Ruling of the Constitutional Court of  6 March 2013 № 324-O on the review of constitutionality of  the provisions of parts 1 and 2 of Article 89 of the Federal law “On the Elections of the Deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation” 

Legal issue: the right of a political party to freely choose a candidate from its electoral list in order to replace a deputy of its parliamentary faction who left it before time.

Ratio decidendi: the Court ruled that resolution of the question put forward by the applicants does not require the delivery of a final decision in the form of judgment. At the same time the Court pointed out that, when making a decision on the transfer of a vacant deputy mandate, the appropriate managing body of the political party may not act arbitrarily and therefore may deviate from the sequence of the registered candidates on the list only on the basis of objective circumstances, such as the extent to which the candidate in question has participated in the activities of the party after the elections, his observance of the charter of the party and so on. Such decision must indicate these circumstances, thus making possible its judicial review on merits.

Dissenting opinion:
  • Аny attempts of political parties - after the completion of voting – to influence the claims of the candidates which have been included into their federal list to take a vacant mandate of a deputy of State Duma will amount to deviation from the principle of obligatoriness of the results of elections which constitute, alongside with referenda, the highest expression of peoples’ will. Such situation essentially keeps the voters estranged from determining their representatives in State Duma.

  • The Court gave such restrictive interpretation of the contested provisions of the electoral law, which effectively changes its contents, and thus intervened into the competence of the federal legislator, having implicitly deemed the current version of contested provisions to be not conformant to the Constitution. 

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Subject area:
Public Law political parties