At its 42nd Plenary Session, the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities debated and voted on a thematic report on the situation of independent candidates and the opposition. In this report adopted on 23 March 2022, the Congress calls on local, regional and state authorities to address undue obstacles to the participation of independent and opposition candidates in elections at different stages of the electoral process.
Presented by Vladimir PREBILIC (Slovenia, SOC/V/DP), the report stresses that although some proportionate measures to limit the number of candidates are admissible in order to prevent extreme fragmentation, national legislations should avoid overly restrictive requirements to safeguard the right of every citizen to run for public office without discrimination. “Overly strict restrictions on the participation of independent candidates limit political pluralism as independents represent an important alternative in view of the growing disenchantment with political parties", stressed the rapporteur.
In the Resolution and Recommendation of this report, the Congress encourages national authorities to create the conditions for independents to stand in local and regional elections on an equal footing with political party candidates by putting legislation in line with international standards and best practices. It calls for the promotion of political pluralism in local and regional elections by encouraging and facilitating the participation of independent candidates and opposition in general. Finally, local and regional authorities are called upon, where it is within their competence, to facilitate the registration of independent candidates and to help create a level playing field for campaigning, including freedom of assembly for all election participants.
See also :
Mediabox interview with Vladimir PREBILIĆ
Statement by Vladimir PREBILIC
Recommendation REC 476(2022)
Resolution RES 482 (2022)
Agenda – Web file – Multimedia (Live webcasts, interviews, videos and photo)
The Congress participates in the observation of local and regional elections in the 46 Council of Europe member states and sometimes beyond, upon official request of the national authorities concerned. This activity complements the political monitoring of the European Charter of Local Self-Government. In addition to country observations, the Congress regularly examines more general and recurrent issues related to local and regional elections through transversal reports.