Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


How do different countries regulate ineligibilities for elected office arising from criminal law decisions, particularly those related to corruption offences?


  1. Introduction
  2. Ineligibilities arising from criminal law decisions
  3. Country examples
  4. References


Ineligibility to stand for office typically arises from the holding of certain posts or the exercise of certain activities. It may also arise from an individual civil law or criminal law decision.

In some countries, having a criminal record prevents a person from being eligible for public office, and committing a serious criminal offence while a public servant can result in removal from office. In other states, specific disqualifications to stand for elections arise from corruption or failure to comply with electoral laws. In a third group of countries, the law has set out only “positive” eligibility criteria to be met by candidates. It is left to the voter to judge whether to elect a candidate who has criminal record.

While this answer focuses on the issue of ineligibility, it also briefly considers removal from office and immunities. Clear rules on (i) removal from office, (ii) eligibilities and (iii) immunities from prosecution can help to prevent individuals convicted of a crime from becoming or continuing to serve as a public servant.


Matthew Jenkins, Transparency International, [email protected]


Andy McDevitt, Transparency International




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