A European Convention on Election Standards is capable of strengthening stability on the continent

The adoption of a European Convention on Standards of Elections, Suffrage and Freedoms would contribute to the real strengthening of principles of democracy during elections and to the strengthening of stability on the whole continent. This opinion was expressed on Thursday by chairman of the Central Election Commission (TsIK) of Russia Alexander Veshnyakov.

Addressing the International Conference of the Association of Elections Organisers of Central and Eastern Europe, which has opened in Moscow, Alexander Veshnyakov, who is also the chairman of the Association's Council, pointed out that "the fixing of universal election standards in a document of European importance would secure a certain protection for the member-countries from the unfounded interference into the spheres of their life which are connected with the internal political peculiarities in these countries." In the opinion of Alexander Veshnyakov, "experience itself convincingly shows that until we have such a document, the appraisals of the elections in our countries would be far from objective and from the norms of law." The TsIK head reminded the audience that the special report of the group of experts, made on order of the European Commission, says in this connection that "the basic rights are useful only when the citizens know about their existence and about the possibility of using them." In view of this, continued Alexander Veshnyakov, "the recognition and the protection of suffrage do not remove but, on the contrary, strengthen the necessity of codifying these rights in one source whose text would be within the access of every person and understandable to him." For his part Secretary General of the Association Zoltan Tot underscored that at the eleventh year of its existence the organisation "is entering a new, important stage - the stage of working out basic principles of the election system in Europe." He underscored that "all eighteen member-countries of the Association are already using these principles in their practical activity." Zoltan Tot reminded the audience that, as is expected, very soon the Association will sign a treaty on cooperation with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The slogan of the Association, said Zoltan Tot, is: "Strength in the Vote, not in Weapons." With these words he presented the Association's voting paper with this motto to Russian President Vladimir Putin who was present at the conference.

The annual International Conference of the Association of Election Organisers of the Central and East European Countries is attended by representatives of thirty-five countries of Europe, Asia, Africa and America, including eighteen member-countries of the Association. They will have to discuss the problems of the international-legal foundation of democratic elections in Europe and the draft European Convention on Standards of Elections, Suffrage and Freedoms which will be sent to the Council of Europe.

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