By-elections: Silence period starts from today, campaigning prohibited

Published On: April 25, 2024 09:30 AM NPT By: Smriti Dhungana  | @aesmriti

KATHMANDU, April 25: The silent period for the by-elections for the members of House of Representatives in Ilam Constituency-2 and for Provincial Assembly in Bajhang Provincial Assembly Constituency- 1 has begun from today, which will be held on April 27.

The Election Commission has imposed a silence period until 48 hours before the voting day, which means since midnight on April 24. The period will end only after completion of vote counting.

Along with the commencement of the silence period, the Election Commission (EC) has also imposed a ban on campaigning for the upcoming by-elections in Ilam District's Constituency-2 and in Bajhang Constituency-1(a).

“For the upcoming by-elections in Ilam District's Constituency-2 for the House of Representatives and in Bajhang District's Constituency-1 for the Provincial Assembly's Member, under the by-election, campaigning is prohibited until the completion of vote counting. This restriction on campaigning has been enforced from midnight of April 24 until 48 hours before April 27, in accordance with the provisions of the Election Code of Conduct, 2079 BS,” the notice issued by EC reads.

The EC has also stated that during this period, special mechanisms have been established for close monitoring and enforcement of the code of conduct to prevent activities that violate the Election Code in the respective districts where the by-elections will take place. Additionally, they have emphasized on conducting meticulous surveillance through these special mechanisms to ensure compliance with the code of conduct.

During this period, any form of campaigning, including discussions, rallies, conferences, workshops, and discussions, as well as soliciting votes for any candidate, whether in favor or against, through any means such as SMS, Facebook, Viber, electronic media, and social networks, has been prohibited in accordance with Section 24 of the Election Commission Act, 2073 BS and Section 17 of the Election Code of Conduct, 2079 BS.

The Election Commission has urged to refrain from giving contrary statements, issuing press releases, publications, and broadcasts, as well as from publishing and broadcasting content predicting the outcome of the election, whether victory or defeat, through media, in order to maintain cleanliness and impartiality in the elections," the notice reads. The EC has also instructed to conduct monitoring and surveillance of the ban period on campaigning for by-elections and to provide the EC with such information in order to conduct the by-elections in a clean, independent, impartial, and fear-free environment.

The EC has directed all units related to the Nepal Police and the National Investigation Department, district code of conduct monitoring officers, and authorized monitoring officers to conduct regular monitoring to ensure the cleanliness, independence, and impartiality of the elections. 

The EC has also directed monitoring teams and relevant security agencies to take legal action against individuals and entities from external districts or regions who are unrelated to election activities but are involved in unauthorized activities that could adversely affect the cleanliness and integrity of the elections. They have been instructed to proceed with the legal process to control such activities as per the law.

If any candidate, election representative, or any other individual approves or allows to receive or give cash or kind as gifts, prizes, rewards, donations, or in any other form, or approves or participates in activities such as public feasts for such purposes, and if such actions constitute election offenses, security agencies have been instructed to take immediate legal action as per Section 21 of the Election (Offences and Punishment) Act 2063 BS.

According to Section 2 of Chapter 4 of the Election (Offenses and Punishment) Act, the EC has directed to prohibit the use of election-related materials, prevent the misuse of ballot papers under Section 5, prohibit illegal coercion related to ballot papers according to Section 6, prevent voting without the right to vote under Section 7, prohibit repeat voting under Section 8, ensure that voting signs are not made public according to Section 9, prevent violations of the voting process under Section 10, restrict the transportation or possession of any item other than the ballot paper under Section 11, prevent the destruction or damage of ballot papers used for voting under Section 12, and prohibit the obstruction of voting under Section 13. If any such arrangements are found to contravene existing laws or if such activities occur, the EC has directed immediate action in accordance with the prevailing law and mandated the provision of information without further orders.

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