Parties, candidates urged to uphold Code of Ethical Political Conduct

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    The Council for Responsible Political Behaviour is calling on parties and candidates to abide by the Code of Ethical Political Conduct and ensure that Monday’s General Elections are peaceful.

    In a release it restated the commitments contained in the code:

    • Uphold the Constitution and the spirit and letter of the laws relating to the holding of public activities and election campaigns.
    • Maintain the highest moral principles and ethical standards with respect to their conduct during the campaign, the elections and the post-election period.
    • Cooperate with the police in maintaining law and order during election campaigns.
    • Promote and enforce respect, tolerance, harmony and peace amongst their supporters in the remaining hours before the poll, as well as on election day and in the post-election period.
    • Refrain from practices that promote divisiveness in the Society and commit to the removal of any structures (behavioural, cultural, social or organizational) which reinforce divisiveness.

    It also reminded of conduct deemed prohibited, which should be avoided:

    • Not offer any inducement or reward, for example money, groceries or other benefits, to another person to Vote or not to vote, or to vote or not to vote in any particular way
    • Not discriminate on the grounds of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, class, religion or belief, or seek to mobilize support by reference to race, sex, gender, religion or class.
    • Not make false or defamatory allegations in print or speech in connection with an election in respect of a Party, its Candidates, representatives or members.
    • Not use language or act in a way that may provoke violence; or Intimidate Candidates, members of Parties, representatives or supporters of Parties or Candidates, or voters; or invite, encourage or foster hatred, resentment or any form of violence.
    • Not seek to assassinate the character of or make defamatory comments about any individual, family, professional group or section of the community.
    • Not deface, or induce anyone to unlawfully remove or destroy, or deface the billboards, placards, posters or any other election materials of a Party or Candidate.

    Also, once Election Day has passed, the Council says it intends to remind Parties and Candidates of their pledges, in accordance with the Code, regarding the removal of campaign advertisements and having their accounts audited, particularly in relation to donations.

    It also noted what it says were several lapses and violations of the Code and vowed to campaign for electoral reform: “Cognizant of some of the violations to the Code as occurred in this campaign, the Council will also be making representation for electoral reform if only to minimize the recurrence of these violations.”