European court rejects expat voter appeal

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected an appeal by a 93-year-old British expatriate living in Italy to be granted the right to vote in the UK, lawyers said on Thursday.

European court rejects expat voter appeal
British expat Harry Shindler has been fighting for the right to vote in the UK. Photo: The right to vote campaign

The decision by the court throws out Harry Shindler's case, aimed at changing a British law which says expats can no longer vote in the country after living abroad for more than 15 years.

The ECHR first ruled against Shindler, 93, in May.

The decision is a further hurdle in the Briton's 12-year campaign to have his voting rights restored, nearly 30 years after moving to Italy.

As Shindler has not taken Italian citizenship he is unable to vote in the country, while the British law regarding expats means he is been unable to participate in elections in either country.

While the pensioner's case has reached a dead end at the ECHR, he remains determined to fight on.

"I have requested that the European Commission take the case to the European Court of Justice. In the meantime I am preparing to take the case to the UN," Shindler told The Local. He believes the British law breaches the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states everyone has the right to participate in the government of their country.

In practical terms, Shindler said that decisions continue to be taken by the British government which directly affect him, such as pensions.

"There's no question that we've loosened our ties to the country. The world's got much smaller today; if that argument was true 100 years ago it's not true now. Things have changed," he said.

Read a full interview with Harry Shindler on The Local tomorrow.

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