Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

The Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE (OSCE PA) is an institution of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The primary task of the 323-member Assembly is to facilitate inter-parliamentary dialogue, an important aspect of the overall effort to meet the challenges of democracy throughout the OSCE area. The Parliamentary Assemblies of Objectives which are stated in the preamble of the Assembly of Rules of Procedure: assessment of the implementation of OSCE objectives by participating States; OSCE Heads of State or Government; develop and promote mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflicts; support for the strengthening and consolidation of democratic institutions in OSCE OSCE institutional institutions and relations and co-operation between OSCE institutions.

To pursue these objectives, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly employs a variety of means: a Final Declaration and a number of resolutions and recommendations are adopted each year at the Annual Session; committee work addresses important contemporary international issues; different programs, including an extensive Election Observation Program, and various seminars, have been designed to develop and strengthen democracy; and delegations are sent on special missions to areas of latent or active crisis.  [1]

The Parliamentary Assembly was prepared by the 1990 Paris Summit to promote greater involvement in the OSCE by national parliaments of the participating States. By passing resolutions and issuing formal recommendations to the OSCE’s governmental side and parliaments, it aims to pursue the implementation of OSCE objectives by participating States, including through legislative action.  [2]

Parliamentary Committees and Groups

The three General Committees correspond to the three main sections of the Helsinki Final Act: the General Committee on Political Affairs and Security; the General Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment; and the General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues.

The Standing Committee consists of Heads of National Delegations to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Members of the Bureau. The Standing Committee and the Bureau prepare the work of the Assembly between sessions and ensure the efficient operation of the Assembly.

Many other committees and groups address specific issues or areas that can benefit from parliamentary attention. The Standing Committee approved the creation of bodies and work in Belarus and Moldova as well as the need for greater transparency and accountability in the OSCE.  [3]

Election Observation

At the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Annual Session in Helsinki (1993) the then Chairperson-in-Office, Swedish Foreign Minister Baroness Margaretha af Ugglas, urged parliamentarians to active participation in election observation and monitoring. In response to this call, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has developed a particularly active program for observing elections in the OSCE area.

More than 5,000 parliamentarians from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly have observed some 140 elections since 1993, using their experience as elected officials to enhance the credibility and visibility of the OSCE election observation work.

President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE

OSCE President Ilkka Kanerva (left) with Secretary General Spencer Oliver (right)

At each Annual Session the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly elects a president who acts as the highest representative of the Assembly, appoints Special Representatives on topics of concern, recommends to the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Leaders of OSCE election observation missions, and presides over meetings of the Assembly. The president is elected for one year and may be re-elected for an additional one-year term.

In June 2014 Ilkka Kanerva from Finland was elected the new president of the Parliamentary Assembly. Kanerva is the former minister of Finland who was sacked in 2008 after sending over 200 text messages to Johanna Tukiainen an erotic dancer. Then Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen had said that „Kanerva has shown a great lack of judgment … he does not enjoy the full trust of a minister needs,“.  [4]  Kanerva initially denied the reports  [5]  but later claimed the messages were work related.  [6]  Previously, in 2005, when Kanerva was deputy speaker of the parliament he had been rebuked for sending text messages to two nude models  [7]


In 2010 the International Peace Institute called for the OSCE PA to update its election monitoring guidelines and procedures. The institute also criticizes the OSCE’s role of leadership and election-monitoring by stating that „Parliamentarians parachuted in to read out headline-grabbing statements under the credibility of long-term and constructive election monitoring“  [8]

In 2010 the Parliamentary Assembly was criticized from within the Latvian delegation for lack of transparency and democracy. OSCE Secretary General Robert Spencer Oliver (b.1938), who had held the post since the organization’s inception in 1992, faced a challenge from the Latvian Artis Pabriks . According to the rules of the OSCE, the Assembly had a full consensus on the vote of the Standing Committee, which included 56 heads of delegations. A full consensus minus one vote would require 55 votes. The incumbent Secretary General however only needed a simple majority to be re-appointed.  [9] A rule change proposed by Pabriks, would also require consensus minus one vote. Pabriks called the rules „quite shocking from the perspective of an organization that’s monitoring elections“  [10]

In 2004, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly sent elections to the US presidential election. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is president of the Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings . Hastings had previously been impeached for corruption by the US Congress. The OSCE has been criticized by the United States for the past two years and has made the OSCE’s mandate to promote democracy and the values ​​of civil society.  [11]

Presidents, Vice Presidents and Secretaries General


  • Christine Muttonen (2016-2018)
  • Ilkka Kanerva (2014-2016)
  • Ranko Krivokapić (2013-2014)
  • Wolfgang Grossruck (2013)
  • Riccardo Migliori (2012-2013)
  • Petros Efthymiou (2010-2012)
  • Joao Soares (2008-2010)
  • Goran Lennmarker (2006-2008)
  • Alcee L. Hastings (2004-2006)
  • Bruce George (2002-2004)
  • Adrian Severin (2000-2002)
  • Helle Degn (1998-2000)
  • Javier Ruperez (1996-1998)
  • Frank Swaelen (1994-1996)
  • Ilkka Suominen (1992-1994)
Current Vice-Presidents

  • Kent Harstedt (Sweden)
  • Isabel Pozuelo (Spain)
  • Alain Neri (France)
  • Robert Aderholt (United States)
  • George Tsereteli (Georgia)
  • Vilija Aleknaite Abramikiene (Lithuania)
  • Doris Barnett (Germany)
  • Emin Onen (Turkey)
Secretaries General

  • Roberto Montella (2016-)
  • Robert Spencer Oliver (1992-2015)


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  8. Jump up^  International Peace Institute (October 2010). Issue Brief: Reaching the OSCE Summit in Astana pp. 5.
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