Barcelona - The University of Barcelona and the Venice Commission held the 4th round of the Scientific Electoral Experts Debates. The theme was “The stability of electoral law”, a principle which ensures that the “game” (the electoral process) be played according to the rules, and not manipulated by the rules of the game (the electoral legislation).
The event has been initiated by the Council for Democratic Elections – the tripartite body of the Council of Europe in charge of electoral matters, including representatives of the Venice Commission, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.
The Venice Commission addressed the principle of the stability of electoral law already in the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters in 2002 and made it more precise in an interpretative declaration adopted in 2005, to which it refers regularly in its opinions. In spite of the emphasis put on this principle, electoral legislation is regularly revised shortly before elections. Does it mean that the principle of the stability of electoral law is simply not considered? Or rather that the late revision of electoral legislation is justified? To address these questions, the 4th Scientific Electoral Experts Debates questioned the scope of the principle, and dealt with the regulatory levels of electoral legislation, the timing of the change as well as how to deal with emergency situations.
Further to the 4th Scientific Electoral Experts Debates, the Council for Democratic Elections and the Venice Commission could prepare a new interpretative declaration.