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New ‘road map’ for handling elections in times of crisis published as Switzerland marks 60 years in the Council of Europe

Bern book presentation

A “road map” for handling elections in times of crisis – a new publication setting out the conclusions of May’s successful conference in Bern on this theme – was launched today at a reception marking the 60th anniversary of Switzerland’s accession to the Council of Europe.

The 58-page illustrated booklet, which can be downloaded here in English and French, sets out a series of conclusions and recommendations to governments on how to hold elections in extraordinary conditions, such as pandemics, warfare, terror attacks or natural disasters, and assesses the impact of new digital technologies on polling procedures.

It follows a major conference on this theme held on 9-10 May 2023 in the Swiss capital, hosted by the Swiss National Council, which brought together some 130 representatives of key international and national bodies dealing with elections.

Speaking at a launch event held during PACE’s autumn plenary session in Strasbourg, PACE President Tiny Kox said the publication marked “a road map for enhanced co-operation in the field of elections” and encouraged its wide use. He urged all sectors of the Council of Europe to continue working together on elections in the spirit of Bern.

Switzerland, he added, had “distinguished itself with a high level of commitment to Council of Europe principles and values” and had become a pillar of multilateral and parliamentary diplomacy during its 60 years in the organisation.

Damien Cottier, the head of the Swiss delegation to the Assembly, said the conference and publication represented Switzerland’s “concrete support for the organisation of free and fair elections in Council of Europe countries”. He reviewed the Swiss contribution to the organisation over the years – including that of leading Swiss personalities – and hailed the Council of Europe as “this extraordinary institution” which was aiming to build lasting peace.