electoral rights

  • Electoral Rights and Intellectual Disability: Considerations de lege lata

    The Constitution of the Republic of Poland mentions as one of the principles of electoral law its universality. This means that anyone who meets the requirements of law is entitled to vote. The admissibility of exclusions from this principle is also expressly defined by the law. One of the limitations in the exercise of electoral rights is an intellectual disability resulting in the incapacity of the individual. Meanwhile, Poland’s international obligations resulting e.g. from the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides with a necessity of a deeper reflection on the present solutions. The ratification by Poland of the UN Convention has stimulated discussion on the political rights of people with intellectual disabilities, extending the field of debate on the legitimacy of the current form of institution of incapacitation. The aim of this article is to reflect on the current solutions in the exercise of electoral rights by people affected by intellectual disability but not being incapacitated.

  • 100 years of women suffrage in Poland. From the fight for political rights to gender quotas

    In the past, the exclusion of women from the election had the sociological and cultural background. Woman’s status was derived from the status of her husband. The creation of mass parties at the end of the XIXth century had turned women into attractive potential voters. At the turn of the 19th and 20th century in Polish territories, under foreign partitions, the feminist movement was just beginning. That was because the essential issue for all Polish people: both men and women, was the regaining of the independence. Polish women undertook activity in all the countries, which annexed parts of Poland, but the character and intensity of this activity depended on the character of the regime of the occupant. The Decree of the State on the electoral law, adopted on 26 November 1918, established universal suffrage, without distinction of the sexes. Granting women unconditionally full electoral rights: active and passive (different than in other countries, when women first obtained the right to vote and later – usually after years – the right to stand for election) under the mentioned Decree in 1918, was certainly a defining and monumental historical moment. Nowadays, other factors are taken into account in deciding about equality laws: underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in politics and gender gaps, which still exist.

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