Liability for breach of electoral legislation discussed
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) --
A videoconference workshop organized on 21 October at the Republican Press Center for the coverage of presidential elections in Uzbekistan served to deliberate on issues of liability for violation of electoral legislation.
The event was initiated by the Central Election Commission together with the Ministry of Justice. It was attended by members of the Central and district election commissions, representatives of political parties participating in the elections, the Ministry of Justice, legal scholars and practitioners, as well as media professionals.
In the years of independence, within the framework of the liberalization and modernization of all spheres of government and society, a modern electoral system has been established in Uzbekistan that meets democratic requirements. A normative base has been created to guarantee the free expression of citizens’ will in accordance with universally accepted international principles, the right of every citizen to vote and be elected to government bodies. The legal mechanisms to ensure openness and transparency of the electoral process have been improved and perfected.
The adoption of the Law on the Introduction of Amendments and Addenda to Certain Articles of the Constitution (Articles 32, 78, 93, 98, 103 and 117) in 2014 constituted a logical extension of the ongoing process of democratic renewal and modernization. Building on the changes made to the Constitution, the parliament of the country introduced corresponding amendments to a number of laws with an eye to improve them.
In particular, the Administrative Liability Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan has been filled with a new chapter V1 “Administrative liability for violations in the sphere of organization and holding of elections and referenda” that consists of eight articles.
Clear definition of responsibility for offenses related to non-compliance with the electoral law contributes to a more complete implementation of the principle of freedom of choice, the further democratization of the national electoral system, consolidation of the principles of openness and transparency.
In accordance with the Administrative Liability Code, what serves as a ground for prosecution are actions such as violation of the rights of presidential nominee, trustee, observer, breach of the terms and procedures for electoral campaigning. Dealings related to the publication of false information about a candidate or a political party, to influence the election results, also entail the application of administrative sanctions.
In accordance with the legislation on elections, electoral commissions are independent of public authorities, social associations, political parties and officials. Autonomy in the work of election commissions is rather important for the organization of elections based on the principles of legality, fairness and equal opportunities to all participants. Failure to comply with these principles in practice can cause serious damage to the democratic nature of the elections.
Failure of officials to execute decisions of election commissions adopted within their powers implies with administrative responsibility. In order to prevent violations in the organization and conduct of elections, the Central Election Commission adopted on 7 October 2016 the Guidelines for the conduct of administrative proceedings in respect of offenses in the area of organization and holding of elections and referenda.
In accordance with them, in case of revelation of administrative violations a protocol may be drafted by members of the CEC and relevant district election commissions. What can serve as basis for the protocol are statements by observers of political parties participating in the elections, authorized representatives and agents of candidates, appeals of precinct election commissions, reports of citizens, enterprises, institutions, organizations, social associations and officials as well as the media.
It should be noted that the right to elect and be elected is one of the most critical political rights of citizens. It is protected by the criminal law.
The workshop participants noted that the establishment of liability for violation of the electoral law promotes the full realization of the principle of freedom of choice, the further democratization of the electoral system of the country, consolidation of the principles of openness and transparency of elections.