Addressing the 118th Session of the Venice Commission on 15 March 2019, Leendert Verbeek (Netherlands, SOC), Chair of the Congress Monitoring Committee, gave an overview of the committee’s activities in the area of monitoring local and regional democracy and observing local elections.
He mentioned the reports on the situation of local and regional democracy in Poland and in the Republic of Moldova, which have been approved by the committee and will be submitted for adoption by Congress members during the 36th session of the Congress (2-4 April 2019). He also referred to the recent monitoring visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Russia, for which the reports are under preparation.
In particular, the Monitoring Committee Chair highlighted the situation of the city of Mostar, where no local elections have been held since 2008 because of a political deadlock. This issue will be raised in the monitoring report on Bosnia and Herzegovina and addressed in detail through the activities of the Reflection Group on Mostar set up by the Congress to contribute to a sustainable solution for restoring local democracy in the city.
The Monitoring Committee Chair also mentioned recent and forthcoming activities, in particular the pre-electoral visit to Ankara on 14 March 2019 to assess the campaign and preparations for the local elections to be held in Turkey on 31 March 2019. The pre-electoral visit will be followed from 27 March to 1 April 2019 by a Congress election observation mission.
In addition, a delegation from the Congress will carry out a monitoring visit to Hungary from 19 to 21 March 2019, to assess the implementation of the provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, which the country ratified in 1994.