Silent period' is time for voters, candidates and EC to reflect upon: Experts

Published On: May 11, 2017 04:25 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 11: The 'silent period' that begins 48 hours before the polls open in an election is the time which the voters, candidates, monitors, media and the election officers to reflect on their preparations so as to make informed decisions, former election commissioners have stressed. 

The Election Commission has said the silent period for the first-phase local-level election scheduled for May 14 begins from midnight today. The parties and candidates cannot conduct their election publicity campaign during the silent period. 

Former chief election commissioner Neelkantha Uprety said the provision of silent period is made so that the electioneering by a political party or a candidate does not lead to a conflict or violence and to irregularities just before the voting begins. 

"It is a worldwide practice that the silent period begins 48 hours before the election day. The silent period has been provisioned so as to make the election environment peaceful, and to prevent unhealthy competition between the contenders," he said. 

It (silent period) is important in that it provides the time for the voters to weigh the candidates, for the candidates to make an assessment of their preparation and for the Election Commission to complete the remaining works related to the election if any, Mr. Uprety explained. 

The first-round of local-level election is taking place in 283 levels of 34 districts in provinces no. 3, 4 and 6 on May 14. The voting time has been scheduled from 7:00 am to 17:00 pm. As the silent period of the election is starting from late night today, political parties have said that they were nearing to wrap up the election publicity campaign. 

Election publicity campaign or soliciting votes is not allowed in this period. Besides, election symbols and election campaign materials placed within the periphery of 300 meters of the polling centers shall be removed before the silence period begins. 

The Local Level Election Code of Conduct- 2073 BS (first amendment) issued by the Election Commission states that no vote shall be solicited and election campaign shall be conducted through social network with the use of electronic means such as SMS, Facebook and Viber. 

Likewise, symbolic materials such as clothes, cap, sticker, logo, bag and tattoos that contain the election symbol of any candidate and political party is not allowed and caused to be allowed to use, sell and display in this period. 

More, the code of conduct does not allow publish or disseminate any news or notice in a way that propagates the campaigning of any candidate or political party. 

According to EC spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma said the election silence period as determined by the EC will begin before 48 hours of the election day and remain in force until the closing of voting. "The silence period is the time in which a candidate self-review the election preparations and a voter will chose her/his 'right' candidate(s) for voting." 

A total of 49,337 candidates are vying for different posts in the May 14 elections and the number of women candidates is 19,332, the EC data shows. RSS 

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