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Article 1 Protocol 3

Article 1 Protocol 3 provides as follows:
"The High Contracting Parties shall hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature."

This Article imposes obligations on States rather than creating rights for individuals. This provision includes the right to vote and the right of candidates to stand for election.

States are under an obligation not to impose any form of pressure as to the choice of candidates at elections: Moureaux v Ors (1983) DR 97.

Protocol 1 Article 3 does not require that every vote is given equal weight; different electoral systems all involve wasted votes and there is no obligation to introduce proportional representation.

Access to the media must not be discriminatory. However, a wide margin of appreciation applies under this Article and the Strasbourg authorities have been slow to strike down national rules relating to election coverage (Tete v France (1987) 54 DR 52).


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