- سوديكو، شارع بترو طراد، بناية سوديكو 7 - بيروت ، لبنان
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ANDE (Arab Network for Democratic Elections) in Context
The wave of political activism that started in southern Tunisia in December 2010 has now reached almost all parts of the Arab world, in an aim to create a democratic structure in those countries. The Arab Spring reaffirmed the importance of democratic representation and the need for opportunity, access and freedom.
However the fate of these popular uprisings remains in the balance; because such transformation takes a long time, and is susceptible to reversal, even in consolidated democracies. In this case Egypt and Tunisia will be crucial test-cases for democratization; the more successful they are in creating effective democratic systems, the greater the chance for movements elsewhere in the region to succeed in inducing democratic transformation. Elections are a common feature of historic transitions in motion throughout the Middle East and North Africa. From Tunisia to Egypt, Libya to Yemen, millions of people who rallied in the streets to demand change have earned the opportunity to freely choose their leaders at the ballot box.
Electoral participation is considered an essential part of the democratic process, free and fair elections are necessary conditions, but are unlikely to be sufficient for a full and consolidated democracy, if not accompanied by transparent and at least minimally effective government, sufficient political participation and a supportive political culture.
Therefore it is important to maximize opportunities to promote constitutional and legal reform and help democratic processes work better. Making democracy work requires informed and active citizens who understand how to voice their interests, act collectively and hold public officials accountable. Especially that the changed occurred rapidly and the transition period before the first elections was very short so the debate on electoral reform in each of these countries was side-lined by the perceived urgency to insure elections quickly to safeguard the change that occurred.
The Arab Network for Democratic Elections (ANDE) has been established on the wake of the Arab spring and has set sail to contribute to addressing the challenges of democratic elections in the Arab region in an effort aimed at ensuring a successful democratic transformation in Arab countries.
The Arab Network for Democratic Elections (ANDE) birth is older dating to 2009 as an “Arab Group” for international election observation with a launch in Lebanon.
Vision, Mission, Mandate, Long Term Goals & Strategic Directions
Vision: Towards states and societies that adopt the principles of democracy and human rights values with accountable constitutional and political institutions that gain people’s trust in creating an enabling environment for democratic (free fair and transparent) elections that comply with international standards.
Mission: To enhance democratic values for building active and productive democratic civil societies in the Arab region that influence public policies whereby the dignity and political and civil rights of individuals are respected within the rule of law and whereby peace, security and stability reign.
Mandate: To promote elections culture and the adoption of legal and legislative mechanisms that enable the holding of free and fair democratic and regular elections (parliamentary, local, unions, students, civil society organizations) and to enhance and empower civil society to organize the monitoring and accompanying of these elections in compliance with the international charter of human rights and in respect of the freedom
The Core Values
Solidarity: Enhancement of solidarity mechanisms among CSOs, especially those that are subjected to violations of their rights and violations of laws and best practices.
Independence: That is based on the capacity of civil society to make choices and develop relevant program that are based on priorities and building the capacities of the targeted communities thus, ensuring independence from the government, political parties and the market.
Diversity: Ensuring the multiple roles of civil society (capacity development, awareness raising, participation in public policies and legislation. Special attention is given to:
- Gender balance that aims at developing the role and participation of women based upon human rights and against any form of discrimination;
- Respect of the rights of minorities.
- Respect of the rights of the persons with special needs and ensuring their independent and effective participation;
- Ensure the full and effective participation of youth.
Participation: That is based on the International References on human rights especially, political and civil rights and the participation in the planning, implementation and evaluation of free and fair elections as per the international standards.
Democracy: The relationship between civil society and governmental bodies will be based on democracy and rule of law that enable civil society achieve its goals in a society that respect the right for association and that protect its independence. As well as, that guarantee regular free and fair elections that enhance people’s power and their capacity to hold the government accountable and to ensure the legitimacy of elections. Furthermore, to stress on the adoption of democratic practices within CSOs and among them.
Long Term Goals
- Enhancing political and civic participation:
- Develop civil societies’ performance towards creating an enabling environment for ensuring the freedom of association, expression and election.
- Organizing advocacy campaigns on political participation.
- Enhancing the role of civil society:
- Building civil society through cooperation and setting common goals, clear vision, electoral mechanism and appropriate electoral processes
- Assuring common features among members and their partners and developing common concepts about democratic elections
- Developing a comprehensive vision about the role of civil society
- Creating an enabling environment for the work and role of civil society
- Reducing competition between organizations and enhance coordination and team work
- Providing better management for human and financial resources
- Enhancing the democracy of elections:
- Developing legislative and legal infrastructures that will allow free, fair and democratic elections
- Organizing monitoring operation for elections in a professional way and according to universal standards and behaviours
- Circulating electoral culture at various levels
- Developing capacities and potentials and developing training mechanisms
- Enhancing solidarity and networking
- Developing joint action against political challenges
- Solidarity and cooperation against challenges between members and non-members
- Reporting to the international bodies in coordination with members and local partners
- Finally, the current strategic directions of ANDE are:
- Pooling of resources in the region.
- Increasing the number of Elections monitored.
- Inducing and pioneering reform of electoral laws in the Arab region.
- Developing the capacities of CSOs and other local stakeholders and building awareness among the populations on democratic elections.
- Enhancing ANDE’s internal governance and structure.
Strategy &Action Plan for 2015 – 2017
ANDE having succeeded in its transformation from an Arab Group for Election Monitoring to a fully-fledged institutionalized Network and having already a substantial number of interventions/missions in various Arab States, is now ready to implement a more pro-active, systematic and thorough plan for the coming three years (2015-2017). The strategic plan of ANDE is a generalized presence in the Arab world and a pivotal role. Hence, the aim is to systematically be present in all general Arab Elections (exceptions may occur because of financial, security, freedom-related issues & time constraints); not to limit the network’s activities to monitoring but to equally emphasis on electoral reform as an immediate necessity; to couple the observation/electoral reform missions with a more sustainable impact through ANDE technical assistance program aimed at local NGOs (ANDE members, candidate members or others) and the national electoral management bodies; and lastly, to build an e-portal that would help us in its work (as well as others) by collecting all the necessary intellectual resources about elections in the Arab World. Of course, ANDE activities will be expanded and will not neglect the need for internal organization and growth, ANDE will strive to add new members based on the agreed upon membership criteria and ANDE will hire staff according to the needs generated by the previously mentioned expanded activities.
So the strategy can be summed up in a programmatic plan that has four sub-sections, which are the following:
- Observation: To monitor all general elections & referendums in the Arab World, during the calendar years of 2015-2017 with the exception of those elections that do not permit foreign observation or are non-inclusive and/or largely boycotted. The type of election monitoring would a full-fledged monitoring mission that would break down into an expertise first mission with the aim at accessing the legislative framework of the Election followed by a mission of long-term observers that would pave the way for the third mission, which will monitor the E-Day, and finally the writing and issuing of the final report. Various factors (time-constraints, security issues…) may hinder the full implementation of an observation mission, so the mission can be trickled down to assessment/E-day monitoring/final report or even assessment/ final recommendations.
- Reform: To support and enhance electoral reform processes in the Arab countries, throughmainstreaming election reform in all observation missions so in the countries which ANDE will have an observation mission ANDE will use the expertise assessment of the legal framework as well as the final reports recommendations to jointly organize with ANDE local section an advocacy campaign on electoral reform. But ANDE will also target a number of countries that will not have an election during the calendar years (2015-2017) to jointly (with its local branch or partner) organize an action plan for advocacy on electoral reform after having sent a mission of experts to access the legislative framework for elections in those countries.
- Capacity Building: To fully utilize the expertise that ANDE has on the human resources side. ANDE is a provider of technical expertise inward to raise the capacities of those of its members, old & new, in need and outward to non-members NGOs that could potentially join and to independent electoral management bodies or Ministries of interiors (of course in the latter case if they would be willing and if it would not hinder other activities). By election expertise it’s meant the following: a)training on election monitoring (LTO & STO), b)training on recruitment and mobilization, c)training on election monitoring finance, d)training on procurement, e)training on deployment of observers, f)training on communication with national media, g)training on writing final report, h)training on international election standards, i)training on advocacy for electoral reform, j)training on media monitoring, k)training on election campaign spending, l)training on criteria for the previous two andm)training on how to organize a voting centre.
- Research and studies: To produce all the necessary literature for the above mentioned activities and to publish them; curriculum for the various training, text books for the observation, text books for electoral reforms, assessment studies, comparative studies and final reports. To collect all these published materials as well as other references to make them the content of an Arab Election E-Portal thus making the resources accessible to the various stakeholders in the Arab World.
ANDE will be hiring capable staff that will be able to facilitate and coordinate the realisation of the above mentioned strategic activities:
- Reform (Electoral)
- Capacity development
- Research & Studies
Apart from the various staffs, experts/trainers needed for the previous missions there will be more permanent staff: An executive coordinator for ANDE to implement under the directions of ANDE’s board ANDE’s action plan, to adapt to the increase of foreseen activities and to increase efficiency by hiring full-time coordinator for ANDE activities, thus having a dedicated personnel just for ANDE’s activities, a communication officer that will on one hand increase the communication and flow of information within the Network and on the other hand increase the regional visibility and impact of ANDE final reports, and of course a financial officer to handle ANDE’s finances.
The calendar of activities of ANDE: Missions
Breakdown of the missions
|Total of missions||12||14||14|
Context of Missions
ANDE will field 14 missions, which will target 14 Arab Countries, while the type of missions will consist of 12 missions of Election observation, 14 missions of Electoral reform and14 potential missions of capacity building/technical assistance. The reasons for the difference in numbers are the following:
- The rest of the Arab Countries where they have fraudulent general elections or no elections at all ( Qatar, UAE, Oman and Syria)
- In Lebanon the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) one of the leading members of ANDE and presently the host organisation and temporary functioning as the secretariat is well underway in its Election Reform Campaign and does not require aid from ANDE. So rather than a mission of electoral reform LADE and ANDE will organize a regional seminar with the participation of experts from different countries to exchange on certain fields like on the independent electoral commission, women’s quota and the PR system.
- The first mission to Yemen will be on the referendum which does not require legislative reform, thus the mission is solely one of observation.
- Iraq (federal Elections), Egypt, Bahrain and Tunisia would have their elections in 2014 and would not have their next scheduled elections within the calendar years of ANDE action plan/ program, thus ANDE’s mission in these three countries will be limited to electoral reform.
- The remaining missions will be joint missions (election observation & electoral reform) the only differences will be to what extentthey would need in parallel technical assistance: for example Morocco, Iraq & maybe Egypt may not need help in training their observers while the others may do. Some countries may require some assistance in their operations; others may require expertise in nearly all levels of their operation.
Previous experience in the targeted countries
|Country||Previous missions(ANDE or the Arab Group)||Previous missions(by experts of ANDE)||Local Membership|
The calendar of activities of ANDE: central activities
|General assembly of ANDECA1||2016|
|ANDE Board meeting (4 times)CA2||2015 & 2017|
|Coordinator of activities & secretarial costsCA3||2015-2017 (on-going)|
|Financial managementCA4||2015-2017 (on-going)|
|Communication coordinatorCA5||2015-2017 (on-going)|
|Portal Design & content & coordinationCA6||2015-2017 (on-going)|
Context of central activities
All of the central activities will be held in Beirut, Lebanon where the ANDE secretariat will be hosted hence the staff positions.
Previous General assemblies have been held in Beirut and it is easier to set up when there is a staffed office in the City/country.
List of Detailed activities
The ANDE activities are divided into four categories:
- Field activity/ election observation: as stated above and in the table ANDE should have a maximum of 12 missions of observation, composed of an assessment, long-term observation and short term observation (if legally permitted and if financial resources and security & time constraints permit). In these missions ANDE is totally independent in its operation and final reporting.
- Field activity/electoral reform: ANDE should have a maximum of 15 missions on electoral reform, composed of a printed expertise/ full assessment as well as a central seminar in the targeted country. In these missions ANDE is independent but cooperate closely with local partners.
- Field activity/capacity building and technical support: ANDE can have potentially 14 missions but they are dependent on the requests of local NGOs/CSOs and electoral management bodies & institutions on one hand and based on ANDE assessment of the technical needs (with time & financial constraints taken into consideration). Working with the NGO/CSO side is, as a general rule, easier than with the EMB or MoI side. These mission requires an assessment of needs first then as a next step will be determined what trainings could be offered and thus what materials should be prepared or re-tailored on one hand and what kind of experts and how many on the other hand.
- Central activities: the various administrative and managerial activities, which requires staff, to prepare for and to follow-up all the previous missions. But ANDE should also add an essential component which is research and publishing. ANDE needs a unified training curriculum and various educational materials, assessment studies, national reports, comparative regional reports, etc. All these activities require expertise. Parallel to that as a kind of expertise transfer and internal capacity building, ANDE needs regional seminars and workshops on the following issues:
A) Assessment and evaluation
- B) Training and capacity development
- C) Electoral reform & its advocacy
 LADE is currently hosting ANDE’s staff and managing ANDE’s finances on behalf of ANDE and as its secretariat, the relationship between LADE and ANDE is currently regulated by an MoU between the 2 entities that will last until the official registration of ANDE in Beirut. Yet if ANDE was able to fundraise for its upcoming activities a financial officer dedicated for ANDE will be needed.
 The parliament is in the process of extending its mandate so the exact date of the next election is not set
 The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) in coordination with ANDE will be organizing a regional seminar to exchange experiences.
 In SA there are municipal elections and since they are the only elections in the country ANDE will attempt to observe as a stand – in for a “general election”
Referendum observation mission only.
Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.
 No Elections in 2015-2017.
 No Elections in 2015-2017.
 No Elections in 2015-2017.
 No Elections in 2015-2017.
 No date set yet.
 Experts, mission coordinators, capacity builders and writers of manuals are all positions to be filled as needed per mission.