In a letter addressed to the President of the Slovak republic, Nelly Maes, the President of the European Free Alliance (EFA) expressed her deep concern on the banning of 86 parties at once and showed her support and sympathy for one of those parties, who is member of EFA. “Is a country where 86 parties all at once are banned really a democracy”, she wonders.
EFA was recently informed that 86 political parties were banned following a change of the law on February the 4th 2005. Our member in the Slovak Republic, the Hungarian Federalist party (HFP), is one of those parties. We want to protest strongly to this decision. On the basis of the following elements EFA wants to request the President of the Slovak Republic to start a formal investigation on this important matter.
According to the Guidelines on Prohibition and Dissolution of Political parties and analogous measures adopted by the Venice Commission at its 41st plenary session (10-11 December 1999 Council of Europe) states should recognise that everyone has the right to associate freely in political parties and that any limitations to the exercise of activities of political parties shall be consistent with the relevant provisions of the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and other international treaties.
The prohibition or enforced dissolution of political parties is a far reaching measure and may only be justified in the case of parties which advocate the use of violence, which was not investigated and which is not the case for our partner in the Slovak republic.
Dissolution shall only be a consequence of a judicial finding of unconstitutionality and shall be deemed as of an exceptional nature and governed by the principle of legality and proportionality. Furthermore state authorities should evaluate the level of threat to the democratic order in the country and whether other administrative measures, fines,…can be used.
The prohibition or dissolution of a political party should be decided by the Constitutional court in a procedure offering all guarantees of due process, openness and a fair trail. No state can impose limitations based only on its internal legislation, ignoring its international obligations;
President of EFA Nelly Maes concluded that: “With the dissolution of the party HFP the Slovak Republic has not lived up to its international obligations according to the guidelines of the Council of Europe. Banning of 86 parties at one time can clearly be seen as a disregard to the principle of proportionality and is clearly not an exceptional measure but a broad based exclusion mechanism that is incompatible with the principles of democracy.”