New code of conduct slashes expenses by poll candidates
ISLAMABAD, June 27: The Election Commission announced on Wednesday a new code of conduct for polls in accordance with a Supreme Court judgment, limiting expenses and campaigning by candidates.
The notification, issued ahead of a by-election in Multan’s National Assembly constituency NA-151 which fell vacant after the disqualification of prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, said no candidate would exceed the election expenses limit of Rs1.5 million.
Each candidate has to open a bank account by June 29 and deposit the amount for election expenses. No transaction relating to election expenses, it says, should be made through any other account.
The candidates have to file a declaration of expenses and maintain daily account of election expenditures.
Car processions of long distances will not allowed except for pre-arranged corner meetings held at designated places.
The prescribed maximum size for posters is 2ft by 3ft, hoardings 3ft by 5ft, banners 3ft by 9ft and leaflets or handbills 9 inches by 6 inches.
Party flags should not be hoisted at public places, except with written permission on payment of charges to the authorities concerned.
Wall-chalking as part of campaign will be prohibited and loudspeakers may only be used in election meetings.
The Election Commission will monitor all election activities, including public meetings and processions and the use of loudspeakers, to ensure fairness.
Setting up camps near polling stations on the day of polling in NA-151 (Multan-IV) has been banned under Section 84 of the Representation of the People Act of 1976 and the Supreme Court judgment.
Canvassing, soliciting of votes, persuading any elector against voting in the election or for a particular candidate, or exhibiting any notice, sign, banner or flag designed to encourage the electors to vote for a candidate or discourage them from voting for any candidate is prohibited within 400 yards of polling stations.
No party, candidate or their supporter will be allowed to distribute slips containing voters’ details or the symbol of a party or candidate in the vicinity of polling stations on the polling day.Parties, candidates and election agents will also be barred from transporting voters to and from polling stations.
Any violation of the directive will be liable to imprisonment for up to three years, fine of up to Rs5,000 or both.
The commission said three-member teams, including a professional cameraman with a video camera, will monitor the election process, including campaign expenditures and observance of the code of conduct.
Meanwhile, the chief election commissioner has fixed July 4 as the last date for receipt of applications for postal ballot papers for the by-election scheduled to be held on July 19.