Candidates must be permitted to run either as party candidates or individually.
- Persons who are otherwise eligible to stand election should not be excluded by unreasonable or discriminatory requirements such as education, residence, or descent, or by reason of political affiliation.
- The Court observes that, in comparative electoral law, the regulation of the right to be elected, as regards the registration of the candidacies, may be executed in two ways: by the system of registration of candidates exclusively by the political parties, or by the system of registration of candidacies by the political parties, together with the possibility of registering independent candidacies. In the region, there is a certain balance between the States that have establishes the system of registration exclusively by parties and those that also allow independent candidacies.
- Lastly, the Court considers that both systems, one built on the exclusive basis of political parties, and the other that also allows independent candidacies can be compatible with the Convention and, therefore, the decision on which system to choose is subject to the political decision made by the State, in accordance with its constitutional norms. The Court is aware that there is a profound crisis as regards the political parties, the legislatures and those who conduct public affairs in the region, which calls for a thorough and thoughtful debate on political participation and representation, transparency, and the rapprochement of the institutions to the people, in brief, on strengthening and improving democracy. Civil society and the State have the fundamental responsibility, which cannot be waived, to carry out this discussion and make proposals to reverse the situation. In this regard, the States must assess the measures that will strengthen political rights and democracy according to their particular historical and political evolution, and independent candidacies may be one among many of these mechanisms.
- It is unreasonable to restrict the right to vote on the ground of physical disability or to impose literacy, educational or property requirements. Party membership should not be a condition of eligibility to vote, nor a ground of disqualification.
- Regarding whether the measure was adapted to achieving the legitimate objective sought, based on the above the Court finds that, in the instant case, the exclusivity of nomination by political parties to elected office at the federal level is an appropriate measure to produce the legitimate result sought of organizing the electoral processes efficiently in order to hold genuine periodic elections, by universal and equal suffrage and by secret vote that guarantee the free expression of the will of the voters, as established by the American Convention.
- Independent candidacies can be regulated to facilitate and expand access to the right to be elected, but at times the requirements for registering independent candidacies can be greater than those established for the nomination of a candidate by a political party. The mere fact that independent candidacies are allowed does not mean that this is the least restrictive way to regulate the right to be elected. The essential point is that whichever of the two systems is chosen, it should make accessible and guarantee the right and the opportunity to be elected established in the Convention, under equal conditions.
- Neither of the two systems: exclusive nomination by political parties or the one that allows independent candidacies is, in itself, more or less restrictive than the other in terms of regulating the right to be elected embodied in Article 23 of the Convention. The Court considers that it is not possible to make an abstract assessment of whether the system that allows independent candidacies is a less restrictive alternative for regulating the right to be elected than the other that does not allow them. This will depend on diverse circumstances, especially on how the abovementioned aspects of the independent candidacies are regulated or on the regulation of the candidacies presented by parties.
- To ensure that the will of the people serves as the basis of the authority of government, the participating States will: respect the right of citizens to seek political or public office, individually or as representatives of political parties or organizations, without discrimination.
- Individuals should be able to stand as independent candidates as well as nominees of a political party.
- Candidates seeking office must be permitted to run either as party candidates or individually. In countries using proportionate representation based on party list voting, parties must be allowed to include persons who are not party members on the party lists. In addition, candidates cannot be discriminated against regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof.