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Credentials of nine national delegations challenged on session’s opening day

The credentials of nine national delegations to the Assembly were challenged – on different grounds – on the opening day of the winter plenary session in Strasbourg.

Six of the challenges related to the Assembly’s rule on gender-balance, which says that national parliamentary delegations should “include members of the under-represented sex at least in the same percentage as in their parliaments and, at a very minimum, one member of the under-represented sex appointed as a representative” (North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Sweden and Switzerland).

Two of the challenges concerned the Assembly’s rule on political balance, which says that delegations “should be composed so as to ensure a fair representation of the political parties or groups in their parliaments” (Moldova and Spain).

The credentials of one national delegation – the Russian Federation – were challenged twice, on both substantive and procedural grounds. The substantive challenge cited a recent proposal to change the constitutional balance between national and international law, as well as the situation in Georgia. The procedural challenge cited the fact that votes from the occupied territory of Crimea were used to elect the Russian parliament, and that some members of the proposed Russian delegation are currently subject to EU sanctions.

The challenge to the Russian delegation’s credentials on substantive grounds will be debated by the Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, on the basis of a report by the Monitoring Committee. For all the other challenges, the Rules Committee will submit its opinion to the President, with no plenary debate if it concludes the credentials should be approved.