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October 28, 2020

AEP’s Barbu: A-WEB’s fundamental project is to transform the association into an intergovernmental organisation

Chairman of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) Daniel Barbu on Friday said that the fundamental project of A-WEB is to transform itself into an inter-governmental organisation that will promote democracy through free, correct and transparent elections.

“Right now, the fundamental project of the Association of World Election Bodies is to transform itself into an international inter-governmental organisation, so that the states may able to associate in order to promote democracy. There is still no organisation of this kind that would have as a sole objective – certainly, there are secondary objectives, including at the United Nations – but there is no international organisation that would have the goal of promoting democracy through free, correct and transparent elections. The project for the next two years, undoubtedly is the following: offer a much more visibility and international weight to the organisation,” Barbu told a news conference on the occasion of an international conference organised at the Romanian Parliament House by the A-WEB and the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP).

On the other hand, Daniel Barbu pointed out that electoral bodies have ambiguous statutes because they are neither bodies of the state- even though they are publicly funded – nor part of the civil society.

“The solution that I see is an international treaty under which gov’ts commit themselves to promoting democracy through national authorities, bodies or committees organising elections. Otherwise, we have nothing to do with what governments agree to do, because we are institutions under the authority or coordinated by the gov’t,” he explained.

In a speech he delivered at the beginning of the conference called “Counting the Ballots and Accounting for the Votes: The Use of Technology for Enhancing the Transparency of the Electoral Processes,” Barbu suggested a reflection on two themes regarding the mission of the electoral management bodies: one concerning their nature and the other one having to do to with the balance between their means and goals.

Barbu underscored that however varied the nature of the electoral management authorities may be, their common function requires them to have a single position regarding the institutional concept and the political situation.

In relation to the second theme, he said that many times discussions are focused on technology, but the finality of the electoral process cannot be overlooked, because it forms national representations underpinning future governments.

“One cannot be content next day after elections that everything went well, there was no fraud, there was total transparency and the ballots were correctly counted. (…) Don’t we have another mission between elections? Some of us, yes. For instance, my organisation, AEP, also manages the issue of funding political parties. Therefore, we have to monitor, keep an eye on the life of political parties, at least in respect to public funding and the manner in which expenses are carried out. But, can we do more? We can increase credibility in the national society by transforming the political life not just at election time, but in an area where people have more confidence than they do today,” Barbu explained.

Chairman of Romania’s Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) Daniel Barbu took over on Thursday the chairmanship of A-WEB for a two-year tenure.

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