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Estonia/ Supreme Court/ 5-19-30

Romeo Kalda v. National Electoral Committee (Vabariigi Valimiskomisjon)

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Supreme Court of Estonia (Constitutional Review Chamber)
Decision date:
03/05/2019

Key facts of the case:

The case concerns a complaint against the Estonian National Electoral Committee (Vabariigi Valimiskomisjon)  by Romeo Kalda, a person who has been convicted and is currently serving life sentence in prison. Mr Kalda attempted to register as a candidate in the 2019 European Parliament elections, which the National Electoral Committee denied. He alleged that the national law (European Parliament Elections Act) that denies all prisoners the right to stand as a candidate or vote in the EP elections (as in other elections) violated the Constitution, the ECHR and CFREU. In a wider context, the same person has submitted several successful complaints regarding human rights of prisoners in Estonia, one of which resulted in the ECtHR decision Kalda vs Estonia (17429/10) related to access to the Internet in prison.

Key legal question:

The Court considered whether the ban for prisoners on standing as a candidate at European Parliament elections is compatible with the Constitution and CFREU.

Outcome of the case:

The Court denied the complaint. It applied an analogous decision it held in a case in 2013 related to local government elections, where it held that since the person cannot move freely, it is not unreasonable to exclude the right to stand as candidate for persons serving a prison sentence. It further stated that excluding those from standing as candidates that have strongly violated rules of living together is a legitimate decision by the legislator. It stated that the limitation is in compliance with CFREU.