Temporary ban on an opposition political party on account of its unauthorised gatherings. Compulsory language teaching in public schools.
Art. 11 ECHR
1. Only very serious breaches such as those which endanger political pluralism or fundamental democratic principles could justify a ban on the activities of a political party.
2. The temporary nature of the ban is not of decisive importance in considering the proportionality of the restrictive measure, since even a temporary ban could reasonably be said to have a “chilling effect” on the party’s right to exercise its freedom of expression and to pursue its political goals.
(In the present case, the Moldovan authorities banned an opposition party’s activities, as a result of the gatherings it had organised in order to protest against the Government’s plans to make the teaching of Russian language compulsory for schoolchildren).
Although the ECtHR has quite a rich body of case-law concerning the prohibition and forced dissolution of political parties, in the present case for the first time it did not deal with the prohibition or dissolution but rather with a temporary suspension of a political party’s activities.
Particularly, the Court found that, since the temporary ban on the applicant party’s activities was not based on relevant and sufficient reasons and was not a necessary measure in a democratic society, there has been a violation of article 11 of the Convention.