Updated May 2006
An Electoral Code of Conduct (2005) has been established by law governing the behaviour of participants in electoral processes (Article 1). The Code has the force of law and those who violate its provisions may be prosecuted or face legal suites (Article 31, 2.). The interpretation of the Code and its application is placed in the hands of the National Electoral Commission (CNE; Article 32).
The Code has wide application, regulating the behaviour of political parties and coalitions, candidates, party members and supporters, the CNE, electoral officials, the police, the electorate, observers, the media, religious bodies, party agents and civil society actors (Article 2). The treatment of the Code here will focus on those aspects that are generally applicable to all actors and those that are of specific significance to the conduct of election campaigns by political parties, candidates and party members and supporters. It will be observed that particular provisions in the Code are consistently couched in terms of lists of rights and lists of duties.
The Code lays down a set of 23 principles said to be applicable to the behaviour of all actors in the electoral process, although, as the reader will see, many are actually only applicable to specific actors or sets of actors (Article 2, 2.):
Parties and candidates have the right to conduct civic education, to hold meetings and campaign in public places (with the knowledge of the competent authorities and within the terms of the law), publicise and explain their programmes and positions, to airtime to do so and to the protection of the police (Articles 3, 5). In addition parties have the right to freely form coalitions of their own choice (Article 3, c)).
Parties and candidates have a duty to refrain from: Incitement to violence or vandalism, conducting public meetings without notifying of the appropriate authorities, disrupting the meetings of other parties or candidates, distributing offensive or inflammatory literature, making unrealistic or unconstitutional promises or behaving in ways that are contrary to electoral ethics, the law or good morals (Articles 4, 6). In addition parties must refrain from corrupt recruitment practices (Article 4, e)).
Party members and supporters have the right to: Use their own means or those made available to them by their party for campaigning, place posters and materials in public places determined by law, hold recreational events during legally established hours, engage in tours to promote their party, convince voters of the advantages of their party's programme for the nation and to protection from the police (Article 7).
Party members and supporters have a duty to: Respect the choices of other, abstain from violence, refrain from meddling with activities in polling stations or with the police, abstain from using the media to offend the moral sensibilities of others or make slanderous and defamatory claims and to refrain from any other undemocratic behaviour (Article 8).
ELECTORAL CODE OF CONDUCT 2005, Resolution No 10/05, [www] http://aceproject.org/ regions-en/eisa/AO/Resolution%20No%2010%2005%20-%20Code%20of%20Electoral% 20Conduct.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 10 Mar 2010).
Resolução No 10/05, [www] http://aceproject.org/regions-en/eisa/AO/ Resolucao%20No%2010%2005%20-%20Codigo%20de%20Conduta%20Eleitoral%29.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 10 Mar 2010).