On 19 February 2021, ECES Co-Founder and Executive Director Fabio Bargiacchi was invited to participate in the 2nd Expert Working Group (EWG) session organised by International IDEA on ‘The political dimension of Electoral Work’. 

This Expert Working Group explored where and if there is a community of practice consensus on the political dimensions of electoral assistance work. In particular, the discussion questions for this EWG #2 session were: 

  • What electoral assistance ‘works’ in difficult democratic environments? While EA design to build or consolidate electoral processes and institutions is well established, what does EA that helps stakeholders ‘protect’ their electoral institutions look like? 
  • If the political will is lacking -what incentives work in favour of condition for credible elections? What incentives keep potential ‘spoilers’ inside the tent; that is, in your experience, what constitutes the case that what they have to gain is greater than what they stand to lose? Where does ‘public demand’ fit into this equation? What does the necessary political analysis and diagnosis work look like in practice? 
  • Where does technical support fit in the broader context of pressure to meet international obligations? Is there an optimal division of roles and responsibilities in the international community to affect positive democratic change or avert electoral breakdown? What part do diplomats play – what it is that the good ones do when they do this work well? 
  • What role could the Swedish Government play to promote and advocate pro-democracy work in difficult times / places?

Since the beginning of February, International IDEA has organised a consultative process to compile actionable recommendations for the Swedish Government (among others) on their future engagement in electoral assistance. The Expert Working Groups (EWG) are organized as conversations to move from ‘identified problems’ to potential solutions. Each session is designed to tackle a cluster of sensitive issues repeatedly identified in the survey and interview phases.

This event is part of four Expert Working Group sessions: 
EWG #1 - Supporting Elections for the Long Haul: What works, where next? (Feb 15)
EWG #2 - The Political Dimension of Electoral Work. (Feb 19)
EWG #3 - Polling 2030: Investments needed now to support elections of the future. (Feb 22)
EWG #4 - Design, Reform and Renewal: How to support locally owned electoral change processes. (Feb 24) 

ECES is proud to give its contribution and put its expertise at the service of international community to the crucial debate on democracy support and electoral assistance!