Xavier Cadoret: "Relaunching democracy at the local level"

37th Session Strasbourg, France 30 October 2019
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Xavier Cadoret:

In his communication of 30 October 2019, the President of the Chamber of Local Authorities, Xavier Cadoret (France, SOC), recalled that monitoring the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and the observation of local elections are the priorities of the Chamber's work. In particular, he mentioned the observation of local elections in Turkey, post-monitoring in the Republic of Moldova, as well as monitoring missions to the Russian Federation and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"We have decided to continue our work to restore local democracy in Mostar, with the implementation of a project to encourage citizen participation in this city of Bosnia and Herzegovina," explained Xavier Cadoret. A Congress visit will soon be organised to Sarajevo and Mostar to prepare a project on strengthening democratic participation, in view of the local elections scheduled in Bosnia and Herzegovina in October 2020. The aim is to make proposals on how citizens could once again make their voices heard in Mostar, where the last local election was held more than ten years ago.

The President of the Chamber of Local Authorities also warned of the disillusionment and disaffection of citizens, especially young people, with traditional politics. "Candidates - of all ages - are rare in local elections and there are worrying signs that our entire democratic model will collapse," said Xavier Cadoret. This situation was examined during a debate on 30 October on the working conditions of local elected representatives, as well as in the context of an earlier recommendation on the compensation of elected representatives. Xavier Cadoret also welcomed the Committee of Ministers' reply to that recommendation, which calls for "ensuring that the exercise of a public elective mandate at local or regional level takes place in good financial conditions".

Another threat to democracies comes from the increasing use of artificial intelligence. "We can use artificial intelligence to improve our lives, but it can also be used to undermine democratic processes. It can constitute a danger to the principles of good governance and individual freedoms," said the President of the Chamber of Local Authorities in presenting the debate on cybersecurity in smart cities held on 30 October 2019. The Committee of Ministers has just set up an intergovernmental committee, the Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence, which will hold its first meeting in November 2019. The Congress will be involved in its work aimed at examining the potential elements of a legal framework for the development of artificial intelligence, based on Council of Europe standards on human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

** 37th Session of the Congress **

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