Today, the Council of Europe's Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights has issued a new thematic factsheet on the right to free elections. Here is a brief description:
''The European Court has underlined that democracy constitutes a fundamental element of the “European public order”. The right to free elections guaranteed under Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights is crucial to establishing and maintaining the foundations of an effective and meaningful democracy governed by the rule of law and is accordingly of prime importance to the Convention system. The Convention does not lay down an obligation of abstention or non-interference, as with most civil and political rights, but one of adoption by the state, as the ultimate guarantor of pluralism, of positive measures to guarantee democratic legislative elections. The Court has established that the right to free elections also implies individual rights, including the right to vote and to stand for election. The present factsheet provides examples of general and individual measures reported by states in the context of the execution of the European Court’s judgments concerning: the adoption of legislative measures to ensure voting rights; restrictions on the right to vote; prisoners’ voting rights; electoral registration of candidate members of parliament (MPs) and of political parties; and regulation of electoral disputes including effective remedies.''