The Office works co-operatively with the Government, political parties and civil society with the goal of expanding participation in public and political life and supporting implementation of OSCE/ODIHR recommendations on the electoral process. These are an integral element of Tajikistan's ongoing commitment to the exercise of civil and political rights.
The OSCE/ODIHR Final Reports of the Election Observation Missions (EOM) for the latest parliamentary (2010 and 2005) and presidential (2006) elections identified, among others, needs for reform of electoral legislation, more inclusive electoral management bodies and improved approaches to electoral dispute resolution. Government, political parties and civil society agree that training and education on many aspects of the electoral and political processes further democratization.
The Office provides expertise, educational opportunities, information, and forums where citizens, government officials and civil society members can engage in fruitful dialogue on democratization and election reform. Activity was especially intense before the 2010 parliamentary elections.
With the support of the UK Embassy, together with the Center for Strategic Research under the Office of the President, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and a local NGO, the Office produced, in 2009, a Voter Education Needs assessment to serve as a snapshot of electorate knowledge and civic education needs. As Election Day approached, four TV and four radio public service announcements supported by the OSCE and developed in co-operation with IFES and the Central Commission for Elections and Referenda (CCER) were broadcast daily on three state television and radio stations and several local channels.
The Office, in co-operation with the Deutsche Welle Akademie, also designed and conducted hands-on training on how to produce broadcast formats presenting debate and dialogue. Participating were TV reporters working in public and private electronic media from Kurgan-Tyube, Vose district, Tursunzoda, Dushanbe and Sughd region. The OSCE distributed voter education material, developed in co-operation with the CCER, at community election fairs in three cities and to broadcast and print media throughout Tajikistan, including supporting the printing of 274,160 newspaper editions with voter information.
In co-operation with local authorities and the Committee on Women and Family Affairs, the Office reached 18,212 individuals in face-to-face voter education sessions conducted in rural areas and small towns by OSCE-supported Women's Resource Centers. The OSCE distributed 4,500 copies of OSCE/ODIHR election handbooks, translated the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report into Tajik and made it publicly available. The Office conducted two train-the-trainers seminars for community leaders from 18 Khatlon districts and 11 women's NGOs on democratic elections standards. A total of 333 university students were trained in Tajik elections law, constitutional law and international elections standards. The students produced recommendations to increase youth participation in political life that were presented in Warsaw and included among the final recommendations of the OSCE Review Conference in 2010.
In co-operation with OSCE/ODIHR and the CCER, the Office organized a conference in December 2010 to discuss the OSCE/ODIHR EOM Final Report and the way forward. A working group of Tajik experts, including representation from the Center for Strategic Research under the Office of the President and the National Association of Political Scientists, presented a proposed agenda for subsequent dialogue on an operational framework for political pluralism that is based on the OSCE/ODIHR-Venice Commission Guidelines on Political Party Regulation.