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Czechia/ Supreme Administrative Court/ Vol 18/2019-13

J.P v. State Electoral Commission (Státní volební komise)

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
The Supreme Administrative Court
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

The Plaintiff demanded that the Supreme Administrative Court nullify the election of all 22 Czech members of the European Parliament elected in the European Parliamentary Election in May 2019. He claimed that the elections were affected by the fact that, according to the legislation in effect, Czech voters are not entitled to vote if they are abroad on the election days; Act No. 62/2003 Coll. on the Elections to the European Parliament (unlike some other Czech election laws) does not grant the possibility to vote at a Czech embassy. The Plaintiff argued that voters living abroad are not able to have an influence on public issues and therefore are not equal to voters living in the CZ.

The Court ruled this court action to be illegitimate. The Court also did not find the effective legislation unconstitutional and did not see any reason to put a preliminary question to the CJEU.

Key legal question:

Is the fact that current Czech legislation does not allow distance voting abroad legitimate, or is this a breach of Czech or EU law?

Outcome of the case:

The Court ruled that this court action is not legitimate. The right to vote abroad does not arise from Czech law or EU law (thus not even from the Charter, the TEU, or the TFEU). The Act on the Election of Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage, as amended by Council Decision 2018/994 of 13 July 2018, only establishes the possibility that member states can allow distance voting but does not make it their duty to do so. Differences between EU member states’ legislation within the EU’s legal framework play no role. Therefore, the Court came to the conclusion that allowing distance voting in the elections to the European Parliament is solely the decision of the legislator.