Building, protecting and strengthening democracy is core business for the Council of Europe. At its base, representative democracy is practiced through an electoral process using an electoral system as a tool.
The Parliamentary Assembly goes about evaluating democracy through the electoral process by carrying out election observation missions and assessing whether the electoral process has been free and fair.
However, in order to assess democracy in our member States, it is equally necessary to look into the electoral systems as such.
Electoral systems differ in our member States: in terms of direct or indirect systems, proportional or “winner takes all” systems, “first past the post” or two rounds systems, formal and informal thresholds, and other variants of the same tools to express democracy for and by the people.
A structured comparative overview of electoral systems used by Council of Europe member States would therefore allow the establishment of basic Council of Europe standards and limits within which, from a systematic approach, the electoral system put in practice offers an undisputed basis for free and fair elections.
The Assembly should therefore prepare a report on the matter.