From Iceland — Iceland Found In Violation Of The European Convention

Iceland Found In Violation Of The European Convention

Published April 16, 2024

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on April 16 that Iceland was in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned irregularities in the recount of votes in the Northwest constituency in the 2021 parliamentary elections, changes to the allocation of levelling seats, and the handling of post-election complaints by Alþingi.

In the case of Guðmundur Gunnarsson and Magnús Davíð Norðdahl v. Iceland, the ECHR concluded that the Icelandic state had violated the right to free elections and the right to an effective remedy in conjunction with Article 3 of Protocol no. 1 of the European Convention.

Following post-election complaints to the election committee, a Preparatory Credentials Committee was appointed which conducted an extensive inquiry into the procedure. It identified several irregularities in the Northwestern constituency elections, concluding that the unsecured and unsupervised storage of the ballots between the first count and the recount influenced the outcome.

Five candidates lost their seats to five others when the votes of the Northwest constituency were recounted. Two of the unsuccessful candidates in the region, with Liberal Reform Party (Viðreisn) chairperson Guðmundur Gunnarsson and Pirate Party chairperson Magnús Davíð Norðdahl appealing to the ECHR.

The Icelandic state is made to pay the applicants 13.000 EUR (2.000.000 ISK) each in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

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