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ECP issues elections code of conduct

January 29, 2013

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File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday issued a final code of conduct pertaining to the upcoming general elections, DawnNews reported.

The code does not permit the president, the prime minister, federal ministers, governors, chief ministers, provincial ministers and other public office holders to participate in election campaigns "in any manner whatsoever".

The election commission prepared the document, comprising of 40 points, after concluding consultations with political parties.

The rules also restricts political parties from encouraging or entering into any kind of agreement debarring women from becoming candidates for an election or exercising their right of vote in an election. It further says that political parties should "encourage women to participate" in the election process.

It moreover says that all contesting candidates and their supporters are to avoid all activities which are offences under the election laws, such as bribing of voters, intimidation as well as canvassing within 400 yards of a polling station, including setting up of camps.

Furthermore, wall chalking as part of an election campaign has also been prohibited. Whereas, use of loudspeaker would also not be allowed for election campaigns, "except at election meetings".

The code also makes it mandatory for candidates to specify a bank account for election expenses and they are also expected to keep records in this regard.

Also, the rules require all political parties and candidates to "firmly restrain their workers from exerting undue pressure against the print and electronic media".

Moreover, the commission has also imposed a ban on display of weapons and fire arms in public meetings and processions "as well as on the polling day” and until 24 hours after the consolidation of official results by the Returning Officer".

The commission's code of conduct also states that violation of the rules and regulations by a candidate may also result in his or her disqualification.