Who does what in the field of elections
Over the years, the Council of Europe has developed a recognised expertise in the electoral field covering standards’ setting, monitoring as well as co-operation with national electoral stakeholders in the Organisation’s member States and beyond.
In order to explain its complementarity and synergies, the Council of Europe proposes a Who does What listing the various entities of the Organisation working in the electoral field.
Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
- Council of Europe’s statutory decision-making body;
- Supervision of execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, in accordance with Article 46 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
- Observation of parliamentary and presidential elections and national referenda;
- Reports on election observations and on issues related to elections;
- Normative work by the PACE committees on various issues identified in election observation reports (e.g. diaspora voting, media and election campaigns; social media and elections, gender equality and elections; transparency of foreign donations to political parties and election campaigns, etc.);
- Follow-up by the PACE Monitoring Committee to the problems identified in election observation reports;
- Conferences and seminars on elections related issues/themes, in close co-operation with the Venice Commission;
- Co-operation with other international organisations observing elections.
Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
- Observation of local and regional elections in Council of Europe member States and beyond, upon invitation by state authorities;
- Election observation reports including recommendations approved by the Monitoring Committee and adopted at Congress Plenary Sessions;
- Follow-up on recommendations: reports on recurring and transversal thematic issues and post-electoral dialogue;
- Awareness raising and capacity building in the framework of cooperation programmes;
- Cooperation with other international organisations observing elections.
European Court of Human Rights
- Rules on individual or State applications alleging violations of the civil and political rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
- Article 3 of Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of on Human Rights, elaborates factsheets on Right to vote and Prisoners' right to vote, as well as a Case-law guide on this article
Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law (DGI)
Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights
- Advises and assists the Committee of Ministers in its functions of supervision of the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, in accordance with Article 46, paragraph 2, of the Convention;
- Provides support to the member States in their efforts to achieve full, effective and prompt execution of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, in the cases to which they are parties.
European Commission for Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission)
- Constitutional law, standard setting (Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters);
- Legal opinions on (draft) legislation on elections, referendums and political parties;
- European Conferences of Electoral Management Bodies;
- Council for Democratic Elections;
- Multilateral or bilateral conferences and seminars;
- Electoral assistance;
- Legal advice to the PACE electoral observation missions;
- Electoral database ‘VOTA’.
Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO)
- Monitoring compliance by GRECO member States with the CoE’s standards on transparency of election and party financing (GRECO 3rd Evaluation Round);
- Monitoring compliance by GRECO member States with the CoE’s standards on prevention of corruption in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors (GRECO 4th Evaluation Round);
- Involvement and participation in internal and external events (PACE, UN, OECD, etc.).
Information Society Department
- Guidance Note on Aspects of election interference by means of computer systems covered by the Budapest Convention;
- Interference with elections through malicious cyber activities against computers and data used in elections and election campaigns;
- Raising awareness and capacity building on election security;
- Cyber East Project (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus). Produced a thematic video on election interference/election cyber threats, a webinar on preparation for elections security and provided technical exercise (in Georgia) focusing on election security;
Directorate General of Democracy and Human Dignity (DGII)
Elections and Participatory Democracy Division
- Electoral co-operation, technical assistance and advice, capacity building of election commissions and electoral stakeholders;
- Co-operation programmes in member States, currently in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, in the Republic of Moldova and in Ukraine;
- Follow-up to PACE, Congress, Venice Commission as well as OSCE/ODIHR recommendations;
- Raising voter awareness and enhance participation in elections;
- Running of “ElecData”, the Council of Europe Compendium of Electoral Data (Statistics and information on elections in CoE Member States));
- Producing toolkits and carrying out research on electoral matters and trends.
The European Committee on Democracy and Governance (CDDG)
- Intergovernmental forum where member States experts meet to develop European standards (recommendations, guidelines, reports) and to exchange and follow up on the state of democratic governance in Europe,
- Important focus on administrative and territorial reforms, values guiding the work of public authorities, the strengthening of democratic institutions, at all levels of government.
- The Committee provides direct support to member States by way of exchanges among peers and rapid responses to demands regarding legal issues or best practice. It also oversees the work of the Division of Elections and Participatory Democracy.
- ToRs 2022-2025 organise periodic reviews of the Recommendation on E-voting (regarding implementation; net review in 2023) and draft a Recommendation (CM) on principles of good democratic governance at all levels of government, also addressing free and fair elections.
Gender Equality Division
- Strategic objective (Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023) to achieve balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision-making. (Recommendation CM/Rec(2003)3 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision-making, and Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on preventing and combating sexism) to be taken into consideration in electoral assistance
Directorate of Democratic Participation, Youth Department
- Advancing participation of young people in political processes as a priority;
- Development and implementation of youth policies and facilitating a pan-European platform for exchange of experience and good practice, bilateral and multilateral co-operation – supported by the Youth co-management;
- Providing education and training for youth organisations;
- Organising research and knowledge sharing for young people to strengthen youth civil society, democratic citizenship and participation (youth partnership);
- Educational and training activities offered by the European Youth Centres;
- Grants to national and international NGOs to support their youth participation projects provided by the European Youth Foundation (EYF).
Anti-Discrimination Department, Steering Committee on Anti-Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion (CDADI)
- Roma Political Schools – Promoting Roma Political Participation and Civic Engagement;
- Training for electoral participation and raising of Roma voter awareness and enhance participation in elections;
- Study on the active political participation of national minority youth in Council of Europe member states/ CDADI.