Democracy for Development institute has launched the paper “Elections in the time of pandemic: Management versus Consequences”. The purpose of this paper is to offer a reflection of COVID-19 pandemic impact in holding elections, including the risk of spreading the virus. Aside the inclusion of statistical data on increased cases of infected people with the virus as a result of electoral campaign, the paper also includes a comparison between regional countries that held elections in 2020.
In the launching conference of the paper, Vice Ambassador of Great Britain to Kosovo, Mr. Jacob Webber, in his opening remarks emphasized that holding the elections during the pandemic has been a big challenge not only for Kosovo but for the whole world. Free and fair elections are always indicators of democracy development, especially when they are held during a pandemic situation, like the one now with COVID-19. He also emphasized that unfortunately the behavior of political subjects, candidates and citizens during the elections in Kosovo, although with anti-COVID19 measures in place, has caused an increase in cases with infected people.
Considering the current situation with COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty when it will end, and that a similar situation could be present for local elections this year, D4D institute through this paper recommends:
- The establishment of a Task Force for organization and management of elections in times of COVID-19 pandemic, which would include various experts in the drafting of the action plan, monitoring and its implementation.
- The preparing a strategic/guidance plan for organizing and holding elections in times of COVID-19 pandemic.
- To take precautions for organizing electoral campaigns and electoral gatherings (by moving the campaign online and allowing the gatherings in small number of maximum 5 people, while respecting the prevention measures – masks and social distancing).
- The institutions that signed the Memorandum of Cooperation to continue an even closer cooperation not only during the day of the elections but also during the electoral campaign and other preparatory phases.
- Political subjects to reflect on how the campaign was developed and negative impact that it has had in increasing the positive cases with COVID-19.
- To decrease the number of accredited observers, especially from political subjects.
- To ensure an extra space or to reduce the number of employees and observers in the Center for Counting and Results.
- To prolong the voting period till 9:00pm.
- To increase the number of polling centers by CEC.