Presidential election 2019: ODIHR Final report (excerpts), 2019

I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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Although ODIHR has previously recommended that the authorities increase the scope of voter education for national minorities, stakeholders described the reach of these materials as limited.

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III. BACKGROUND

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Although the office of the outgoing president was held by a woman,
women are underrepresented in politics.5 Some 21 per cent of current members of parliament are women, and only one sitting minister is a woman.

5 See also paragraph 28 of the 2014 UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women concluding observations: “The Committee commends the State party on the high percentage of women in its civil service and on the fact that two of the three highest State officials are women. The Committee is nonetheless concerned that no special measures have been applied as part of a comprehensive strategy to accelerate the achievement of substantive equality of women and men in political and public life and to promote the participation of women from disadvantaged groups, such as rural women, women from ethnic minorities and women with disabilities, in political and public life”.

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V. ELECTION ADMINISTRATION

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The CEC produced some voter education materials in the Polish and Russian
languages which were published on the CEC website and in newspapers, and the CEC’s information hotline operated in Lithuanian, English and Russian. By law, ballot papers may only be provided in the Lithuanian language. Stakeholders informed the ODIHR EAM that the reach of
voter information is limited among minority communities and that their participation in the election remains below average. ODIHR has previously recommended that the authorities increase efforts to provide comprehensive voter education to national minorities.

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VIII. ELECTION CAMPAIGN

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The law provides for the participation of national minorities in electoral processes on an equal basis. One of the candidates, nominated by the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, conducted his campaign mostly in minority languages, reaching out to the ethnic-Polish and Russian communities. However, the campaign materials of most candidates featured only Lithuanian language content, and the rights of national minorities did not emerge as a campaign topic in their programmes.
Campaign-related events were aired by the public broadcaster only in the Lithuanian language, without subtitles. Some ODIHR EAM interlocutors noted instances of hate speech by individuals against national minority groups in social media and online news portals.46

46 See also paragraph 11 of the 2018 CCPR Concluding Observations and paragraph 25 of the 2016 European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance report.

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Document data: 26.09.2019 Link: https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/lithuania/433352?download=true

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