The Right to Participate in Elections: Judicial and Practical Considerations



This chapter deals with the right to compete in elections. The aim is to review some of the decisions of the Israeli Central Elections Committee and of the Supreme Court regarding disqualification of political parties1 in Israel. The discussion is on two levels: philosophical and judicial. On the first level two major questions are addressed: (a) when should tolerance have its limits?; (b) what constraints on liberty should be introduced in order to safeguard democracy? As for the judicial level, here the focus lies on the issue of authority. Attention is given to the written law and to existing normative considerations, which allow justices exegetic latitude.


Political Party Terrorist Organization Jewish State Palestinian Authority Democratic Character 
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  1. Anthony Skillen, ‘Freedom of Speech’, in Keith Graham (ed.), Contemporary Political Philosophy (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 139–59.Google Scholar
  2. Norman Dorsen, ‘Is There A Right to Stop Offensive Speech? The Case of the Nazis at Skokie’, in Larry Gostin (ed.), Civil Liberties in Conflict (London: Routledge, 1988), 122–35.Google Scholar
  3. T. M. Scanlon, ‘Freedom of Expression and Categories of Expression’, University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 3 (1979), 519–50.Google Scholar
  4. Lee C. Bollinger, The Tolerant Society (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  5. Ronald Dworkin calls this theory of adjudication ‘a naturalist approach’. Cf. ‘ “Natural” Law Revisited’, University of Florida Law Review, Vol. 35 (1982), pp. 165–88.Google Scholar

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© Raphael Cohen-Almagor 2001

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