The applicant, Mr Luis Salleras Llinares, is a Spanish national. He was born in 1925 and lives in Cadaqués.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.
In a decision of 17 May 1999 the election committee for the Figueres zone refused to declare eligible the list of candidates for the Cadaqués municipal elections submitted by the applicant in his capacity as representative of the Alternativa pel progrès de Cadaqués list. The election committee based its decision on the fact that he had not carried out certain mandatory formalities which had been pointed out to him in respect of two non-Spanish candidates who were European Union citizens.
The applicant applied to the Administrative Court no. 1 of Gerona for judicial review of the election committee’s decision on the ground, inter alia, that, as he had been travelling, he had not had known of the election committee’s fax requesting him to carry out the formalities in question until twenty-four hours before the deadline for submitting lists of candidates. In a judgment of 21 May 1999 the court dismissed his application. It observed that two candidates on the list, who were not Spanish nationals but were citizens of Member States of the European Union, had failed to provide certain documents required of European Union citizens wishing to stand in municipal elections and proving, among other things, their residence in Spain. The court went on to note that the applicant had had an opportunity of carrying out the formalities in question, but had not done so. It added that if the applicant had to travel, he had a duty, as representative of the electoral list and in accordance with the requirements relating to election proceedings, to take adequate measures to ensure that he was informed of the election committee’s decisions without delay. The applicant lodged an amparo appeal with the Constitutional Court, which was dismissed in a decision of 25 May 1999.
B. Relevant domestic law
“1. The Cortes Generales represent the Spanish people and are composed of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate.
2. The Cortes Generales exercise the legislative power of the State ...”
Relying on Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, the applicant complained that the refusal to declare his list eligible for the municipal elections had prevented the inhabitants of Cadaqués from expressing their opinion in the election of their municipal representatives. The applicant also relied on Articles 16 and 17 of the Convention.
1. The applicant complained that the refusal to declare his list eligible for the municipal elections had prevented the inhabitants of Cadaqués from expressing their opinion in the election of their municipal representatives. He relied on Article 3 of Protocol No. 1, which provides:
“The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.”
The Court reiterates that Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 applies only to the election of the “legislature”, or at least of one of its Chambers if it has two or more (Collected Edition of the “Travaux préparatoires”, volume VIII, pp. 47, 51 and 53). The word “legislature” does not necessarily mean only the national parliament, however; it has to be interpreted in the light of the constitutional structure of the State in question (see the Mathieu-Mohin and Clerfayt v. Belgium judgment of 2 March 1987, Series A. no. 113, p. 23, § 53, and Matthews v. the United Kingdom [GC], no. 24833/94, § 40, ECHR 1999-1).
In relation to Spain, the Court notes that the Spanish Constitution confers the exercise of legislative power on the parliament or the Cortes Generales (Article 66 of the Constitution).
In the instant case the applicant complained about an election dispute relating to elections to the municipal council of Cadaqués. The municipal councils clearly do not exercise legislative power and do not therefore form part of the “legislature” within the meaning of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (see Clerfayt and Others v. Belgium, application no. 10650/83, Commission decision of 17 May 1985, Decisions and Reports (DR) 42, p. 212; Booth-Clibborn and Others v. the United Kingdom, application no. 11391/85, Commission decision of 5 July 1985, Decisions and Reports (DR) 43, p. 236; Cherepkov v. Russia (dec.), no. 51501/99, ECHR 2000-I).
The Court concludes that Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 is not applicable in the present case. It follows that this part of the application must be rejected as incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention within the meaning of Article 35 §§ 3 and 4.
2. In so far as the applicant relies on Articles 16 and 17 of the Convention, the Court, having regard to all the evidence in its possession, and to the extent that it has power to examine the allegations, does not find any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by those provisions. It follows that this part of the application must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Declares the application inadmissible.
Vincent Berger Georg Ress
salleras llinares v. Spain DECISION
SALLERAS LLINARES v. SPAIN DECISION