At its 44th plenary session, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe today adopted a recommendation following the visit by a 14‑member delegation to Berlin to observe the repeat elections held there on 12 February 2023. On Election day, six Congress teams visited around 80 polling stations to observe the voting.
“The Landtag and district elections held in Berlin were efficiently managed and transparent,” said the rapporteur, Vladimir Prebilic (Slovenia, SOC/G/PD). The report also underlines the broad acceptance of the ruling by Berlin Constitutional Court that the 2021 elections should be rerun and the limited effect of the Court’s ruling on voters’ and candidates’ level of trust in the electoral process, as demonstrated by the relatively good turnout.
In spite of the numerous improvements made by a highly decentralised election administration to guarantee the integrity of the electoral process, the Congress report nevertheless refers to the need to further clarify the distribution of tasks and responsibilities between the Land and district election administrations to ensure uniform procedures. Efforts are also needed to strengthen the regulatory framework on campaign and party finance, to ensure transparency and a level playing field for all candidates. In addition, a 40% quota for women on party lists should be introduced to increase the number of women standing for election.
Despite the generally positive assessment of the 2023 elections, the rapporteur suggested that more uniform polling day standards be introduced across all districts, in particular as regards tamper-proof sealing of ballot boxes, the design of ballot boxes, the handover of election materials and the process for identifying voters and obtaining their signatures. At the same time, “the accessibility of polling stations must be ensured for all voters, regardless of alternatives to in-person voting,” said Vladimir Prebilic.
Lastly, “it would be beneficial to introduce regulations on the status and rights of observers in order to clarify the arrangements for their work.”, he concluded.
Statement by Vladimir PREBILIC
Agenda – Web file – Multimedia (Live webcasts, interviews, videos and photo)