Réttaráhrif annmarka á framkvæmd kosninga með hliðsjón af úrlausnum Hæstaréttar Íslands

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Gunnar Pall Baldvinsson, Valgerdur Solnes

The Icelandic judicial system has dealt with questions regarding the validity of election. Most recently the Supreme Court of Iceland upheld the validity of the presedential elections of 2012 in its Decisions of 25 July 2012 and annulled the election of members for a constitutional assembly of 2010 in its Decision of 25 January 2011, the latter on account of several electoral defects. The objective of this article is to illustrate and define the rules pertaining to the annulment of elections according to Icelandic Law as well as highlight the legal effects of electoral defects in previous case law of the Supreme Court. Furthermore, the article addresses the more recent rulings of the Supreme Court, referred to above, and their conformity with legal theories and previous case law, thereby highlighting the measure by which electoral defects lead to annulment. In light of the article´s objectives, its subject is confined to Icelandic Law.

The article explain Icelandic statutory provisions containing annulment rule with regard to elections. Additionally, the article highlights theories on the annulment of administrative decisions in Administrative Law, whose general principles are fundamentally applicable in terms of parallel challenges concerning elections and its implementation. However, when determining the scope of any general principle of Administrative Law in this respect, one should always take into account the specific nature of elections. The article finds that the statutory provisions regarding annulment of elections in the Act on Parliamentary Elections in the Act on Municipal Elections contain the same rule, despite the provisions´ nuanced wording. The rule of annulment instrinsically states that elections are subject to annulment should any defects in the candidacy or election arise, which may be assumed to affect the electoral results. Furthermore, the article established that the aforementioned provisions rest upon an analogues principle of law, the scope of which applies to general elections. Subsequently, the article exmines every ruling of the Supreme Court from the establishment of the Republic of Iceland in 1944 to this day, in cases pertaining to the validity of elections. The findings of the Supreme Court give way to integral conclusions on the Court´s methodology and to which extent electoral defects lead to the annulment of elections.

The article concludes that the aforementioned general principle of law has been applied in each and every ruling, whilst noting that the Supreme Court has imposed varied measures upon which circumstances lead to the annulment of elections. Namely, the Supreme Court has by rarity applied a general measure for the annulment of elections, i.e. where elections have been annulled independent of electoral defects influencing the outcome of an election, despite the fct that the rule of annulment states measure of specificity, i.e. that elections should merely be annulled on account of an electoral defect influencing the results of the election. Subsequently, the article identifies a reference of the Supreme Court´s application of different measures in the aforementioned rulings, to the measures applied in terms of the annulment of administrative decisions according to Administrative Law. Finally, a more accurate assesment of the rulings of the Supreme Court, where a general measure has been a decisive factor for the annulment of elections, reveals that said rulings contain an important convergence. The rulings have all included circumstances where an electoral defect has been subject to an essential right protected by the Icelandic Constitution, i.e. the right to vote by secret ballot.
Original languageIcelandic
Title of host publicationAfmælisrit : Páll Sigurðsson : sjötugur 16. ágúst 2014
EditorsEyvindur G. Gunnarsson, María Thejll, Ragnheiður Bragadóttir , Skúli Magnússon , Björg Thorarensen
Number of pages46
Place of PublicationReykjavik
PublisherBókaútgáfan Codex
Publication dateSep 2014
Pages211-256
ISBN (Print)978-9979825814
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

    Research areas

  • The Faculty of Law - Elections, Administrative Law, Annulation, Electoral Defects

ID: 144498203