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Political Rights


Every citizen is free to make political choices, which includes:

  • the right ­to form a political party; to participate in the activities of, or recruit members for, a political party; and to campaign for a political party or cause.

  • Every citizen has the right to free, fair and regular elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution.

  • Every adult citizen has the right ­to vote in elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution, and to do so in secret ... and to stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office.

Political rights cover a citizen's right to engage in their countries politics. It is a right which is fundamental to protecting (and maintain) a democratic government. This right is important as it gives citizens increased power to have input in who they chose to govern.

Political rights are complicated when a citizen is not residing in his or her home country, raising the question of how far political rights extend when this is the case. In Richter v The Minister of Home Affairs and Others, on the cusp of our 2009 general elections, the Constitutional Court held that allowing South African citizens living overseas a very limited time to register to vote constituted an unjustifiable limitation of their political right to participate in elections.

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