing and corruption. The Institute will select six to eight abstracts to serve as the focal points of the conference. NDI will invite working group members, international and domestic partners, and implementing partners to contribute expertise, resources, and discussion papers, if appropriate.
The conference will take place in Belgrade on March 22, with a focus on examining the changes and implications of the laws that are currently under consideration by the National Assembly, as well as providing recommendations for the legislation that has been passed to date. NDI will engage electoral systems experts to produce a comprehensive conference report. The report will contain the discussion papers presented, as well as a set of reform recommendations for changes to the electoral law.
Since 2006, NDI focused on strengthening internal party structures; promoting the development of small, regional, and minority parties; fostering improved transparency, oversight and representational capacity of legislative institutions; supporting reform-minded political leaders; and encouraging greater participation of women, youth, and minorities in the political process.