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Online Symposium on Elections in Times of Epidemic, 5 May 2020

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Disruption in elections is not a new phenomenon, because EMBs organized elections among challenging circumstances in post-conflict situations, natural disasters, and even pandemics before. But since the COVID-19 pandemic went worldwide, new challenges arose which should be discussed by professionals in order to be able to make the most appropriate decision. There is no unique formula with a tested script of the steps to follow at times of pandemics. Certain countries affected by the COVID-19 decided to postpone elections, others introduced special measures in the conduct of elections. Each of these decisions have their short-term and long-term risks and opportunities.

The ACEEEO, in line with its primary goal, namely, to promote democratic procedures in the region, organized an Online Symposium for electoral stakeholders to discuss the pros and cons of the solutions implemented by EMBs. This Symposium served to contribute to this ongoing discussion, by highlighting the general key considerations and challenges, and by focusing on the South Korean and Polish examples. In South Korea elections were held amidst the epidemic, on 15 April. In Poland the presidential election is supposed to be held on 10 May, however, some argue that the elections should be rather postponed. Both countries serve examples worth examining, both from a general democratic, and from an electoral expert perspective.

Online Symposium on Elections in Times of Epidemic

5 May 2020


Greetings from Zsolt Szolnoki, Secretary General and Tamar Zhvania, President of the ACEEEO

Elections in the ACEEEO region in times of COVID-19 – Key considerations and challenges


János Mécs, Project Manager, ACEEEO

To be held, or not to be held? – The Polish experience


Krzysztof Lorentz, Head of the Department, National Electoral Office of Poland

Wojciech Hermeliński, Former Chairman of the National Election Commission, Former Judge of the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland

Alexander Shlyk, Head of the Election Department, OSCE/ODIHR

Elections held in the Republic of Korea, 15 April – Best practices in managing elections under the COVID-19


Juhwan Lee, Director of Training Department, Association of World Election Bodies

Antonio Spinelli, Senior Advisor, Electoral Processes and Political Participation and Representation, Asia and the Pacific Regional Programme, International IDEA

Free discussion, moderated by Zsolt Szolnoki, Secretary General, ACEEEO

For further details and the summary please visit the dedicated ACEEEO page.