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Forum History

 

The Forum was established by the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe  (Warsaw, May 2005), to strengthen democracy, political freedoms and citizens' participation.

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Forum previous sessions

Forum_Democracy2011

(Limassol, Cyprus, October)

Interdependence of democracy and social cohesion.

New: Proceedings

"Radical measures taken in many countries to try to balance public budgets are both necessary and understandable” but  “Countries are running a high risk of seriously undermining the European model of social cohesion.”  declared Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland while opening the Cyprus Forum.

2010

(Yerevan, October)

Perspectives 2020 Democracy in Europe - Principles and Challenges

Proceedings

 

''The Council of Europe has a unique strategic role to play in strengthening good democratic governance at all levels in the European space''. Democracy, or rather good democratic governance, is now not only intrinsically linked to the respect of human rights but is also recognised as the most effective form of governance to ensure stability, sustainability and well-being.

 That was the main message of the 2010 Forum.

(...)

 

2009

(Kyiv, October)

Electoral systems: strengthening democracy in the 21st century

(Proceedings)

 "In a genuine democracy, the citizen is sovereign and the voter decides" - that was the main message of the 2009 Forum, which highlighted the need for greater public involvement, with a view to increasing voter turnout and ensuring that all stages of public life are democratic..

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2008

(Madrid, October)

"E-democracy: who dares?"

 

The discussions addressed the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on democracy.

(...)

 

2007

(Stockholm, June)

"Power and empowerment - The interdependence of democracy and human rights"

 

This event addressed issues such as the role and responsibilities of the opposition, representative democracy at the local and regional level, empowerment of the individual and non-discrimination, respect for freedom of expression and association for civil society, and fostering democracy, human rights and social networks.

 (...)

 

2006

(Moscow, October)

"The role of political parties in the building of democracy"

 

The Forum reflected on  the role and responsibilities of political parties in finding democratic solutions to contemporary challenges, the interaction between political parties and with other actors in the democratic process, and the building and strengthening of democratic institutions.

(...)

 

Launch meeting (Warsaw, November 2005)

"Citizens' participation"

 

 

The discussions addressed the state of contemporary democracy in Europe.

(...)

Previous projects

("Making

Democratic institutions work")

 

   



Government of Ukraine
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Gouvernement de l’Ukraine
Ministčre des Affaires étrangčres

FFD(2009) 2

Strasbourg, 21 October 2009

    Council of Europe
    Forum for the Future of Democracy

Kyiv, Ukraine

    21-23 October 2009

    Electoral Systems: strengthening
    democracy in the 21st century

    PROGRAMME

Working languages: English, French and Ukrainian

The Forum was established by the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe in Warsaw in May 2005. The aim of the Forum is to strengthen democracy, political freedoms and citizens’ participation through the exchange of ideas, information and examples of best practices. The proposals resulting from its discussions about possible future action contribute to enhancing the Council of Europe’s work in the field of democracy.

After its launch meeting in Warsaw in November 2005, the second, third and fourth sessions of the Forum were held in Moscow, Stockholm/Sigtuna and Madrid, each time addressing a different aspect of democracy.

The Forum is a flagship event in the Council of Europe’s calendar. It brings together some 400 participants from the 47 Council of Europe member States and observer States representing public authorities (national parliamentarians, local and regional elected representatives, government officials) and civil society (INGOs, Electoral Commissions etc.)

In order to ensure transversality and maximum impact, the Forum process is governed by the Council of Europe’s quadripartite stakeholders made up of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Committee of Ministers and the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations. Other major stakeholders in the organisation of the 2009 Forum are the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), representatives of the European Union and other international organisations and academia.

The first day of the Forum begins with the opening addresses and presentations of context from leading European personalities. There will also be a presentation of the Code of Good Practice on Civil Participation in the Decision-making Process, followed by the High-level Panel debate which will discuss the future of elections within the context of the challenges facing electoral systems. Issues to be addressed include:

    · Throughout Europe people are feeling disillusioned with their governments and low voter turn-out is the norm. What changes to electoral processes could make them more relevant and help rebuild trust between citizens and elected representatives?

    · Citizens are enjoying and expecting more direct participation in decision-making processes and this offers both opportunities and threats to democratic practices. How can we ensure that participation processes are complementary to elections and do not weaken them? Indeed, are we sure that elections, in their current configuration, are here to stay?

    · The impact of new technologies on democratic elections is at the centre of much current public debate. How can we best foster the capacity of new technologies to make governments and electoral processes more transparent and accountable?

    · Political concerns which relate primarily to national issues often play a key role in voters’ choices in local, regional and European elections. What can be done to foster better differentiation between different levels of elections?

    · Some European countries are experiencing a growing polarisation of ideas and ideology whilst others are seeing a de-polarisation of political attitudes. What are the reasons and risks behind these trends?

    · An independent, dynamic media is a sine qua non for free elections. Throughout Europe, the media is undergoing transformations in order to respond to political, economic, cultural and technological changes. In this rapidly changing landscape, what measures should be taken to best safeguard media independence?

    · How can international standards, and in particular the Council of Europe acquis on electoral systems, be better implemented in order to improve electoral standards throughout Europe?

The second day is devoted to the thematic workshops. These are divided into three themes with each theme having a first part in the morning and a second part in the afternoon. Participants are welcome to switch themes between the morning and afternoon sessions.

The last day concentrates on reporting back from the workshops and presenting the results and conclusions of the Forum.

Day One: Wednesday, 21 October

3.00 pm – 5.00 pm Registration of participants

 

5.00 pm Opening of the Forum for the Future of Democracy 2009

      Chair and Opening remarks by the Council of Europe:

          Mr Thorbjřrn JAGLAND, Secretary General of the Council of Europe and Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Forum for the Future of Democracy

      Welcome by

          Mr Victor YUSHCHENKO, President of Ukraine

      Opening Speeches

          Mr Samuel ŽBOGAR, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Slovenia and Chair of the Committee of Ministers

          Mr Göran LINDBLAD, Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Chair of the Political Affairs Committee (SE, EPP/CD)

          Mr Keith WHITMORE, (UK, ILDG), member of the Congress of Local and Regional
          Authorities

6.00 pm Presentation of the Code of Good Practice on Civil Participation in the Decision-making Process

          Mr Jean-Marie HEYDT, President of the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) of the Council of Europe

6.20 pm European Perspectives

      Chair: Mr Mykola ONISHCHUK, Minister of Justice, Ukraine

          Mr Arnold RÜÜTEL, former President of the Republic of Estonia

          Mr Antonio MILOŠOSKI, Minister of Foreign Affairs of “the Former Yugoslav
          Republic of Macedonia”

          Ms Maria LEISSNER, Ambassador at large for Democracy, Swedish EU Presidency

          Mr Šarūnas ADOMAVIČIUS, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lithuania

7.00 pm High-level Panel debate: The Future of Elections

      Chair: Mr Mykola ONISHCHUK, Minister of Justice, Ukraine

      Moderator:  Mr Andrey KULIKOV, ICTV Ukraine

          Dame Audrey GLOVER, Director, Electoral Reform International Services, UK

          Ambassador István GYARMATI, President, International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT), Hungary

          Mr Jan HELGESEN, President of the European Commission for Democracy through Law

          Prof. Pippa NORRIS, McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F.
          Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA (via video-conference)

          Mr Bill SWEENEY, President, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)

8.30 pm Close of the First Plenary Session
8.45 pm Welcome reception at the Government reception hall

Mariinsky Palace, 22, Grushevskyi str.

      Theme 1: General elections in a modern democracy

      Workshop 1A
      Thursday, 22 October
      Morning Session, 9.30 – 12.30

    Coffee break mid-morning

      Increasing the legitimacy of elections: laws, institutions and processes

        This workshop will examine the ways in which different electoral systems can impact on election outcomes and on responsible government formation. It will look at how to reinforce public confidence and inclusion through measures to improve representativity (e.g. thresholds and gender quotas) and ways which optimise the work of electoral commissions and election observation missions in order to guarantee transparency and accountability.

        The panelists will also consider how electoral systems are responding to societal changes such as globalisation and the growing use of new technologies as well as the impact the personalisation of politics is having on the legitimacy of elections.

        Chair Mr Mevlüt ÇAVUŞOĞLU, Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly

                of the Council of Europe (TU, EDG)

        Moderator Mr Peter WARDLE, Chief Executive, UK Electoral Commission

        Rapporteur Kĺre VOLLAN, expert on electoral systems, Norway

            Judge Manuel GONZALEZ OROPEZA, Judge of the Supreme Court for Elections
            in Mexico

              Mr Olexandr LAVRYNOVYCH, First Vice-Chair of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine

              Ms Anna SÓLYOM, Project manager, International relations, The Association of European Election Officials (ACEEEO), Budapest, Hungary
              (First presentation - Second presentation)

            Mr Jonathan STONESTREET, Senior Election Adviser, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

    Theme 1: General elections in a modern democracy

Workshop 1B

    Thursday, 22 October
    Afternoon Session, 2.30pm – 5.30pm

Coffee break mid-afternoon

The role of political parties in electoral processes

      This workshop will examine the responsibilities of political parties in fostering stability and dialogue before, during and after elections. It will reflect upon the rules governing party lists and the selection of candidates and their impact on representativity.

      The panelists will discuss the phenomena of ‘democracy by opinion poll’ and the growing personalisation of politics and their impacts on democratic practices. Furthermore, the opportunities and threats engendered by the growing use of new media and ICT in political parties’ electoral campaigns will be assessed.

      Chair: Ms Maryna STAVNIYCHUK, member of the Venice Commission,
      Deputy Head of the Secretariat of the President of Ukraine

      Moderator: Mr David WILSHIRE (UK, EDG), member of the Parliamentary Assembly of
      the Council of Europe

      Rapporteur: Dr Peter FERDINAND, Associate Professor of Politics, University of Warwick, UK

          Prof. Rachel GIBSON, Professor of Political Science, University of Manchester, UK

          Mr Andreas GROSS, member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (CH, SOC) and Vice-President of the Council for Democratic Elections

          Mr Alexander ISKANDARIAN, Director of the Caucasus Institute, Yerevan,
          Armenia

          Mr Igor MINTOUSSOV, Chairman, Council of Directors, “NICCOLO M” Centre of Political Consulting, Russian Federation

          Prof. László TRÓCSÁNYI, substitute member of the Venice Commission, Hungary,
          focusing on the Council of Europe Code of good practice in the field of political parties

          Prof. Carlo RUZZA, Professor of Sociology, University of Leicester

Theme 2: Multi-level elections and participatory practices

Workshop 2A

    Thursday, 22 October
    Morning Session, 9.30 – 12.30

Coffee break mid-morning

Reinforcing participation and inclusion in electoral processes, especially at the local level

      The aim of this workshop is to identify strategies to reduce voters’ disenfranchisement and to reinforce the participation in electoral processes of women, minorities, foreigners and disadvantaged groups. Much innovative work in this field is taking place at the local level of governance, and good practice examples which foster complementary forms of citizen participation (consultations, citizens’ juries, community leaders, referendums, etc.) will be explored.

      Tools, instruments and ICT aiming to enhance participation, political communication and inclusion will also be assessed.

      Chair Ms Antonella VALMORBIDA, President of the Civil Society
      & Moderator and Democracy Committee of the Council of Europe Conference of INGOs

      Rapporteur Prof. Robin HAMBLETON, Faculty of Environment and Technology
      University of the West of England, UK

          Mr Hamazasp DANIELYAN, Monitoring and Evaluation officer, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Armenia

          Mr Anatoliy FEDORCHUK, Boryspil City Mayor, Ukraine

          Prof. Yvonne GALLIGAN, Professor of Comparative Politics, Queen’s University, Belfast

          Dr Henk VAN DER KOLK, Associate professor of political science, University of Twente, Netherlands

          Mr Belgian member of the Council of Europe Steering Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR)

Theme 2: Multi-level elections and participatory practices

Workshop 2B

    Thursday, 22 October
    Afternoon Session, 2.30pm – 5.30pm

Coffee break mid-afternoon

Elections at different levels of governance: mutual impacts and synergies

      This workshop will focus on the interrelation of elections at different levels (sub-national, national and supra-national) and identify good practices of local level elections and their relevance to electoral systems at other levels. It will identify ways in which policy makers are responding to the challenge of low voter turnout (campaigns to mobilise voters, use of new media, compulsory voting, etc.).

      The panelists will explore the differing trends and tendencies to be found throughout Europe (ideological (de-)polarisation, confidence in electoral processes, etc.) and the differing responses to these.

      Chair Mr Anatoliy TKACHUK, Deputy Minister of Regional
      Development and Construction, Ukraine

      Moderator Dame Audrey GLOVER, Director, Electoral Reform International
      Services, UK

      Rapporteur Prof. Hermann SCHMITT, Research fellow and Privatdozent of Political

              Science, University of Mannheim, Germany

          Prof. Michael GALLAGHER, Professor of Comparative Politics, Trinity College,
          Dublin, Ireland
          (Pdf version)

          Ms Sandra PERNAR, Executive Director, Gong, Zagreb, Croatia

          Mr Ola PETTERSSON, Electoral Processes Programme, International IDEA

          Ms Nataliya ROMANOVA, (UA, ILDG) Vice-President Congress, Vice-President of the Association of Local and Regional Authorities of Ukraine, President of Chernigiv
          Regional Council

Theme 3: Media and civil society: key actors in democratic elections

Workshop 3A

    Thursday, 22 October

Morning Session, 9.30 – 12.30 (plenary hall)
Coffee break mid-morning

    The role of the media in ensuring fair elections*

      This workshop starts from the premise that an independent and pluralist media is a prerequisite for a fair coverage of elections. It will consider the significance of media analysis during electoral periods as well as examining the rights and responsibilities of the media in opinion polling, election campaigns and election observation.

      The panelists will address the responsibilities of governments to guarantee media freedom. They will also examine the risks and opportunities posed by new forms of media to fair and free elections.

      Chair: Mr Konstantyn KVURT, Executive Director, “Internews Ukraine”

      Moderator : Mr Robert PARSONS, international editor of ‘France 24

      Rapporteur: Corina CEPOI, Project Director, Independent Journalism Center, Moldova

          Mr Pierre GARRONE, Head of Elections and Referendums Division, Venice Commission Secretariat

          Ms Barbi PILVRE, journalist and Board member of the Network of Estonian Non-profit organisations (NENO)

          Mr Andriy SHEVCHENKO, Member of Parliament, First Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information, Ukraine and former journalist

          Ms Ljiljana ZUROVAC, Executive Director, Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina

* See also presentations provided by:
Dr ZoltánTóth, Secretary General of the Association of European Election Officials – ACEEEO – (Powerpoint presentationPDF document)
Mr Owen Masters, Venice Commission expert (Powerpoint presentation, Word document)
who were prevented from participating in the Forum.

Theme 3: Media and civil society: key actors in democratic elections

Workshop 3B

    Thursday, 22 October
    Afternoon Session, 2.30pm – 5.30pm (plenary hall)

Coffee break mid-afternoon

Civil Society as a driver for transparent and inclusive elections

      This workshop will highlight the contribution of civil society to good electoral practices and explore the importance of open dialogue between various stakeholders. It will look at the ways in which NGOs operate as watchdogs and drivers of electoral reform and how civil society can best contribute to the drafting and assessment of electoral legislation.

      The panelists will discuss the role of civil society in fostering political education for candidates and for voters and will examine good practice examples relating to election financing, campaigning and observation.

      Chair Mr Ihor POPOV, Deputy Head, Secretariat of the President of Ukraine

      Moderator  Mr Michael HANCOCK, (UK/ALDE), member of the Parliamentary Assembly of
      the Council of Europe

      Rapporteur Mr Cyril RITCHIE, Representative of the Council of Europe Conference of INGOs

          Mr Igor BOTAN, Executive Director, Association for Participatory Democracy (ADEPT), Moldova

          Ms Nel VAN DIJK, Director of the Institute for Political Participation, the Netherlands

          Ms Natalia DNIPRENKO, Head of the Public Relations Department of Secretariat, Cabinet
          of Ministers of Ukraine

          Mr Ihor KOHUT, Director of the Ukrainian School of Political Studies and Chairman of the Board, Agency for Legislative Initiatives, Ukraine

          Mr Konstantyn KVURT, Executive Director of the INGO “Internews Ukraine”

          Ms Ariane RODERT, consultant on the Code of Good Practice on civil participation in the decision-making process, Sweden

Day Three: Friday, 23 October 2009
10am – 1.30pm

Concluding Plenary Session

      Chair: Mr Keith WHITMORE, (UK, ILDG), member of the Congress of Local and Regional

          Authorities

Contribution by the President of the Council of Europe Conference of INGOs

Reports from workshops by the Workshop Rapporteurs

Results and conclusions of the Forum for the Future of Democracy 2009

    Chair Mr Lluís Maria de PUIG, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council

          of Europe

    The General Rapporteurs

          Mr Yuri KLUCHKOVSKY, Deputy Head of the Committee on State Development and Local Self-Government, Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine

          Mr Hendrik DAEMS, (BE, ALDE), member of the Political Affairs Committee,
          Parliamentary Assembly

          Mr Jean-Claude FRÉCON, (FR, SOC) Vice-President (Chamber of Local Authorities)
          Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

    Coffee break

          Presentation of the Forum conclusions

Closing of the 2009 Session and invitation to the 2010 Session

Closing remarks on behalf of Ukraine, the host country

        Mr Oleksandr HORIN, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine

    Closing remarks on behalf of the Council of Europe:

Closing remarks on behalf of Armenia, host country of the Forum for the Future of Democracy 2010

          Mr Zorab MNATSAKANIAN, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Armenia to the Council of Europe