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Stop “worrying trend” of election winners abusing power - the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe endorses the Commission's Checklist

05/02/2020

Council of Europe, Strasbourg - Today the Committee of Ministers has endorsed the Venice Commission's checklist aimed at ensuring that election winners uphold democratic practices.

The Checklist gives governments guidelines on how to maintain the checks and balances of democracy, no matter what kind of system is used in that country.

It follows a warning by the Commission, echoed by former Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland in his 2016 report, that some governments, on gaining power in an election, are trying to dismantle democratic safeguards, rushing through laws without genuine political debate, and sacking independent judges and officials to make their own appointments.

The Checklist stresses that democracy is more than ‘winner takes it all’ and that both governing majorities and parliamentary opposition have a responsibility to maintain effective democratic practices.

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During the current Covid-19 pandemic, national governments are taking exceptional measures to slow down the spread of the virus. On numerous occasions, the Venice Commission examined the limits of such emergency powers. The Commission has consistently underlined that State security and public safety can only be effectively guaranteed in a democracy which fully respects the rule of law. Even in genuine cases of emergency situations, the rule of law must prevail.

 

 

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