Realising political equality: the European Court of Human Rights and positive obligations in a democracy

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Abstract

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) speaks of the importance of an“effective political democracy” in its Preamble, though it is only in the first protocolthat we find a right to free elections. Article 3 of Protocol 1 (P1-3) reads as follows: "The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonableintervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expressionof the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature."This paper discusses the role of “positive obligations” under P1-3. It identifiespositive obligations that might contribute to realising equal political rights in an effectivepolitical democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-279
JournalNorthern Ireland Legal Quarterly
Volume61
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2010

Keywords

  • Political rights
  • European human rights law
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • political equality

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