Statement by Golos Association on the Decision of Constitutional Court on the Constitutionality of Statutes Allowing Only the Use of the Proportional System in Municipal Elections

06 июля 2011 г.

GOLOS Association strongly supports today’s ruling of the Constitutional Court upholding the complaint brought by Yuri Gurman and Ivan Boltushenko to have a 100% proportional system for municipal and local elections, under which only those Russian citizens nominated by eligible political parties are allowed to run for local deputies, declared unconstitutional.

Statement by Golos Association on the Decision of Constitutional Court on the Constitutionality of Statutes Allowing Only the Use of the Proportional System in Municipal Elections
GOLOS Association strongly supports today’s ruling of the Constitutional Court upholding the complaint brought by Yuri Gurman and Ivan Boltushenko to have a 100% proportional system for municipal and local elections, under which only those Russian citizens nominated by eligible political parties are allowed to run for local deputies, declared unconstitutional.

The Court’s ruling protects a range of rights guaranteed by the Constitution, specifically, the decision reinforced the right of Russian citizens to be elected to local governments (Article 32) irrespective of their party affiliation.

We note that before 2009, candidates were freely permitted to run as independents for all local and municipal governments. That year, the Cheliabinsk region amended its regional legislation regarding local and municipal elections to restrict candidates to only those willing and able to run on political party slates. Because they did not share the political views of any of the platforms of parties eligible to run in those elections, Yuri Gurman and Ivan Boltushenko were unable to run on the slate of any of those parties and were thereby deprived of their right to freely run for office.

In its decision the Constitutional Court recommends to amend the Law on Basic Guarantees of Citizens’ Electoral Rights and the regional Law on Local Governments of the Chelyabinsk region in order to rule out 100% party list elections in small rural settlements. GOLOS expects that the amendments to the federal law will bring about respective amendments to all regional laws on local governments.

Golos Association is dedicated to protecting the rights of voters and nothing could be more violative of this right than arbitrarily reducing the choice of candidates voters have at the ballot box. The Court’s decision today is a small but important step down the road to fair, free and democratic elections in our country. GOLOS Association will be monitoring the implementation of the Ruling of the Constitutional Court by the federal State Duma and by regional legislatures, and will be informing the public about it.