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Following the Hirst judgment, the Strasbourg court rules in Alajos Kiss v Hungary on the right to vote for those with mental health problems

Antoine Buyse for the ECHR blog, part of the Guardian Legal Network

Thursday 20 May 2010 11.50 BST 

Today the European Court of Human rights issued an important judgment in a case on voting rights for the mentally disabled: Alajos Kiss v. Hungary. The applicant in the case suffered from manic depression and had for that reason been placed under partial guardianship. Since the Hungarian Constitution contained an absolute voting ban for people put under guardianship, he could not vote in the 2006 parliamentary elections. The European Court held unanimously that such an absolute ban violated the right to free elections of Article 3 of Protocol 1 ECHR.

The Court did accept the Government’s contention that “that only citizens capable of assessing the consequences of their decisions and making conscious and judicious decisions should participate in public affairs” (para. 38.), but did not buy the consequence Hungary attached to it, namely an automatic exclusion from the right to vote. The Court thus held that the ban was disproportionate. It is useful to quote the relevant parts of the Court’s reasoning in full:

Read More:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2010/may/20/european-court-of-human-rights-hungary



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