Demands on political parties regarding registration should not be so stringent as to jeopardize their freedom of association.
- Countries applying registration procedures to political parties should refrain from imposing excessive requirements for territorial representation of political parties as well as for minimum membership. Matters of internal organisation of political parties, in principle, should not be subject to control by public authorities.
- Requirements for the registration of candidates and political parties which are too strict should be abolished.
- [Political parties] are thus a specific kind of association, which in many countries is submitted to registration for participation in elections or for public financing. This requirement of registration has been accepted, considering it as not per se contrary to the freedom of association, provided that conditions for registration are not too burdensome. And requirements for registration are very different from one country to another: they may include, for instance, organisational conditions, requirement for minimum political activity, of standing for elections, of reaching a certain threshold of votes... However, some pre-conditions for registration of political parties existing in several Council of Europe Member States requiring a certain territorial representation and a minimal number of members for their registration could be problematic in the light of the principle of free association in political parties.
- The prohibition or dissolution of political parties as a particularly far-reaching measure should be used with utmost restraint. Before asking the competent judicial body to prohibit or dissolve a party, governments or other state organs should assess, having regard to the situation of the country concerned, whether the party really represents a danger to the free and democratic political order or to the rights of individuals and whether other, less radical measures could prevent the said danger.
- [Restrictions on registering parties]... should not compromise or violate the basic democratic rights for registering parties. If the demands for the registering authority are too stringent, then people’s democratic rights of association and right to stand for office could be jeopardised.
- Registration as a necessary step for recognition of an association as a political party, for a party’s participation in general elections or for public financing of a party does not per se amount to a violation of rights protected under Articles 11 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Any requirements in relation to registration, however, must be such as are ‘necessary in a democratic society’ and proportionate to the objective sought to be achieved by the measures in question.