It is fully legitimate and permissible under international human rights law to limit the right to vote to the citizens of the State. The relationship between sovereignty, citizenship and the right to vote is to some extent self-evident and undramatic. However, the triangular relationship between the three concepts is an important background factor summarizing much of what States are and do, and therefore, it is necessary to make visible the self-sustaining nature of the triangle and explicate the three corners of the triangle by means of drafting history of the human rights conventions and case law from international and national court instances as well as by means of examples from national law, in this case drawn from the Nordic space. The point here is that although the various human rights conventions formulate a right to participation through elections, the normative powers exercised in relation to sovereignty, citizenship and the right to vote are held by the national law-maker, and they are not influenced much by international human rights law.
I wish to thank director Sita Ranchod-Nilsson of the Institute for Developing Nations at Emory University, Atlanta, USA, and the Carter Center for hosting me during January – February 2016 and thus facilitating my research on this topic. I also wish to thank the Pool of Professors (via Svenska Kulturfonden; grant decision of 13 June 2013) and the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters (grant decisions of 29 April 2015 and 24 August 2015) for funding the research for this article.
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