Limits on individuals wishing to run for office may only be based on objective and reasonable criteria, including a minimum age limit.
- The observance of the principle of universal suffrage means: a) every citizen, upon coming up to the age fixed by the Constitution, laws, has the right to elect and to be elected to the bodies of state power, to local self-governments, other bodies of people’s (national) representation, to elective posts on the conditions and in line with procedures stipulated by the Constitution and laws.
- The law may regulate the exercise of the rights and opportunities referred to in the preceding paragraph [right to participate in government] only on the basis of age, nationality, residence, language, education, civil and mental capacity or sentencing by a competent court in criminal proceedings.
- Any restrictions on the right to stand for election, such as minimum age, must be justifiable on objective and reasonable criteria.
- It may be reasonable to require a higher age for election or appointment to particular offices than for exercising the right to vote.
- [T]he right to stand for election should preferably be acquired at the same age as the right to vote and in any case not later than the age of 25, except where there are specific qualifying ages for certain offices (e.g. member of the upper house of parliament, Head of State).
- Reasonable restrictions on persons wishing to become candidates may include a residency requirement in the country for a certain period of time, minimum support among voters, or the fact of having reached a higher age than the minimum voting age.
- The same principles underlying the right to vote, applies for the right to be a candidate. Often extra restrictions are introduced for being a candidate such as having had residence in the country for some period of time before the elections, or having residence in the constituency, or having reached a higher age than the minimum voting age. Such restrictions may well be acceptable. Provisions must not be introduced for the purpose of damaging specific political forces.
- The rationale for certain conditions such as age or residence is obvious: a sufficient level of maturity and connection to the community.
- Certain requirements for public office are allowed by the Covenant, but these are limited to reasonable bases, such as minimum age and mental capacity.Records of discussions held during the drafting of these provisions are clear on this interpretation.
- The right to be elected may require an age beyond that of the age of majority.
- Reasonable restrictions for persons wishing to become candidates must not unjustly discriminate, and may include...having reached a higher age than the minimum voting age.
- Although some types of restrictions or qualifications on candidacies may be permissible, these should be reasonable and should not involve potentially discriminatory measures, such as a requirement to have excessive numbers of supporting signatures, or unreasonably large financial deposits.
- As with the right to vote, restrictions on the right to be elected must be confined to accepted criteria: age requirements, which may be somewhat higher than the legal voting age in the case of candidacies for high governmental office; citizenship requirements; reasonable residency requirements; and proportionate restrictions or disqualification in cases of findings of mental incapacity and criminal convictions.