Eligibility for election of electors who reside abroad
Right to stand for election
RULING Nº 668/97
12 of November of 1997
All citizens entitled to vote, irrespective of whether they are registered on the electoral list (electoral census) in the locality where they are standing for election or in another constituency, including, therefore, all citizens registered in consulates or embassies, are entitled to stand for election to the representative bodies of local authorities.
Although the certificates issued by the authorities are the proper means of proving registration when compiling the electoral list, candidates registered abroad may use their voting card to prove that they are eligible.
The right to vote and stand in local authority elections derives from the Constitution and the Electoral Law on Local Elections. As a rule, all citizens registered in the locality in question are entitled to vote, and all citizens entitled to vote are eligible to stand for election, even if they are registered in another constituency.
The appeal (involving an electoral procedure for disputes concerning candidatures in elections, and which is therefore governed by the electoral laws) concerned the right to stand in local elections of a Portuguese citizen registered at the Portuguese Consulate in Paris (who was therefore not entitled to vote in Portuguese local elections).
In the opinion of some judges, the candidate was not eligible to stand for election since, under the general rule whereby «passive» electoral capacity depends on «active» electoral capacity, citizens who are not entitled to vote cannot stand for election. According to the majority of the Court, however, the candidate (registered abroad) was eligible to stand for election, as any ineligibility must be expressly stipulated by law and the right to stand for election is dependent not upon registration on the electoral list of a particular constituency, but merely upon registration on the electoral register as a whole.
The power to rule on appeals pertaining to candidatures in elections is one of the powers belonging to the Portuguese Constitutional Court in respect of electoral disputes - see Judgment no. 703/93