QuotesQuotes based on international documents, law, and treaties
- "As to the nature of the rights thus enshrined in Article 3 (P1-3), the view taken by the Commission has evolved. From the idea of an "institutional" right to the holding of free elections (decision of 18 September 1961 on the admissibility of application no. 1028/61, X v. Belgium, Yearbook of the Convention, vol. 4, p. 338) the Commission has moved to the concept of "universal suffrage" (see particularly the decision of 6 October 1967 on the admissibility of application no. 2728/66, X v. the Federal Republic of Germany, op. cit., vol. 10, p. 338) and then, as a consequence, to the concept of subjective rights of participation - the "right to vote" and the "right to stand for election to the legislature" (see in particular the decision of 30 May 1975 on the admissibility of applications nos. 6745-6746/76, W, X, Y and Z v. Belgium, op. cit., vol. 18, p. 244). "
- "The rights in question are not absolute. Since Article 3 (P1-3) recognises them without setting them forth in express terms, let alone defining them, there is room for implied limitations (see, mutatis mutandis, the Golder judgment of 21 February 1975, Series A no. 18, pp. 18-19, § 38). 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 (P1-3) (Collected Edition of the "Travaux Préparatoires", vol. III, p. 264, and vol. IV, p. 24). 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 (P1) 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, amongst other authorities and mutatis mutandis, the Lithgow and Others judgment of 8 July 1986, Series A no. 102, p. 71, § 194). In particular, such conditions must not thwart "the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature". "
- "As regards the method of appointing the ""legislature"", Article 3 (P1-3) provides only for "free" elections "at reasonable intervals", "by secret ballot" and "under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people". Subject to that, it does not create any "obligation to introduce a specific system" (""Travaux Préparatoires"", vol. VII, pp. 130, 202 and 210, and vol. VIII, p. 14) such as proportional representation or majority voting with one or two ballots. Here too the Court recognises that the Contracting States have a wide margin of appreciation, given that their legislation on the matter varies from place to place and from time to time. Electoral systems seek to fulfil objectives which are sometimes scarcely compatible with each other: on the one hand, to reflect fairly faithfully the opinions of the people, and on the other, to channel currents of thought so as to promote the emergence of a sufficiently clear and coherent political will. In these circumstances the phrase "conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature" implies essentially - apart from freedom of expression (already protected under Article 10 of the Convention) (art. 10) - the principle of equality of treatment of all citizens in the exercise of their right to vote and their right to stand for election. It does not follow, however, that all votes must necessarily have equal weight as regards the outcome of the election or that all candidates must have equal chances of victory. Thus no electoral system can eliminate "wasted votes". For the purposes of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-3), any electoral system must be assessed in the light of the political evolution of the country concerned; features that would be unacceptable in the context of one system may accordingly be justified in the context of another, at least so long as the chosen system provides for conditions which will ensure the ""free … "
- "The Court recalls that the rights set out in Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 are not absolute, but may be subject to limitations. The Contracting States enjoy a wide margin of appreciation in imposing conditions on the right to vote, 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 right to vote to such an extent as to impair its very essence and deprive it of effectiveness; that they are imposed in pursuit of a legitimate aim; and that the means employed are not disproportionate. In particular, such conditions must not thwart “the free expression of the people in the choice of the legislature” (see the above-mentioned Mathieu-Mohin and Clerfayt judgment, p. 23, § 52). "
- "The Court reiterates that 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”, involves the subjective rights to vote and to stand for election. Yet however important they may be, those rights 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 Mathieu-Mohin and Clerfayt v. Belgium, 2 March 1987, § 52, Series A no. 113). Under their respective legal systems, the Contracting States enjoy a wide margin of appreciation in imposing conditions on the right to vote, which conditions are not, in principle, precluded by Article 3, 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 right to vote to such an extent as to impair its very essence and deprive it of effectiveness; that they are imposed in pursuit of a legitimate aim; and that the means employed are not disproportionate. "
- "As regards restrictions on the exercise of the right to vote abroad based on the criterion of the voter’s place of residence, Convention institutions have in the past accepted several reasons justifying such restrictions: first of all, the presumption that a non-resident citizen is less directly or less continually concerned with his country’s day-to-day problems and has less knowledge of them; secondly, the fact that it is impracticable for the parliamentary candidates to present the different electoral issues to citizens abroad and that non-resident citizens have no influence on the selection of candidates or on the formulation of their electoral programmes; thirdly, the close connection between the right to vote in parliamentary elections and the fact of being directly affected by the acts of the political bodies so elected; and, fourthly, the legitimate concern the legislature may have to limit the influence of citizens living abroad in elections on issues which, while admittedly fundamental, primarily affect persons living in the country (see Hilbe v. Liechtenstein (dec.), no. 31981/96, ECHR 1999-VI ; X and association Y v. Italy, no. 8987/80, Commission decision of 6 May 1981, Decisions and Reports (DR) 24, p. 192 ; and Polacco and Garofalo v. Italy, no. 23450/94, Commission decision of 15 September 1997, DR 90-B, p. 5). More recently the Court held that having to satisfy a residence or length-of-residence requirement in order to have or exercise the right to vote in elections is not, in principle, an arbitrary restriction of the right to vote and is therefore not incompatible with Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (see Doyle v. the United Kingdom (dec.), no. 30158/06, 6 February 2007, and Sitaropoulos and Giakoumopoulos v. Greece [GC], no. 42202/07, § 69, ECHR 2012). "
- "The Court found that the right to vote cannot be construed as laying down a general guarantee that every voter should be able to find on the ballot paper the candidate or the party he had intended to vote for. It reiterates, nevertheless, that the free expression of the opinion of the people is inconceivable without the participation of a plurality of political parties representing the different shades of opinion to be found within a country’s population."
- "The Court reiterates that national practices concerning voting rights for expatriates and the exercise of such rights are far from being uniform across the States Parties. Broadly speaking, Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 does not impose on States Parties any obligation to enable citizens resident abroad to exercise their right to vote (see Sitaropoulos and Giakoumopoulos [GC], cited above, §§ 74 and 75). Furthermore, the work of the Venice Commission has shown that withholding or limiting the voting rights of expatriates does not amount to a restriction on the principle of universal suffrage. In fact, the different interests involved should be weighed up, including the State’s choice to enable its expatriate citizens to exercise their voting rights, practical and security considerations relating to the exercise of this right, and the technical arrangements for implementing it. "
- "Expresses concern that, despite progress made towards the full implementation of the right to participate in public affairs worldwide, many people continue to face obstacles, including discrimination, in the enjoyment of their right to participate in the public affairs of their countries as well as in the enjoyment of other human rights that enable it;"
- "[Consider] signing and ratifying or acceding to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other core international human rights treaties. "
- "Tak[e] all necessary measures to eliminate laws, regulations and practices that discriminate, directly or indirectly, against citizens in their right to participate in public affairs on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, or on the basis of disability. "
- "Tak[e] proactive measures to eliminate all barriers in law and in practice that prevent or hinder citizens, in particular women, persons belonging to marginalized groups or minorities, persons with disabilities and persons in vulnerable situations, from participating fully in effectively in political and public affairs, including, inter alia, reviewing and repealing measures that unreasonably restrict the right to participate in public affairs, and considering adopting, on the basis of reliable data on participation, temporary special measure, including legislative acts, aimed at increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in all aspects of political and public life; "