The Congress carried out, from 19 to 20 October 2020, a remote observation procedure for the local elections to take place in Ukraine on 25 October 2020, in response to an invitation from the Ukrainian authorities.
This new remote format has been introduced as a temporary procedure in exceptional situations, such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, on the basis of Congress Resolution 455 (2020) adopted by the Statutory Forum as part of the broader debate on the Congress’ report on Local and Regional Elections in Major Crisis Situations.
The delegation comprised the Congress members represented on the Council for Democratic Elections/Venice Commission, including Mr Stewart DICKSON (United Kingdom, ILDG), Mr Jos WIENEN (Netherlands, PPC/CCE), Ms Rosaleen O'GRADY (Ireland, ILDG) and Mr Vladimir PREBILIC (Slovenia, SOC/G/PD). The team was supported by Professor Markku SUKSI, member of the Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government.
On 19 October, the Congress delegation held several online briefings with stakeholders in the election process, in particular with Mr Oleh DIDENKO, Chairman of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine, as well as with representatives of the international community in Kyiv and the OSCE/ODIHR Mission. Furthermore, online briefings with representatives of domestic NGOs and with IFES have been arranged. On 20 October, online meetings took place with several Ukrainian associations of local and regional authorities, as well as with mayoral candidates and representatives of political parties running in the elections.
In line with the said Congress Resolution, co-operation with domestic observers will be upgraded in order to support the virtual mission and provide first-hand information on the events on the Election Day.
On the basis of the details and data gathered during the remote observation procedure, an information report will be prepared and submitted to the Congress Bureau at the end of November.
Upon request of the competent authorities, the Congress observes local and regional elections in Council of Europe member States and sometimes beyond. To date, more than 100 election observation missions have been conducted by the Congress. The observation of local elections is one of the priorities of the Congress's action. It is complementary to the political monitoring process of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, which is the cornerstone of local democracy in Europe.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Congress has recently adopted a report on local and regional elections in times of crisis and decided to implement a strategy including alternatives to sending observer delegations to the field. The remote observation procedure remains exceptional and temporary and is not intended to replace genuine election observation missions.
Congress of the Council of Europe
Head of the Department of Statutory Activities, External Relations and Co-operation (SAERC)
Observation of Local and Regional Elections
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