Observation of the local elections in Turkey - 2019
Congress observation of the mayoral election in Istanbul: a well-organised and transparent vote, under tense circumstances
A delegation from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, led by Andrew DAWSON (United Kingdom, CRE), Rapporteur and Head of the delegation, observed the re-run of the mayoral election in Istanbul on 23 June 2019. At the invitation of the Turkish authorities, 14...
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Congress observer delegation calls on Turkey to seize the opportunity of local elections to continue normalisation and enhance local democracy
Speaking at a press conference after the local elections held in Turkey on 31 March, the Head of the delegation of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Andrew DAWSON (United Kingdom, ECR), presented preliminary conclusions in Ankara. “Our observation mission...
- Congress observed local elections in Turkey
- Congress calls on Turkey to respect the voter’s decision in the 31 March local elections
- Congress urges Turkey to ensure that the recounting judges work freely and without interference
- Local elections in Turkey: Congress organised pre-election visit to Ankara
How does the Congress organise its election observation?
The observer missions are conducted at the official request of the national authorities concerned (eg a ministry or the Central Electoral Commission). On receipt of such a request, the Congress sets up a delegation responsible for observing the election, normally comprising between 10 and 15 of its members (elected representatives of territorial communities in the 46 Council of Europe member states).
Before the day of the election, several meetings are held to assess the state of electoral democracy, with the participation of governmental institutions, local and regional elected representatives, representatives of the public administration (electoral commissions), political parties (government and opposition), the media, diplomatic circles and civil society.
Pending a decision from the Bureau of the Congress, a pre-election delegation (comprising between two and five members) may also be detailed to assess the overall political situation of the country and the electoral campaign and investigate the legal framework for the elections.
Who are the Congress observers
The political composition of delegations is proportional to the representation of the political groups in the Congress. The Congress also ensures fair representation of its non-registered members.
It also strives to achieve balanced gender representation (minimum one-third female members, in accordance with the Charter of the Congress). Lastly, it attempts to secure balanced representation of both Congress Chambers and of the various member states of the Council of Europe.
Conclusions and follow-up
At the end of every election observation mission, the Congress delegation publishes a preliminary statement, which is normally read out at an on-the-spot press conference at the close of the elections. A report is subsequently drawn up by the Congress member who was appointed Rapporteur for the mission.
His or her report deals not only with the procedures and facts observed on election day, particularly during the voting and vote-counting, but also with the general political situation in the country, including the state of fundamental rights and freedoms, the atmosphere which prevailed during the election campaign and any progress noted on the democracy front.
This report is submitted to the Bureau of the Congress. It is subsequently assessed and adopted by the Congress in plenary session. A recommendation (to the national authorities) and resolution (to the local and regional authorities) mark the end of the observation exercise.
In addition to the country-specific observations and election reports, the Congress developed a strategy to better address problems which are of broader relevance. Such recurring transversal issues include, in particular:
- the situation of independent candidates and opposition in local and regional elections (2022);
- beyond elections: The use of deliberative methods in European municipalities and regions (2022);
- holding referendums at local level (2021);
- recurring issues based on assessments resulting from Congress monitoring of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and election observation missions (reference period 2017-2020);
- local and regional elections in major crisis situations (2020);
- voting rights at local level as an element of successful long-term integration of migrants and IDPs in Europe’s municipalities and regions "(2018);
- checklist for compliance with international standards and good practices preventing misuse of administrative resources during electoral processes at local and regional level (2017);
- electoral lists and voters residing de facto abroad (2015);
- voting at 16 – Consequences on youth participation at local and regional level (2015).