Podkolzina v. Latvia
Application no. 46726/99
The applicant, a member of the Russian minority in Latvia, registered to stand for election. Despite having the required certificate for Latvian language proficiency, the applicant’s language level was re-examined and she struck off the list of candidates following this. She claimed a violation of Article 3 of Protocol 1 and Articles 13 and 14. The court held that it had grave doubts as to the legal bases for subjecting 9 out of 21 candidates with Latvian language proficiency certificates to further language tests. In addition these further tests were carried out by one individual and without the procedural safeguards of the usual examinations for certificates. The court held that applicant’s complaint that the examiner spent most of the time asking her why she supported a particular party showed a lack of objectivity and was incompatible with the requirements of procedural fairness. The court found a violation of Article 3 of Protocol 1 and held that it did not need to examine Articles 13 and 14.