Electoral Integrity in Central Europe: an Insight Into the Electoral Rules and Reality
This dissertation addresses the topic of electoral integrity in three Central European countries, namely Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary in a period from 1998 to the 2014 parliamentary elections. The main goal of the dissertation is to provide a complex analysis of electoral integrity and its evolution in the countries considered to be consolidated democracies after the democratic transition. The secondary goal is a validation of some other available datasets providing data on the quality of elections. The study focuses on the quality of elections, their problems, differences between the quality of elections on the level of the rules and in practice, longitudinal differences, differences in quality of elections between the countries, and finally differences of the findings from other measurements of the phenomenon. The analysis is based on Sarah Birch’s ‘policy accountability’ model of democracy. Observations are made separately on the level of electoral rules (meta-game) and electoral practice (game). A wide spectrum of various data sources is systematically utilized to describe the quality of elections, as complex as possible. The data are processed by qualitative content analysis, and by bivariate statistics in the validation part. Results present a high quality of elections and their positive evolution in cases of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Hungarian elections evinced a relatively high, stable quality until 2010. Nevertheless, we can observe in a given period the relatively standard, in democratic regimes, common issues of both lower and higher significance, but also cases of quite serious problems which are unexpected in democracy. The study further reveals quite essential association between the quality of electoral framework and behaviour of electoral actors in practice. While a high quality of electoral rules is connected with an even higher quality of elections in practice, a low quality of legal framework is reflected in an even lower quality of elections in practice, as the Hungarian 2014 election illustrates. The findings in this dissertation indicate adequate external validity which further supports relevancy of other available quantitative datasets dealing with the quality of elections.
This text focuses on the integrity of elections to the lower chamber of the Parliament of the Czech Republic between 1998 and 2013. Its descriptive nature allows the following two main questions to be answered: What are the problems associated with Czech parliamentary elections? Can we identify any trend in the quality of these elections? The analysis employs a framework based on a “policy accountability” model of democracy previously used by Sarah Birch (2011). The analysis is based on various kinds of sources, mainly international observers’reports, laws, secondary analyses, and local news. The overall assessment of the quality of the analyzed elections is quite positive: Between 1998 and 2006 the quality of elections improved, and while it slightly deteriorated in 2010, it quickly returned back to the 2006 levels. The ability to provide equal information and the effective adjudication of disputes are identified as the most problematic aspects. Other parts of the electoral process are well-managed, with only negligible problems on the levels of electoral rules and electoral practice. The overall results differ little from the outcomes of available quantitative studies; however, they offer a deeper insight into the actual realization of demoratic electoral standards.
The goal of this study is to examine the behaviour of electoral stakeholders that has influenced the quality of parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic since the 1998 elections. The text attempts to answer these questions: ‘What kinds of strategies do political actors use in electoral processes that decrease the quality of elections?’ ‘Do these tactics vary over time?’ ‘Are they efficient?’ ‘Who are the actors?’ The Czech Republic, as a newly established democracy, features comparably very high electoral integrity, while neighbouring countries experience (from time to time) electoral problems. This work aims to describe the behaviour of electoral stakeholders in order to understand whether they behave in a manner which maintains a high level of electoral integrity. The framework for analysis is constructed on the background of Andreas Schedler’s work (2002; 2013) with respect to influencing the level of institutional rules or the game within those rules. The analysis consists of different kinds of data sources. Among these, election observation mission reports, parties’ strategic documents (party manifestos), secondary analyses (providing the explanation of behaviour), and news (offering information about behaviour on a daily basis) are most important. The results will provide a description of primary electoral stakeholder behaviour, which then allows us to better understand how they affect electoral integrity.
People in some countries are allowed to have more than one citizenship. This allows them to vote in elections in more countries. My immediate reaction to this is that it increases inclusivity which is good. However, even more I think about this from let's say "global citizen's" perspective this seems to me somehow unfair in the sense of unequal vote (some people can influence the politics in more countries than others). I think it's pretty tricky question because it has as pros as cons for integrity of elections. What is your idea about this?