A Code of Conduct for Free and Fair Elections

Since 2009, Transparency Mauritius has submitted proposals to the Electoral Supervisory Commission in connection with elections which include a model code of conduct and regulation and transparency on the financing of political parties and electoral candidates.

Transparency Mauritius believes that the code of conduct goes hand in hand with the rules and regulations on the financing of political parties and of candidates, and on the organization of elections in general. Transparency Mauritius would like to lay emphasis on the following proposals which are elaborated upon in the code of conduct:

  • Political parties should become legal entities and should publicly disclose their financial activities.
  • The Electoral Supervisory Commission should be given a statutory power to carry out investigations where it has reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or malpractice in connection to elections has been committed. Where such an offence or malpractice has taken place, the ESC should be allowed to sanction and/or take appropriate measures.
  • Political parties and candidates should be subject to a cap on their expenses and should disclose their donors and expenses.
  • For the purpose of elections, each party should have a special account for all election expenses and, after the results have been proclaimed, publish all their income and expenses and produce all receipts and counterfoils to the ESC. Receipts should be mandatory for all expenses in excess of Rs 1 000.

Transparency Mauritius counts on the cooperation of the general public and makes an appeal to the authorities for a fair and transparent election.

Transparency Mauritius invites all Mauritians to report any case of corruption to the relevant authorities.

Let us be proud to be Mauritians.

PART 1 – Proposals for the Transparency of Elections and on the Financing of Political Parties and Candidates

a) Free and Fair Elections

  • Every voter to be identified at polling stations through his National ID Card
  • ONLY Designated staff to assist voters who request assistance
  • Ballots to be counted on the same day, in 1 Polling station per constituency, by a new team

b) Limitations on Expenditure and Contributions

Limit Expenses made by Parties and Candidates:

  • prohibit food and drinks/money distribution during campaign and on Election Day
  • allow political posters ONLY ON designated walls and billboards
  • re-set maximum expenditure for candidates and for

Cap and restrict government spending during election campaigns

  • limit public procurement to planned items
  • limit public service enrolment to planned positions
  • impose fiscal and budgetary responsibility

c) Obligations of Parties and Candidates

  • Political parties should be registered as legal entities and their certified and audited accounts to be submitted to the ESC each year.
  • Registration of Parties and Candidates with the ESC
  • Candidates to report Affiliation to a Party Annually
  • Campaign-related returns BEFORE and AFTER Elections for PARTIES
  • Campaign-related returns BEFORE and AFTER Elections for CANDIDATES
  • Declare updated list of large contributors, annually, before and after elections

d) Powers of Electoral Commissioner and Electoral Supervisory Commission

  • To review the powers of the Electoral Commissioner and of the ESC
  • Designate specific locations / billboards where political posters are allowed
  • Designate specific locations where parties can have permanent physical presence during the campaign
  • Allocate and monitor with the IBA, FREE Airtime and Press Coverage on national TV and radio
  • Receive and publicly disclose mandatory reports from Parties and Candidates
  • Electoral Supervisory Commission to have statutory powers to investigate potential infringements.

Conditions :

Provide the ESC with statutory powers, as well as resources, to conduct investigations and to enforce the law so that elections are free, fair and transparent

PART 2 – Proposed Model for Code of Conduct

  • All political parties and candidates shall abide by all the laws, rules and regulations of Mauritius relating to elections and the maintenance of public order. In this regard, all the parties shall fully cooperate with the Police or ICAC in any investigation and processes of enforcement of the relevant laws, rules and regulations.
  • All political parties and candidates have the right and freedom to put forward their views to the electorate without hindrance. However, every political party shall respect the rights of all participants in an election.
  • No political party or candidate shall use state apparatus including state owned print and electronic media to the advantage or disadvantage of any other political party or candidate at an election.
  • No political party or candidate shall engage in violent activity or intimidation of any kind, as a way of demonstrating its strength or supremacy. Accordingly, all political parties shall publicly condemn any form of political violence.
  • Political parties and candidates shall not use defamatory, derogatory and insulting attacks on rival parties or individual personalities through any form of communication, verbal or written.
  • No political party or candidate shall, during campaign, resort to the use of inflammatory language, provocative actions, images or manifestation that incite violence, hatred, contempt or intimidation against another party or candidate or any person or group of persons on grounds of ethnicity or gender or for any other reason.
  • All political parties shall take all necessary steps to coordinate their campaign activities in such a way as to avoid holding rallies, meetings, marches or demonstrations close to one another at the same time. Accordingly, whenever the date, venue or timing of any such activities of different political parties clash, their representatives will meet to resolve the issue amicably, without resort to intimidation, force or violence.
  • All political parties are required to file with the ESC details of their public rallies and meetings in any particular area.
  • All political parties and candidates shall separate party business from government business. No political party or candidate shall use state vehicle, or other public resources for any campaigns or any other party business.
  • All political parties shall instruct their members and supporters that no arms or any object that can be used to cause injury shall be brought to a political rally, meeting, march, demonstration or any other political function.
  • No political party, candidate or agent shall engage in any of the following corrupt practices:

a) Buying votes or offering any bribe, gift, reward, gratification or any other monetary or material consideration or allurement to voters and electoral officials
b) Offering any form of inducement to a person to stand or not to stand as a candidate, or to withdraw or not to withdraw his or her candidature.
c) Canvassing for votes within the vicinity of a polling station on polling day.
d) Any other form of cheating or doing any act considered to be a malpractice under the electoral laws and POCA.

  • No voter shall engage in any of the following corrupt practices:

a) Selling their votes or accepting any bribe, gift, reward, gratification or any other monetary or material consideration or allurement from candidates and representatives of political parties
b) Any other form of cheating or doing any act considered to be a malpractice under the electoral laws and POCA.

  • From the time elections are announced by the Commission, Ministers and other authorities shall not –

a) announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof; or
b) (except civil servants) lay foundation stones etc. of projects or schemes of any kind; or
c) make any promise of construction of roads, provision of public facilities etc.; or make any ad-hoc appointments in Government, Public Undertakings etc… which may have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power.
d) participate in public functions. Vehicles used by Members of the National Assembly, Municipal/District Councils should be used strictly for administrative purposes and not for election campaigns, except for the Prime Minister or Acting Prime Minister.

PART 3 – Proposals for the Effective Enforcement of the Code of Conduct and of Regulations on the Financing of Political Parties and Candidates

Transparency Mauritius recommends the following changes in the laws and regulations, to ensure effective enforcement of existing and future Codes and Regulations

a) each candidate, agent and legal representative of political parties should SIGN the Code on Nomination day

  • that would be an obligation for all candidates, agents and all political parties
  • each candidate, agent and political party to thus become legally liable under the Code

b) each candidate and each political party to publish a return with respect to requirements of the Law, Code of Conduct and Regulations
c) any citizen can, within 1 month of the election, report any anomaly to ESC
d) ESC should have the powers to investigate, establish if there is a potential breach or not, and, if so, submit the case to the Supreme Court for Invalidation of that specific Election result, and to other authorities for legal action towards the liable candidate.
e) The powers of the ESC to be enlarged and clearly defined by the appropriate legislation or in the Constitution for the implementation of the above proposals.

January 31, 2013