Case: Two members representing a certain primary school resigned from a youth council in a municipality. The electoral regulations, which are part of the youth council’s statute, stipulate that elections to the youth council are universal and take place in individual schools within the municipality, which constitute constituencies. However, there are no regulations regarding by-elections.

Can the youth council supplement its composition?

IREPSO Answer:

The method of selecting members of the youth council is a mandatory part of its statute, in the light of Article 5b (10) of the Act on Municipal Self-Government. Therefore, it is the municipal council that, by issuing a statute to the youth council, sets the rules and the way in which individual members can be elected. Such regulations may be included directly in the statute or in the electoral regulations, which should be an annex to the statute. However, according to the principles of legislative technique, it would be more advisable to specify the rules for conducting elections in a chapter of the youth council’s statute.

However, there may be a situation, as in the present case, where the regulations do not establish any rules for conducting by-elections. This situation certainly makes it difficult for the youth council to function, so it is recommended that the statutory provisions include at least one paragraph with a simple regulation such as “In the event of a member’s resignation or dismissal from the youth council in his/her constituency, a by-election shall be held in accordance with the regulations…”.

Nevertheless, the situation of the absence of such regulations constitutes a serious legal gap, because if the rules regarding by-elections are not specified, the youth council cannot supplement its composition in this way. Furthermore, the mandate remains vacant because there are no provisions for its filling. Due to the fact that we are dealing here with administrative law and the principle of legality, certain situations or competencies (such as in the case where, in the event of a member’s resignation from the youth council, the candidate with the highest number of votes in the election in his/her constituency takes his/her place) cannot be presumed in such a situation. Therefore, it is important to include appropriate provisions regarding by-elections in the statute.