The Kafkaesque Edifice of Law

The current presidential campaign has already been described as a “révolution de femmes” by Le Monde and echoed with “an ordinary Belarusian wife looking after her two children […] posing the greatest threat to an authoritarian rule” by the Financial Times. The improbable presidential candidate Śviatłana Cichanoǔskaja (or Tsikhanouskaya) decided to run in the campaign in place of her husband Siarhiej Cichanoǔski. He and two other increasingly popular alternative candidates – Viktar Babaryka and Valery Capkała – were not allowed to compete for office, all for different reasons. They were unusually hard challengers for the current autocratic ruler Aliaksandar Łukašenka, who is running for his sixth consecutive term following his 26 years in power.

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Undercutting Internet Governance in Brazil

On June 30, 2020, the Brazilian Senate approved Draft Bill No. 2.630 of 2020, also known as “The Fake News Bill”. This bill applies to internet platforms with over 2 million users and seeks to address the warranted concerns presented by the recent spread of online disinformation and defamatory content. As it currently stands, the bill does little to address the individuals and organizations who finance the spread of fake news across social media platforms in Brazil. It also poses threats to user privacy, access to the internet, and freedom of association.

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Voting in Times of a Pandemic

Last Sunday, the Croatian parliamentary elections took place. Holding the elections in the middle of a pandemic triggered a broad debate on the restrictions of the right to vote proposed by the State Electoral Commission of the Republic of Croatia (DIP) in order to protect public health. The initial voting instructions of the Commission were substantially changed a few days before the elections after the country’s Constitutional Court got involved. Before the court’s decision people who had COVID-19 were forbidden to vote.

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Constitutional Impasse in Ethiopia

Covid-19 makes elections hard to hold – and forced Ethiopia to reschedule its general election for the House of Representatives. It is unclear how and when the election will be held instead – a pressing issue as the canceled election was to take place only a month before the current term of office ends. Who will have the mandate to govern after this date until the Ethiopians are able to go to the polls to elect the next House of Representatives?

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Fight Against Covid-19 in Serbia: Saving the Nation or Securing the Re-Election?

The Covid-19 epidemic outbreak in Serbia coincided with the beginning of the election campaign for both parliamentary and municipal elections. Soon, it became clear that what was at stake in the fight against Covid-19 was not so much saving the nation as securing the majority re-election of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, headed by its populist leader and President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić.

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The US Supreme Court’s Activism in the Wisconsin Election

United States lawyers may wonder whether President Trump has captured its Supreme Court. One day before a presidential primary and local election in Wisconsin, the Court intervened in an extraordinary way to add a new voting restriction. The decision in Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee provides further evidence that the Court has abandoned its high court role in favor of unusual partisan interventions to effectuate results found congenial by its Republican majority. Furthermore, a Court usually sensitive to national security concerns reached its judgment about the Wisconsin election without taking the threat the coronavirus poses to democratic processes seriously.

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Voting in Russia: Please Don’t Call it “Elections”

On September 8, numerous Russian regions voted in the framework of a so-called “single voting day”. Most significantly, Moscow voted for the members of City Council (“Duma”), and Russia’s second-largest city Saint Petersburg was to elect its governor. It would be a mistake, however, to draw any conclusions on the sentiments of the Russian people from the results as the voting process was skewed at every stage of the so-called “election”.

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Rationalising political representation within the European Parliament: the Italian Constitutional Court rules on the threshold for the European elections

In December 2018, the Italian Constitutional Court found the national 4% threshold for elections to the European Parliament to be constitutional. Unlike the Bundesverfassungsgericht, which focused in-depth on the European state of affairs at a given stage, the Corte costituzionale has pointed to a gradual evolutionary development towards “a rationalisation of the representation of political forces within the European parliamentary assembly”. According to this interpretation, both the national parliaments and the European Parliament face similar challenges.

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The Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Means for Change or Consolidation of Paralysis?

On October 7th, general elections were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its Constitution was meant to be an interim solution, setting up a complex structure of division of power between the three major ethnic groups leading to political paralysis. Constitutional reform is thus a pressing issue but the recent elections appear to reinforce the deadlock situation instead of paving the way for much needed change.

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