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Full Access The OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office's election procedure: is there a need for formalized criteria?

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The OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office's election procedure: is there a need for formalized criteria?

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This article examines whether the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) would benefit from having formalized criteria for selecting candidates for the Chairmanship-in-Office (CiO). Currently, no such requirements exist. States voluntarily present their candidacy for chairmanship which is then endorsed or not by the other 55 participating states. Throughout the OSCE's history, electing a CiO has never been controversial, until Kazakhstan submitted its candidacy in 2006. Human rights defenders and some nations questioned Kazakhstan's ability to lead the OSCE due to its poor human rights record. This triggered a debate on whether any criteria for the CiO (can) exist. This article examines the current election system and the benefits that would flow from maintaining that system. The article compares the current system with two alternative scenarios and evaluates their advantages, disadvantages and possible consequences for the OSCE.


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