UK partner in democracy role

LONDON solicitor Gerald Shamash has been involved in “brainstorming” sessions aimed at establishing an international body to act as a “consultant broker” to emerging democracies.

Shamash, an electoral law expert and partner at Steel & Shamash, is a member of one of the specialist “issue groups” which met in Sweden last month to formulate guidelines for the organisation of the International Electoral Institute Commission.

The groups have provided suggestions for the institute's formation, and the commission is expected to publish a detailed report early next month.

The commission is currently running under the guidance of a four-member working party which includes Swedish ambassador Bengt Save-Soderbergh, who formed the idea for the Institute with the Swedish Government.

Former Liberal leader Sir David Steele, the secretary general of the International Commission of Jurists Adama Dieng, and former Commonwealth secretary general Sonni Ramphal are also involved.

The institute – set to start operation from early next year – will work on maintaining democracy and provide advice and assistance to countries wanting to take part in the democratic process and those already involved.

“This is a new, innovative and potentially very important body,” says Shamash. “Being a part of this has been extremely exciting.”