Keywords: equal representation; gender equality; gender quotas; right to free elections; right to freedom of expression
In its decision of 12 November 2019 the European Court of Human Rights refused to accept the applicants’ complaints in the case of Zevnik and Others against Slovenia on the alleged violations of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1, Articles 6 and 10 as being manifestly ill-founded. Nevertheless, this decision is of particular interest since it raises the issues of gender quotas in the electoral process and of the equal gender representation. The Court held that although the Member States are granted a wide margin of appreciation with regard to the multiple ways in which an electoral system can be organized and run, however, stricter requirements could be established for those willing to stand for election to parliament. The Court emphasized that the promotion of gender equality is today an important goal for the Council of Europe Member States, as it is one of the necessary conditions for the legitimacy of democracy. In agreeing with the positions of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court of Slovenia, the Court also ruled that political parties and those composing the lists of candidates for elections should be aware of the gender quota requirements and should exercise due diligence in order to prevent violations of these requirements. The alternative measures requested by the applicants (to reject the candidate lists partially or to exclude male candidates) were unacceptable without appropriate justification. Finally, the Court concluded, with reference to the case of the Communist Party of Russia and Others v. Russia, that the Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 does not guarantee as such any right to provide the political party with airtime on radio or television during the election campaign.
Citation: (2019) Evropeyskiy Sud po pravam cheloveka: obzor resheniya ot 12 noyabrya 2019 goda (Sektsiya II) po delu Zevnik (Zevnik) i drugie protiv Slovenii (zhaloba No. 54893/18) [European Court of Human Rights: review of the decision of 12 November 2019 (Section II) in the case of Zevnik and Others v. Slovenia (application no. 54893/18)]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 16–20. (In Russian).