Wahlrechtsausschluss für Entmündigte: Auf Polen kommt Ärger zu

The Constitution of the Republic of Poland provides, in Article 62, that citizens of Poland have the right to elect the President, Sejm deputies, senators and members of the local government bodies. Pursuant to subsection 2 of the article, certain groups of people, including legally incapacitated persons, are deprived of the right to vote.

Until recently, the issue has not been raising any controversies, both in Poland and in a few countries abroad. However, the 2010 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Alajos Kiss v. Hungary has changed the legal approach to the electoral rights of persons without legal capacity. Mr Kiss was suffering from manic depression. He argued that his incapacitation should not affect his electoral rights. The applicant contested a blanket and automatic denial of his voting rights, claiming that any such restriction should be acceptable only if a review of the degree of his intellectual incapacity confirms that his mental status actually affects taken electoral decisions. The Strasbourg Court agreed with the applicant’s submissions.

This case was just a beginning. In recent years, a number of institutions, including the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, and the Venice Commission, have spoken about the electoral rights of legally incapacitated persons. Also, the Agency of Fundamental Rights published a comprehensive report on this issue, indicating substantial difference in approach to voting rights in the EU Member States. In September 2013, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a body operating on the basis of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, held that any laws that introduce automatic prohibitions for incapacitated persons are discriminatory in their nature (the case of Zsolt Bujdoso and others v. Hungary). It is better to accept all than to illegally exclude anybody ...

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