While there seems to be a consensus that political parties remain the sine qua non of western democracies, the question of under which conditions political parties could be dissolved has also been gaining significance in European human rights law since the 1990s. An overall assessment of the cases decided by the European Court of Human Rights ("ECtHR") and domestic courts of the member of the Council of Europe suggests there are three categories of political parties faced with the prospect of dissolution. Part I of this Article describes the first category, the political parties that have criticized state policies on certain sensitive domestic issues, such as the problems faced by minority groups ("pro-minority political parties"). Part II deals with the second category, the so-called anti-secular political parties, which have found no support at the ECtHR. Part III describes the third category, the parties that had proven links with terrorist organizations and, like anti-secular parties, were not protected by the ECtHR under the Convention.
Criteria Developed by the European Court of Human Rights on the Dissolution of Political Parties,
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