EISA CAR: Electoral reform


CSOs assisted to prepare civic actions for inclusive local elections

22 - 23 August 2022

EISA has assisted the RAC and its allies to engage political parties and particularly their leaders to ensure they are sensitized on the necessity of ensuring gender representation the local election candidates lists. Their being familiarised with the ruling party's platform revealed that the CSOs advocacy action will be met with some resistance from political parties - where many people are reluctant to change, particularly when it comes to women's candidacy.

Given this fact, EISA partnered with the UNDP to organize an additional advocacy training on 22nd and 23rd August 2022. This training gathered 20 participants, including 8 women. It enabled the RAC and its allies to adapt their advocacy strategy and communication to the current context of party resistance. This strategy will be used for sensitization actions planned for the coming months.

Reseau Arc en Ciel assisted to undertake a proactive and robust advocacy

The Reseau Arc-en Ciel (RAC) proposed ten (10) amendments to the electoral code. The CSO have proposed that the local election mode of vote be clarified so that voters know exactly whether they vote for a whole list of candidates or for specific individuals on the lists. The RAC also proposed a 'zebra' list system for the municipal election candidates lists. Another proposition is that the candidacy conditions just mention "good health", instead of "physical and mental health" as this excludes disabled citizens.

CSOs also proposed that the local election operations and candidacy litigation, including candidacy objections, are decentralized to regional courts, instead being managed by the 9 judges of the constitutional court based in Bangui. With EISA's assistance, the CSOs proposed reforms have been consigned in a structured advocacy document, which has been widely disseminated to national and international stakeholders, including the European Union Ambassador, as the funder of the project.

Reseau Arc en Ciel admitted in the electoral code review committee

17 Aug - 10 Sep 2022

The RAC and its allies have been appointed by the ministry of territory administration and local development for the electoral code review committee, set up on august 16th 2022. RAC and its allies were the only civil society representatives in the committee, which also comprised experts from the National Electoral Authority (A.N.E), political parties, and the UN.

At the end of the committee's work which was held from august 17th to September 10th, 2022, six of the 10 proposals made by the RAC and its allies were accepted and included in the draft of the new amended electoral code. The amendments will still go through the validation of a national committee, prior to parliamentary examination. EISA is assisting the CSOs to prepare strong advocacy elements to defend their proposals at each of these levels.

Civil society's technical capacity on electoral reforms strengthened

8 - 28 June 2022

EISA thus assisted the Reseau Arc en Ciel examine the current Electoral Code of CAR. This exhaustive work was done from June 8th to 28th. It emerged that the current code - as a post conflict and transitional framework (2019) - was largely oriented towards presidential and parliamentary elections. Insufficient and unclear provisions were made regarding local elections, which have not taken place in the country since 1988. Furthermore the 2019 electoral code is not sufficiently inclusive of all candidates, particularly women and citizen living with disability. It is worthy to note that this was the first time that the Reseau Arc en Ciel initiate its own the examination of the Electoral Code. The previous revision of this legal framework in 2019 was undertaken mainly by experts of the government and international experts.

Reseau Arc en Ciel assisted to undertake a proactive and robust advocacy

May 2022

The nature of the proposed amendments required that the RAC adopt a coalition approach and partners with other credible CSOs, for a robust citizen advocacy. The RAC has thus formed a coalition in May 2022 with 4 national organizations, including two (2) women organizations.

EISA encouraged the RAC and its allies to constructively engage key political and electoral stakeholders with their amendments of the electoral code. The strategy adopted was to seize the opportunity of the local election's momentum to advocate for the rectification of the identified gaps in the Electoral code and ensure that these elections, which pave the road to local governance and development, are inclusive.

They met with the Autorite Nationale des Election on July 07th 2022 and handed over their proposals to the ministry of territory administration and local development on 08th 2022. They also met the CAR political and electoral platform called Cadre de Concertation on July 11th, as well as one of the ruling party's coalitions (called Be-Oko) on august 11th.