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The Europeanization of Electoral Laws in the East European Neighbourhood

Natalia Timus
Maastricht Universiteit
Natalia Timus
Maastricht Universiteit
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper investigates how the cooperation of European institutions (the EU, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE) in democracy promotion affects the success of European conditionality on electoral laws in the East European Neighbourhood. It examines the two major European-level factors, the determinacy of requirements and the rewards, based on the Ukrainian, Moldovan and Georgian case studies and a cross-case comparative analysis before and during ENP Action Plans’ period. The paper shows that there exists a European-level influence on electoral law changes in line with the European standards set by the Venice Commission. Also, the cooperation of European institutions in democracy promotion contributes to the success of the common European leverage in the field of electoral laws. Although the EU lacks a specific conditionality on electoral process in Action Plans, the reference to the standards set by the Council of Europe and the OSCE increases indirectly the determinacy of its requirements and offers domestic elites a clearer picture of its demands. At the same time, the EU’s merit in the joint European influence on electoral laws lies in its increased leverage on aspiring European members, even in the case of low credibility of EU membership.