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This question arises out of a previous question on Hungary's prospects to overturn autocratic rule after an unlikely election victor of the unified opposition titled: Is it possible that the ECJ will annul the decrees of prima facie constitutional use of the Orban government in Hungary?.


Is there any case law by the European Court of Human Rights in a matter where a High Contracting Party was found to have deprived its people of their right to free elections? If so, what cases are they?

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Yes, this has come before the Court.

Some prominent examples are -

  1. Mathieu-Mohin and Clerfayt v Belgium (1987), the first time Article 3 was before the European Court of Human Rights, on the complex Belgian system of balancing French-speaking and Dutch-speaking electoral institutions
  2. Matthews v United Kingdom (1999), on whether people in Gibraltar should be able to vote in elections to the European Parliament
  3. Hirst v United Kingdom (No 2) (2005), on whether the UK could have a blanket ban on voting applicable to all prisoners
  4. Riza and others v Bulgaria (2015), on selective interference with the electoral count

In all but the first of these, the Court found a violation of Article 3 of the Protocol. At other times, it has given deference to a State's particular processes, or ruled that a complaint was inadmissible because it did not pertain to the covered type of election.

You may be interested to read the Court's guide to its case-law on the topic (a 34-page PDF) which includes many more citations, and an explanation of the legal reasoning involved.

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  • By the way, welcome to the site, amazing post!
    – kisspuska
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 16:05

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