free elections

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Article 3 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act1998 compel the state to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions that will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature. This duty does not apply to local elections (local authorities are not the legislature) but does apply to elections to the European Parliament (Liberal Party v UK (1982) (App no 8765/79) 4 EHRR 106; Matthews v UK (1999) 28 EHRR 361). There is no duty to use any particular system of voting (proportional representation or first past the post).

Subjects: Law.

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