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   Course Title    Electoral Law
Lecturer    Gulnara T. Iskakova
Institution    American University of Kyrgyzstan
Country    Kyrgyzstan


Course Description

Elections are an essential element of Democracy. It is the results of elections that determines who will govern in the country and how. This course provides students with knowledge of presidential, parliamentary and local electionsí organizing and conducting. Such important components of elections as electoral systems and their types, elections timing and cycles, electoral bodies, ballot access and nomination procedure, campaign and finance, responsibility for violations of citizensí electoral rights will be considered.

Course Requirements

Grades will be based on three short written tests. These exercises will enable the instructor to judge how well students comprehend the material. They are also intended to induce preferences for regular class attendance. Each exam will build on material covered throughout the course, but emphasis will be placed on material covered since the previous exam.

The final exam will be cumulative with a focus on the last sections of the class. It will consist of some short answer questions and a research paper.

Students are also responsible for additional readings. Required readings are in Russian and English. Some of the materials are available in the National Library and students will be provided by the instructor with Western sources in English.

Each class member will make one presentation to the seminar, based on her \ his assigned readings for the relevant week. The aim of the presentation (10 minutes) is to provide an entry for further class discussion, so please make sure to prepare a well structured argument open to debate.

The major assignment is the research paper . We will specify a common topic of research, so as to produce a well focused set of papers, which embraces almost all course. The paper should be about 12-15 pages in length. The use of primary sources, either in the original language or through translation should be part of your research. The topic for the paper must be cleared with the instructor (30% of the final grade). No incomplete work will be granted.

Topics and reading assignments:

1. Introduction. Democratic elections.

  • Democracy and elections;

  • Elections as a legal issue;

  • Principles of elections;

  • Levels and types of elections.

READING:

(CEU) Rod Hague, Martin Harrop & Shaun Breslin, (1998) Comparative Government and Politics. An Introduction. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London), P.20-36, 96-100.

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.1-48.

(CEU) Georg Sorensen, (1998) Democracy and Democratization. Processes and Prospects in a Changing World. (Westview Press, Colorado, Oxford, P.3-63, 121-138.

(CEU) Gary W. Cox, (1997) Making Votes Count. Strategic Coordination in the World. s Electoral Systems. (Cambridge University Press, P.3-33.

(CEU) Kommers, Political representation and Democracy, P.170-247.

 

2. Electoral Law.

  • Notion and content of electoral law;

  • Development of Kyrgyzstan's electoral legislation;

  • Parliamentary elections of 1990, 1995 and 2000 in Kyrgyzstan;

  • Presidential elections of 1990, 1991, 1995 and 2000 in Kyrgyzstan. Referendum of 1994 on confidence in the President;

  • Elections to the local representative bodies.

READING:

(CEU) Rod Hague, Martin Harrop & Shaun Breslin, (1998) Comparative Government and Politics. An Introduction. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London), P.151-155.

 

3. Citizens participation and their electoral rights.

  • Notion and content of election observers status;

  • Active and passive electoral rights;

  • Electoral qualifications;

  • Impact of individual and country differences on citizens' participation;

  • Other types of political participation;

  • Subjects (participants) of election processes.

READING:

(CEU) Rod Hague, Martin Harrop & Shaun Breslin, (1998) Comparative Government and Politics. An Introduction. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London), P.80-95.

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.216-35.

(CEU) Gary W. Cox, (1997) Making Votes Count. Strategic Coordination in the World. s Electoral Systems. (Cambridge University Press, P.37-149.

 

4. Electoral procedure.

  • Notion;

  • Timing of elections;

  • Voters registration;

  • Candidates nomination;

  • Pre-election campaign;

  • Elections financing: legal regulation;

  • Voting, ballot;

  • Votes counting and defining results;

  • Elections fairness and legality guarantee;

  • Responsibility for violations of electoral rights.

READING:

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.236-53.

 

5. Election campaign: strategy and tactics.

  • Factors affecting campaign strategies;

  • Candidate-centered versus party-centered campaigning;

  • The professionalization of election campaign;

  • The role of Mass Media in election campaign;

  • Political consultants and specialized agencies;

  • Do campaigns matter?

READING:

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.160-83.

(CEU) Gary W. Cox, (1997) Making Votes Count. Strategic Coordination in the World. s Electoral Systems. (Cambridge University Press, P.151-79.

 

6. Electoral systems.

  • Diversity of electoral systems;

  • Design criteria;

  • Majority systems;

  • Plurality systems;

  • Single nontransferable vote system;

  • Parallel systems;

  • Proportional representation: List PR; Mixed member PR; Single transferable vote;

  • The threshold;

  • Apparentement;

  • Open, closed and free lists;

  • District magnitude;

  • Political consequences of electoral systems: psychological effect; mechanical effect.

READING:

(CEU) Giovanni Sartori, (1997), Comparative Constitutional Engineering. An Inquiry into Structures, Incentives and Outcomes, Second Edition. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London). P.3-83.

(CEU) Rod Hague, Martin Harrop & Shaun Breslin, (1998) Comparative Government and Politics. An Introduction. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London), P.100-8.

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.49-82.

(1997) The International IDEA Handbook of Electoral system Design. (International IDEA, Stockholm, Sweden), P.7-94, 121-37.

(CEU) Lijphart, (1994) Electoral Systems and Party Systems: A Study of Twenty Seven Democracies, 1945-1990. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

7. Referendum.

  • Notion and the social role;

  • The right to participate in a referendum;

  • Subject matter;

  • Initiative and call for referendum;

  • Organization of referendum;

  • Referendum's formula;

  • Defining the results;

  • Legal consequences of referendum.

READING:

(CEU) Rod Hague, Martin Harrop & Shaun Breslin, (1998) Comparative Government and Politics. An Introduction. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London), P.108-9.

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.13-15.

8. International electoral standards.

  • Norms formation in international law;

  • Main sources of international electoral standards;

  • International standards of free, fair, genuine, and periodical elections.

READING:

Guy S. Goodwin-Gill (1994) Free and Fair Elections: International Law and Practice. Inter-Parliamentary Union. (Geneva).

 

9. Political parties and party systems.

  • Notion and essence of political parties, their role and place in society;

  • Social political classification of political parties;

  • Organizational classification of political parties;

  • Political parties institutionalization and their constitutional legal status;

  • Party systems and electoral outcomes.

READING:

(CEU) Rod Hague, Martin Harrop & Shaun Breslin, (1998) Comparative Government and Politics. An Introduction. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London), P.131-147.

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.83-106, 319-42.

(CEU) Gary W. Cox, (1997) Making Votes Count. Strategic Coordination in the World. s Electoral Systems. (Cambridge University Press, P.181-278.

 

10. Party organizations and finance.

  • Elements of party organization;

  • Elite and mass parties; catch-all and cartel parties;

  • Party candidates and campaign finance;

  • Expenditure controls; control of contributions; financial reporting;

  • Subsidies and the public finance of campaigns.

READING:

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.107-133, 299-318.

(1997) The International IDEA Handbook of Electoral system Design. (International IDEA, Stockholm, Sweden), P.115-120.

 

11. Interest groups and social movements.

  • Defining groups;

  • Social movements;

  • Expression of group interests;

  • Models of group activity;

  • Transitional systems.

READING:

(CEU) Rod Hague, Martin Harrop & Shaun Breslin, (1998) Comparative Government and Politics. An Introduction. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London), P.113-30.

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.134-159.

Jeffrey M. Berry, (1997),The Interest Group Society/ Third Edition. (LONGMAN, USA).

 

12. Presidential, parliamentary and local elections.

  • Presidential elections;

  • The class, gender, and age bias of legislative elites;

  • Legal and political basis of legislative recruitment;

  • Parliamentary elections;

  • Electing local government;

  • Recruitment structures and process.

READING:

(CEU) Rod Hague, Martin Harrop & Shaun Breslin, (1998) Comparative Government and Politics. An Introduction. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London), P.184-201, 221-3.

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.184-215.

(1997) The International IDEA Handbook of Electoral system Design. (International IDEA, Stockholm, Sweden), P.97-113.

Matthew Soberg Shugart, John M.Carey, (1992) Presidents and Assemblies. Constitutional design and Electoral Dynamics. (Cambridge University Press).

(1998) Democracy and Deep-Rooted Conflict: Options for Negotiators. (International IDEA, Stockholm).

 

13. The Media and its role and interests in elections.

  • Notion and social role of the Media;

  • Constitutional and legal regulation of Media;

  • Media and elections;

  • Antitrust legislation in broadcasting;

  • Mass Media legislation violations and responsibility;

  • Public opinion survey.

READING:

(CEU) Rod Hague, Martin Harrop & Shaun Breslin, (1998) Comparative Government and Politics. An Introduction. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London), P.74-78.

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.254-79.

 

14. Leaders.

  • Institutional context of leadership effects;

  • Party leaders and parliamentary elections

READING:

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.280-298.

 

15. Elections and democratic governance.

  • Who governs?;

  • Electoral agendas and policy mandates;

  • Political parties and public policy;

  • The election/ policy cycle;

  • Short-term and long-term consequences

READING:

(CEU) Giovanni Sartori, (1997), Comparative Constitutional Engineering. An Inquiry into Structures, Incentives and Outcomes, Second Edition. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London). P.83-203.

(CEU) Rod Hague, Martin Harrop & Shaun Breslin, (1998) Comparative Government and Politics. An Introduction. (MACMILLAN PRESS LTD, London), P.202-218.

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G.Niemi, Pippa Norris (editors), (1996) Comparing Democracies. Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. (SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi), P.343-64.



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