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Parliamentary conference – Elections in times of crisis (Bern, 9-10 May 2023)

Welcome message

“We warmly welcome you to Bern,
almost 60 years to the day since
Switzerland joined the Council of Europe,
for this timely and thought-provoking
conference. Elections lie at the heart of
our democratic practice – yet ensuring
they remain free and fair is getting harder
and harder in this new era of pandemic,
war and disaster, whether human-caused
or natural, and rapid technological change.
There are challenges and opportunities,
and this gathering will be our chance to
consider how to deal with them.”

Martin Candinas, President of the Swiss National Council
Tiny Kox, PACE President

Free and fair elections are the foundation on which our democracies are built. Yet election organisers face dramatic new pressures – be it from health pandemics such as Covid-19, the return of full-scale war to Europe, or terror attacks and natural disasters. And while technology promises new or more representative ways of voting, it brings dangers too, as powerful new AI and cyber tools expand the scope for pre-poll disinformation and manipulation.

This parliamentary conference on “Elections in times of crisis” provides an opportunity to explore the impact of these recent crises on holding elections, and to define policies that can effectively strengthen the resilience of democratic institutions to emergencies. Participants will also seek ways to make election processes more adaptable in a rapidly-changing world, while protecting the integrity of the vote.


  • The pandemic and the polls – the impact of Covid-19 on elections

  • Universal suffrage amid universal suffering – how natural disasters distort elections

  • How to be fair in warfare? – the impact of armed conflict on elections

  • Does digital mean danger? – how electronic voting, AI and cyber are transforming elections

More information

Draft programme

   Panel speakers (coming soon)

Practical information

Background documents

Coming soon

Practical details

Registration deadline (invitation only): 11 April 2023

Registration for PACE members

PACE Applications


Registration for other participants

Registration form


Booking accommodation and social events

Booking platform


For accreditation, please contact: [email protected]

Photo gallery

Contact us

[email protected]

The event is supported by:

  • Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
  • Venice Commission
  • DGII – Elections and Participatory Democracy Division
  • BernTourism