№ 2, 2018
The article focuses on the specifics of the origin and stages of development of the institution of electoral commissions as the most common bodies of electoral management.
The author critically analyzes the range of the meanings of the term “electoral commission” and formulates his own definition — independent collegial bodies responsible for holding elections. Such a definition allows him to capture the essential characteristics of an institution, as well as to clarify the spatial and chronological boundaries of its origin. On the basis of the set of historical sources published in recent years, he shows that the first central electoral commissions appeared in the last quarter of the 19th century (in Colombia and Peru), which is more than half a century earlier of what the conventional wisdom holds.
Electoral commissions have long been associated primarily with the developing countries. However, since the end of the 20th century they began to spread rapidly in the developed democracies. Today, this institution is in high demand in the countries with very different political regimes and levels of centralization of the electoral management. According to the author’s conclusion, the potential of electoral commissions is far from exhausted. It is highly plausible that the institution of independent collegial bodies of electoral management, while retaining its basic features, will continue to evolve, and its certain modifications will play an important role in the electoral management system.
№ 4, 2016
The article presents the results of a comprehensive analysis of a referendum as an institution for decision-making in organizing an electoral system. The empirical analysis of data on 105 electoral referendums held in 1866–2015 in 33 countries reveals that such referendum does not always deserve being called an institution of direct democracy. The format and method of conducting a referendum often makes it an instrument of external legitimization of a decision that has already been made or manipulation of the political process. Nevertheless, the accumulated experience makes it possible to identify specific conditions, under which electoral referendum can serve as an effective institution of public participation in managing elections. An adequate wording of the question that is put to a vote and an active role of the public in organizing a referendum are the two most important conditions.
Main Page ~ Authors ~ Grishin Nikolai