Seminars, training workshops and assistance missions
On this page:
- Training workshops
- European Conference of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs)
- Scientific electoral experts debates
- Electoral assistance missions
- Partnership for Good Governance
The Venice Commission regularly organises thematic seminars in the electoral field. These seminars aim at disseminating the principles and recommendations of the Europe’s Electoral Heritage, which are mainly based on the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters, the reference document of the Venice Commission in the electoral field.
Here are a few examples:
Seminar on Europe’s Electoral Heritage: ten years of the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters (Tirana, 2-3 July 2012)
In the framework of the Albanian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in co-operation with the National Assembly and the Central Election Commission of Albania the Commission organised a Conference at the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters.
Around 50 participants took part in this event. Ten years after the adoption by the Venice Commission of the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters, the Council of Europe’s reference document in this field, the Conference focused on its implementation. For this purpose, three specific themes were dealt with: election administration; case-study on the representativeness of elected bodies; and the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.
Seminar on the use of administrative resources during electoral processes (Tbilisi, 17-18 May 2013)
The Venice Commission organised the fourth Eastern Partnership Facility Seminar in co-operation with the Central Election Commission of Georgia.
Representatives from the central election commissions of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova took part in this Seminar. The seminar dealt with the issue of the misuse of administrative resources during electoral processes, based on the preliminary Report on the use of administrative resources during electoral campaigns (adopted in December 2013).
The Venice Commission also co-organised conferences with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe:
International Parliamentary Conference on the implementation of the right to free elections (Paris, 4-5 June 2015)
The challenge of the implementation of electoral legislation and the respect of Council of Europe standards were central issues of the conference. This event was the first parliamentary conference of this type in the field of elections. Elected representatives of six countries, beneficiaries of the Eastern Partnership and members of the parliamentary assemblies of other member States of the Council of Europe met representatives of electoral administration bodies, non-governmental organisations involved in election observation as well as experts of the Venice Commission, of other institutions of the Council of Europe and representatives of other international organisations.
The topics of the five training sessions were the following:
- the standards of the Council of Europe in the field of elections ;
- how to improve the legal framework and to overcome the difficulties with their implementation by the national authorities;
- electoral campaign: use and abuse of administrative resources, looking for legal solutions and practices;
- incoherencies in the electoral lists and the difficulties linked to citizens voting from abroad, looking for legal solutions and practices;
- the functioning of the electoral administrations and the challenge of neutrality and impartiality, looking for legal solutions and practices.
- Parliamentary conference on media freedom as a cornerstone for democratic elections (Berlin, 4 July 2016)
During this conference, the delegation of the Venice Commission intervened on the questions on legal provisions on medias in the context of elections, on the ethic of medias and on transparency concerning the interests of political parties and on the role of parliaments in media freedom in the context of elections. The conference was hosted by the German federal parliament.
- Regional interparliamentary conference on “Misuse of administrative resources during electoral processes: a major challenge for democratic elections” (London, 9-10 November 2017)
The Parliamentary Assembly and the Venice Commission, in co-operation with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, organised a regional conference entitled “Misuse of administrative resources during electoral processes: a major challenge for democratic elections”. Members of Parliaments and representatives of the Central electoral commissions of the countries beneficiaries of the Partnership of Good Governance participated in this conference as well as a panel of international experts, specialists in the topic of the conference.
The Venice Commission holds training workshops on the organisation of elections which are addressed to people in charge of implementing electoral legislation. These workshops aim at ensuring the practical implementation of the principles of Europe’s Electoral Heritage. So far such workshops have taken place in the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and Ukraine.
The Venice Commission holds training workshops in the field of electoral disputes. From 2015 to 2017, such training workshops took place, for instance, in Armenia, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
See also: The European Conferences of Electoral Management Bodies
Scientific electoral experts debates
The Venice Commission organised on 12-13 April 2016, in co-operation with the Permanent Electoral Authority of Romania, the 1st scientific electoral experts debates on “Electoral Law and New Technologies: Legal Challenges”.
The debates, which brought together representatives of more than 30 European and Latin American countries, focused on the implications of constitutional and international law principles in the field. Such implications are not limited to the application of the fundamental principles of electoral law (universal, equal, free, secret and direct suffrage, stability of electoral law). They also include more general aspects of constitutional law such as legality, the separation of powers, federalism, as well as access to justice, proportionality and transparency.
The reports delivered on this occasion appeared in a special edition of the scientific "Electoral Expert" review published by the Permanent Electoral Authority of Romania in paper form and online. The Venice Commission and the Permanent Electoral Authority of Romania have decided to organise these debates periodically.
The second edition, on 3-4 May 2018, addresses the various aspects of “Equal suffrage”.
Electoral assistance missions
The Venice Commission assists national authorities in the implementation of electoral legislation when required. For example, the Venice Commission gave its assistance to the Central Election Commission of Georgia on a regular basis in the context of various electoral cycles since 2003. The Venice Commission also assisted the Central Electoral Commission of Albania, in particular in 2012.
It also regularly assisted the Central Electoral Commission of Moldova and provided assistance to the Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine, among other countries.
In 2017, the Venice Commission, on two occasions, gave long-term assistance to the Election Commission of the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. In particular, this assistance dealt with the improvement of the review and appeal procedure, the internal procedures of the State Election Commission and the training of electoral commissions and voters. It has also provided long-term assistance for the Central Election Commission of Armenia.
Partnership for Good Governance
Thanks to the financial support of the European Union, the Council of Europe and more particularly, the Venice Commission from 2015 to 2017 have assisted the national institutions of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in implementing domestic reforms to bring them closer to the standards of the Council of Europe and the European Union in the fields of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
This joint programme is called the ‘Partnership for Good Governance’ (“PGG”) and follows a prior co-operation programme also addressed to the Eastern Partnership countries. Five priority areas (or “themes”) of co-operation were identified with the European Union for the PGG. Under these five themes, there was a component devoted to the electoral field where the Venice Commission was particularly active through the organisation of seminars, training workshops and thematic regional conferences. Besides the opinion in the electoral field, the Venice Commission assisted the central election commissions of the beneficiary countries in improving their organisational and legal capacities.
Among the recent activities organised by the Venice Commission as part of the PGG, the following can be mentioned (besides the opinions of the Venice Commission):
- A regional conference on the misuse of administrative resources during the elections (Tbilissi, 30-31 October 2017);
- Training workshops on electoral disputes in Georgia (15-20 September 2017);
- Long-term assistance to the Central Election Commission of Armenia (February - April 2017);
- A seminar on electoral disputes in the Republic of Moldova (13-15 September 2016);
- Long-term assistance to the Central Election Commission of Armenia (August – September 2016).