U-I-49/06

Reference no.:
U-I-49/06
ECLI:
ECLI:SI:USRS:2006:U.I.49.06
Abstract:
By the challenged regulation (Art. 68.2 of the Local Elections Act) the legislature determined the required number of signatures for running for a member of a municipal council in the proportion of all eligible voters in a voting unit, whereby it also determined the greatest required number of signatures (2,500). The determination of the required number in the proportion of all eligible voters is not constitutionally disputable. However, in determining the proportion the legislature should have considered the fact that voter turn-out is never 100 %. From the data that the Constitutional Court acquired from the Republic Electoral Commission it follows that even at the 2002 local elections, when the voter turn-out was approximately 10 % higher than at the previous local elections, for election in certain municipalities it was necessary to obtain a lower number of votes of all eligible voters than signatures required for standing for election in conformity with the challenged regulation. Such situation occurred in the Urban Municipality of Maribor (hereinafter MOM).
 
In the regulation of standing for election at local elections it is necessary to consider that the ensuring of legally equal possibilities of all, also independent candidates, at the local level is very important. Local elections are an important part of local self-governance and as such an expression of people's sovereignty and a condition for a democratic forming of local self-government authorities. The standing for election of independent candidates or lists of candidates is in addition to political parties thus one of important mechanisms of the participation of inhabitants of a municipality in deciding at the local level. The legislature stated as a goal of the challenged regulation the prevention of particularization of municipal councils and thereby their effective operation. According to the Constitutional Court, the mentioned reason stated by the legislature could entail a constitutionally admissible goal, however, concerning the constitutional admissibility of such a goal the interference must not be excessive. Such evident excessiveness is present in the case at issue as from the information gathered it follows that in the MOM in conformity with the challenged regulation for standing for election it would be necessary to obtain 912 signatures more than it was necessary to obtain votes at the 2002 local elections to take office in the municipal council. Concerning the mentioned the challenged regulation entails an inadmissible interference with the rights of independent candidates or lists of candidates, which is not proportionate to the pursued goal, i.e. to ensure a greater effectiveness of the operation of municipal councils.
 
Furthermore, the petitioners claimed the unconstitutionality of Art. 54 of the Local Elections Act, which determines the rules of the standing for election of independent candidates in municipalities where elections are carried out in accordance with the majority system. However, the petitioners, who are voters having permanent residence in the municipalities in which elections are carried out according to the proportional system, substantiated only the inconsistency of the provision on standing for election in a proportional system, while they did not substantiate the alleged unconstitutionality of Art. 54 of the Local Elections Act. Therefore, regarding such allegations, the Constitutional Court could not review the petition and dismissed such in this part as evidently unsubstantiated.
 
In accordance with the challenged provision of Art. 106 of the Local Elections Act, independent candidates who want to run for a mayor must obtain 2 % of signatures of voters having permanent residence in the municipality. The candidate who obtains the majority of valid votes is elected mayor (Art. 107.1 of the Local Elections Act). This entails that in order to stand for election an independent candidate must obtain 2 % of signatures of voters having their permanent residence in the municipality, while for being elected he or she needs more than 50 % of votes of those who voted. From the above-mentioned it follows that the number of votes that is necessary for election is essentially greater than the number of signatures that is necessary for an independent candidate to run for a mayor. Thus, the required support for running for a mayor evidently does not prevent the standing for election of those candidates who have at least a minimal possibility for being elected.
Document in PDF:
Type of procedure:
review of constitutionality and legality of regulations and other general acts
Type of act:
statute
Date of application:
20.02.2006
Date of decision:
22.06.2006
Type of decision adopted:
0x
Outcome of proceedings:
annulment or annulment ab initio 0x 0x
Document:
AN02879