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Content updated: 11-05-2022 16:27

On information indicated in electoral posters that a candidate for a political representative institution has been found guilty of a criminal act

27-04-2022

The Constitutional Court, by its ruling adopted on 27 April 2022, having examined the petition of a natural person, the petitioner, found paragraph 3 of Article 98 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas, paragraph 3 of Article 96 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, and paragraph 5 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils to be in conflict with paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, insofar as, under the said provisions of the indicated laws, in the electoral poster of a candidate and a poster with the list of candidates, as issued by the electoral commission, in the cases provided for by the above-mentioned laws, information about a candidate having been found guilty of a criminal act is presented beside the name of the candidate in a uniform manner.

Implementing its duty, arising from the Constitution, among others, from paragraph 2 of Article 34 thereof, to ensure the transparency of the electoral process and the publicity of information important to voters, the legislature, when regulating the manner of how information in the electoral poster of a candidate and a poster with the list of candidates, as issued by the electoral commission, is presented about a candidate having been found guilty of a criminal act, must take into account that a criminal act committed by the person can be varied in nature, it can be committed not only intentionally, but also negligently, and can be more dangerous or less dangerous.

Assessing the impugned legal regulation, the Constitutional Court noted that, having prescribed that the electoral poster of a candidate and a poster with the list of candidates, as issued by the electoral commission, must, in a uniform manner, present information that a candidate for a member of a political representative institution has been found guilty of a criminal act (both where the person has committed a particularly serious crime and where the person has committed a criminal act that is not considered a crime because it is less serious, regardless of whether the criminal act was committed intentionally or negligently, also regardless of when the person was found guilty of the criminal act), the legal regulation in question laid down no preconditions for properly providing the electorate at the time of the vote with information important to them about the candidate and not misleading them in making the decision as to the suitability of the candidate. Thus, such a legal regulation does not secure, as implied by the Constitution, among others, paragraph 2 of Article 34 thereof, the transparency of the process of elections to the Seimas and the publicity of information important to voters about the particularly significant facts regarding the life of the subjects exercising their passive electoral right.

The above-mentioned legal regulation also did not provide preconditions for sufficiently individualising the presentation of information that a candidate for a member of a political representative institution has been found guilty of a criminal act; therefore, the possibilities of seeking to be elected for persons exercising their passive electoral right were limited by this legal regulation more than is necessary for achieving a constitutionally justifiable objective.