"The Court points out that implicit in Article 3 of Protocol No. 1, which provides for “free” elections at “reasonable intervals” “by secret ballot” and “under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people”, are the subjective rights to vote and to stand for election. Although those rights are important, they are not absolute. Since Article 3 recognises them without setting them forth in express terms, let alone defining them, there is room for implied limitations (see the Mathieu-Mohin and Clerfayt v. Belgium judgment of 2 March 1987, Series A no. 113, p. 23, § 52). In their internal legal orders the Contracting States make the rights to vote and to stand for election subject to conditions which are not in principle precluded under Article 3. They have a wide margin of appreciation in this sphere, but it is for the Court to determine in the last resort whether the requirements of Protocol No. 1 have been complied with; it has to satisfy itself that the conditions do not curtail the rights in question to such an extent as to impair their very essence and deprive them of their effectiveness; that they are imposed in pursuit of a legitimate aim; and that the means employed are not disproportionate (see the Gitonas and Others v. Greece judgment of 1 July 1997, Reports 1997-IV, pp. 1233-34, § 39, and Matthews v. the United Kingdom [GC], no. 24833/94, § 63, ECHR 1999-I). "