"The Court reiterates that Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 enshrines a characteristic principle of an effective political democracy and is accordingly of prime importance in the Convention system (see Mathieu-Mohin and Clerfayt v. Belgium, 2 March 1987, § 47, Series A no. 113). This Article would appear at first to differ from the other provisions of the Convention and its Protocols, as it is phrased in terms of the obligation of the High Contracting Parties to hold elections under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people rather than in terms of a particular right or freedom. However, having regard to the travaux préparatoires of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 and the interpretation of the provision in the context of the Convention as a whole, the Court has held that it also implies individual rights, including the right to vote and the right to stand for election (ibid., § 51). It has also held that the standards to be applied for establishing compliance with Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 must be considered to be less stringent than those applied under Articles 8 to 11 of the Convention (see Ždanoka v. Latvia [GC], no. 58278/00, § 115, ECHR 2006-IV). "