"In Podkolzina v. Latvia (no. 46726/99, ECHR 2002-II), the Court reiterated that the right to stand as a candidate in an election, which is guaranteed by Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 and is inherent in the concept of a truly democratic regime, would only be illusory if one could be arbitrarily deprived of it at any moment. Consequently, while it is true that States have a wide margin of appreciation when establishing eligibility conditions in the abstract, the principle that rights must be effective requires the finding that this or that candidate has failed to satisfy them to comply with a number of criteria framed to prevent arbitrary decisions. In particular, such a finding must be reached by a body which can provide a minimum of guarantees of its impartiality. Similarly, the discretion enjoyed by the body concerned must not be exorbitantly wide; it must be circumscribed, with sufficient precision, by the provisions of domestic law. Lastly, the procedure for declaring a candidate ineligible must be such as to ensure a fair and objective decision and prevent any abuse of power on the part of the relevant authority (ibid., § 35). "
DocumentCoE (ECHR): Case of Kovach v. Ukraine, para. 54
- In the determination of suits at law the independence and impartiality of tribunals is an absolute right.
- Impartiality requires that judges act without bias, and that the tribunal appears unbiased to the reasonable observer.
- Limits on those wishing to run for office must be based on objective and reasonable criteria.