The Congress concludes an Electoral Assessment Mission to Georgia

Published in Society
Tuesday, 24 October 2017 11:11

Tbilisi, 23 October 2017 – Yesterday, an Electoral Assessment Mission of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe has been concluded by a joint press conference with OSCE/ODIHR in Tbilisi (Georgia). The Delegation was composed of the two Thematic Spokespersons of the Congress on election observation, Stewart DICKSON (United Kingdom, ILDG) and Jos WIENEN (Netherlands, EPP-CCE) , and Vice-President Barbara TOCE (Italy, SOC) and it  joined forces with the Election Observation Mission deployed by OSCE-ODIHR in order to evaluate the local elections held on 21 October in Georgia.

Presenting the preliminary conclusions from the perspective of the Congress, Stewart Dickson confirmed that the electoral procedures were followed carefully by the electoral commissions in the large majority  of the 30 polling stations visited by the three teams of the Congress.  “However, it appears that there was some confusion in certain polling stations about the collection of information  by domestic observers, or rather party proxies,  with regard to individuals who had cast their vote", he stated. He also drew the attention of the Georgian authorities to the misuse of public resources during the campaign which seemed to be of specific relevance at the local level. 

Concerning the Georgian law that currently allows voters who are registered at a permanent or a temporary address to cast a ballot in local elections, DICKSON referred to Congress Recommendation 369 (2015) which provides that only voters who are permanently residing in a specific municipality should be enfranchised at the local level. “We would welcome if the Georgian authorities could take this into consideration for future reforms and this would also complement their efforts to establish the accuracy of voters' lists which is very welcome by the Congress” he added.

In addition, he mentioned the situation of local self-government in Georgia which was at the center of these elections. “Decentralisation and the strengthening of municipalities and regions are still in the early stages of development, all the more it's important for Georgia to develop the capacities of local authorities and continue decentralisation also in terms of financial devolution” DICKSON concluded and underlined the willingness of the Congress to further support the Georgian authorities in their endeavours.

***

Observing local and regional elections is one of the action priorities of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. This activity complements the political monitoring of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, which constitutes the cornerstone of local and regional democracy in Europe. It contributes to ensuring the integrity of elections and building voters’ confidence at grassroots’ level. Since 1990, the Congress has conducted about 100 election observation missions in some of the 47 Council of Europe member states and beyond.

33rd Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

Published in World
Sunday, 01 October 2017 16:21

The members of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities will meet from 18 to 20 October 2017, in Strasbourg, France, at their 33rd session, under this year’s heading of “Decentralised policies for the successful integration of migrants”. At this session, they will hold an exchange of views with young refugees and prominent political figures, who will talk about the specific problem of integrating child migrants.

In the context of its monitoring activities, the Congress will examine reports on the situation of local and regional democracy in Switzerland, Italy and Serbia. A recommendation on the observation of the local elections in Finland (9 April 2017) will be presented for adoption. Members will also be informed of the conclusions of the report on the elections to the Council of Elders in Yerevan, Armenia (14 May 2017) and they will discuss the outcome of the fact-finding mission conducted in Belgium. A round table on the situation in Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina is also scheduled.

The agenda includes three thematic debates: the first is debate on young people and open government in the fight against corruption, which includes the presentation of a report on transparent public procurement at local and regional level and an exchange of views on the youth perspective on the fight against corruption. The other two debates concern the role of European regional associations and organisations in co-operation and regional democracy in Europe and women’s participation in political life at regional level. Several reports will also be examined for adoption, in particular those on “Regional and minority languages in Europe today” and “A better future for Europe’s rural areas”.

The 33rd of Session the Congress will offer the opportunity to celebrate two anniversaries: the 10th anniversary of European Local Democracy Week and the 10th anniversary of the Congress’ Dosta! Prize for municipalities, which will be awarded, for the 6th time, to municipalities which have conducted ground-breaking projects to foster the integration of Roma.

The guest-speakers at the 33e Session include Milan CHOVANEC, Minister of the Interior of the Czech Republic, on behalf of the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, and Thorbjorn JAGLAND, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

At this session, the Congress will also welcome some forty youth delegates, who will be invited to take part in all of the debates and meetings.

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