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Paragraph 37

It is questionable whether this mechanism is in line with the voter’s right to equal suffrage in general and the principle of electoral equality in particular. The principle of electoral equality has, among others, two important components: On the one hand, this principle requires that all citizens who fulfil the formal voting requirements must be assigned equal voting power and, hence, that their vote must count once (“arithmetical equality”). On the other hand, it entails that, at least in principle, votes must have equal effect upon the allocation of seats in representative bodies (“equality of effect”)11. It is widely recognised that in practice, the principle of equality of vote effect can hardly be fulfilled completely. For example, the ECtHR as well as the Venice Commission deem election thresholds acceptable, arguing that a balance has to be found between fair representation of views in the community and effectiveness in parliament and government (see paragraphs 31-32 above). Nevertheless such mechanisms deviating from the principle of equality require justification.