Civil society and elections: experience from around Europe and Hungary

Most countries of Central Europe are in a political turmoil in one way or another. In some one government crisis follows another, in others potentially decisive elections are coming up soon. Naturally, these developments have an impact on civil society, as citizen groups, organisations and movements realise they need to participate and have their say in democratic processes during and beyond elections.

This workshop is organised by Ökotárs-Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation with its partners – Civil College Foundation, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and With the Power of Humanity Foundation - in the framework of a joint project, supported by the European Commission aimed at building the capacity of civil society and facilitating the exchange of knowhow about civic engagement around elections.

The workshop will convene representatives of civil society organisations, movements and groups from around Europe and Hungary to give inspiration and ideas - more specifically to:

  • learn and exchange about past CSO campaigns and activism around (primarily) local/regional elections (voter mobilization, candidate forums, election monitoring, etc.)
  • find common points and best practices that can be used in future work
  • network and make contacts with like-minded organizations

The workshop will be held online (on Zoom), and free to attend with registration. You can register here until 29 October. We will send a zoom link to registered participant a few days before the event.
For more information, contact Veronika Móra: move@okotars.hu

Looking forward to see you!

Draft programme

9.30-9.40

Introduction: project objectives and rationale

  • Veronika Móra, Ökotárs Foundation

9.40-11.10

Session 1: Civil society and elections in Central Europe

Elections around Central Europe: what to expect in the coming future, common trends and phenomena (presentation)

  • Rast’o Kuzel, Memo98 (Slovakia)

Short presentation of campaigns from neighbouring countries

  • Magdalena Pecul, Obywatele RP (Citizens of Poland) Poland
  • Oana Preda, CERE (Resource Centre for Public Participation), Romania
  • Septimius Parvu, Expert Forum, Romania
  • Albena Simeonova, FEA (Foundation for Environment and Agriculture), Bulgaria

Some examples from Western Europe:

  • Monica Radu, Maison de l’Europe de Paris, France
  • Anne-Kathrin Gräfe, Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliche Engagement, Germany

Q&A

11.10-11.30 Break

11.30-13.10

Session 2. Elections in Hungary

Preliminary elections autumn 2021 – what and why, results and lessons (presentation)

  • Róbert László, Political Capital Institute

Case studies: election frauds and how to counter them – experiences from 2018 and 2019

  • C8 (Budapest 8th district)
  • Tímea Bogdán, Érdekem az Érdeked Egyesület (Nógrád county)

Civil society and elections in Hungary: success stories

  • István Szulovszky, Civil Kotta (Szentendre)
  • Zsuzsa Csabalik, PadTársak (Miskolc), Independents for the City of Szinva
  • Júlia Konkoly-Thege, A Város Mindenkié, The City is for All (Pécs)
  • Bálint Vojtonovszki, Freie Ungarische Botschaft (Berlin)

Q&A

13.10-13.50 Lunch break (with project videos)

13.50-15.00

3. Session: Breakout groups

What makes local civil campaigning around elections successful? (mixed groups of international and Hungarian participants)

  • Which of the activities you liked best and why?
  • What do you think made these successful?
  • Would you organize something similar in your location, and if yes how?
  • What would you need to implement such an activity?

Report back from the small groups and conclusions

Final session: what can we offer to help you?

Short presentation of project partners for the Hungarian audience

  • Dániel Döbrentey, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
  • Vilja Arató, With the Power of Humanity Foundation