Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union

Query

Can you provide information on the composition of electoral commissions?

Content

1. Overview of election management bodies

2. Composition of election management bodies

3. References

4. Annex: Map of the composition of election management bodies

Summary

An election management body is the body legally responsible for managing elections and other instruments of direct democracy. Election management bodies may be institutions which are fully independent from the executive government and composed of experts and/or partisan members, or governmental institutions which are part of the executive (for example Ministry of Interior). In the latter case, the bodies will not have members as the tasks are often carried by staff of the executive branch. Election management bodies can also be a combination of the two systems. Most countries have opted for the independent model of election management bodies. The composition of these bodies, however, varies to a great extent. Some countries have opted for an expert-based body, where members are appointed on the basis of their professional qualifications rather than political affiliation. Countries which have passed through a difficult transition to democracy tend to have multiparty-based election management bodies (for example Slovakia), or combined systems where bodies are formed by both members of political parties and experts, which is the case in Lithuania and many other Eastern European countries, such as Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The integrity and impartiality of these bodies does not rely heavily on the composition of the body, but rather on how procedures are set and decisions are made. Irrespective of the model adopted, it is essential that electoral management bodies function according to the principles of transparency, accountability, professionalism and efficiency.

Authors

Maíra Martini, Transparency International, tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Date

11/02/2013

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