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Changes to electoral law need substantial improvements to align with international democratic standards

(April 28, 2020)


In ODIHR’s assessment, the Draft Act requires substantial improvements to be aligned with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections. Implementation of the Draft Act within the timeframe envisaged for holding the election on 10 May 2020 would require adoption of more detailed procedural guidelines, may place an unreasonable burden on the implementing bodies and jeopardize important principles of democratic elections. ODIHR makes the following key recommendations:

– to ensure that amendments to electoral legal framework are adopted through a public and inclusive process that respects the principles of legality and the rule of law, allows for a meaningful discussion and facilitates consensus of the key stakeholders;

– to adopt amendments to electoral legal framework well in advance of the election to preserve legal certainty and to allow sufficient time for administrative preparations and voter education;

– to reconsider the provision allowing the Marshal of the Sejm to change the election date;

– to retain with the National Election Commission the competencies assigned by the Draft Act to the Minister of State Assets;

– to clearly provide for observation of activities of municipal Precinct Electoral Commissions by proxies and citizen observers and to consider providing them with personal protection equipment;

These and additional recommendations, as highlighted in bold, are included throughout the text of this opinion.

This opinion was established on the request of Dr. Adam Bodnar, Commissioner for Human Rights of Poland, to provide a legal opinion on the Draft Act of 6 April 2020 on special rules for conducting the general election of the President of the Republic of Poland ordered in 2020.

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