HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE DISCUSSES FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS19951018 GENEVA, 17 October (UN Information Service) -- Unreasonable or discriminatory disqualifying factors, such as educational qualifications, political affiliation or residence, should not be used as a means of excluding particular classes of citizens from elective office, members of the Human Rights Committee emphasized this afternoon. As it further discussed its draft general comment on article 25 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Committee affirmed that excessive financial deposits or fees should not be a condition for the exercise of the right to stand for election.
During the discussion of article 25, which recognizes the right of citizens to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives, several members believed that the right of individual candidates to stand for election should not be unreasonably limited by requiring them to register with a party. Moreover, any requirement for a minimum number of supporters should be reasonable and not act as a barrier to candidacy. The right to campaign freely for election in conditions of equality, such as access to mass media or electoral fund distribution, was raised as a necessary element of the right and opportunity to be elected.
With regard to the atmosphere of free elections, the Committee expressed its belief that for elections to be genuine, they should be conducted fairly and freely on a periodic basis within the framework of laws guaranteeing citizens' rights and enabling them to be enforced. Citizens should be free to vote for any candidate for election and for or against any proposal submitted to referendum. They should be free to support or to oppose the government, without undue influence or coercion of any kind which might distort or inhibit the free expression of the electors' will.
Speakers said voters should be able to form opinions independently, free from violence or threat of violence, compulsion, inducement or manipulative interference of any kind; they should have access to unimpaired campaign advertisements.
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