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Abdalov and others v. Azerbaijan, Nos. 28508/11, 37602/11, 43776/11, ECtHR (Fifth Section), 11 July 2019

Type Judgment
Case number 28508/11


Late registration by national authorities of certain election candidates and the right to free elections.

Normative references

Art. 3 Prot. 1 ECHR


1. Although art. 3 Protocol 1 ECHR is worded in such a way as to bind States Parties to hold free and regular elections which guarantee the free expression of the opinion of the people rather than in terms of any particular right or freedom, the Court has held that individual rights, including the right to vote and the right to stand for election, also derive from this provision.

2. The late registration by the competent authorities of certain candidates wishing to stand for election constitutes a violation of art. 3 Protocol 1 ECHR, as the individual right of candidates to stand freely and effectively in elections under fair and democratic conditions is seriously undermined. Furthermore, the right to free elections is restricted to such an extent that it is significantly impaired.
(In the present case, the Azerbaijani authorities had initially denied the applicants the possibility of standing for election, but then accepted the applications, but at a time so close to the elections as to significantly affect the applicants' chances of being elected).