Council of Europe parliamentarians to assess alleged electoral fraud in the United Kingdom
Strasbourg, 17.10.2006 – A committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) is to assess whether or not electoral fraud in the United Kingdom merits the opening of the Assembly’s “monitoring procedure”.
Meeting yesterday in Yerevan, Armenia, PACE’s Monitoring Committee appointed two of its members, former German Justice Minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin (SOC) and Polish Senator Urszula Gacek (EPP/CD), to look into allegations of irregularities involving postal and absentee votes in Birmingham, Blackburn, Coventry and London.
The decision was in response to a motion for a resolution signed by 18 members of the Assembly, which said there was “a growing body of evidence that widespread absent vote fraud is taking place in the United Kingdom” and pointing out that holding free elections is an obligation of all Council of Europe member states.
The motion calls for the opening of a monitoring procedure, which involves ongoing dialogue with a member state on the state of its democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as periodic plenary debates on its progress in honouring its Council of Europe obligations and commitments.
The two parliamentarians said they intended to visit London and, if necessary, other parts of the United Kingdom before reporting their conclusions to the committee, which can then make a recommendation. A final decision on whether or not to open monitoring is taken by the plenary Assembly.
Ten of the Council of Europe’s 46 member states – Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Monaco, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine – are currently subject to monitoring, which is obligatory for all states when they join the Organisation. A request to open a monitoring procedure for Italy, in connection with the media situation there, is also currently being evaluated.