Proclamation No. 662/2009 Electoral Code of Conduct for political parties Proclamation | GOALGOOLE | Because you need Information for your goals !
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Proclamation No. 662/2009 Electoral Code of Conduct for political parties Proclamation

PROCLAMATION NO. 662/2009
A PROCLAMATION TO PROVIDE FOR
THE ELECTORAL CODE OF CONDUCT
FOR POLITICAL PARTIES

Bearing in mind that lessons drawn from previous elections necessitate the promulgation of detailed code of conduct for political parties, candidates, members and supporters of political parties to ensure that subsequent elections are guided by ethical rules of conduct and that they are transparent, free, legitimate, fair, peaceful, democratic and acceptable by the people;
Recognizing and accepting the benefit of reinforcing and continuing the role of the people as a source of state authority, its ownership and control thereof for which the Ethiopian peoples have been struggling throughout their long history, and also recognizing the benefit of the implementation of human and democratic rights in their totality in our country to foster a culture of civilized and peaceful struggle and competition;
Recognizing that the Electoral Board, the mass media and the justice institutions should be independent and impartial from any political party in their activities; recognizing also that the National Defence Force is made to discharge its responsibilities based on the constitution without any influence from the political parties;
Recognizing that the three organs of government have undertaken to accept the duty and responsibility of being transparent, loyal and accountable and that they made a vow to uphold it in practice themselves and ensure that others do so too; further recognizing that political parties by taking note of this fact should stand for its realization;
Cognizant of the necessity to promote tolerance in a democratic political activity, and of the importance to conduct free political campaign and to promote free public dialogue during the electoral process;
Realizing the importance of working together on matters where the parties have common stand and to conduct a civilized and peaceful struggle on issues where they differ with firm readiness to accept the process and outcome of a legally conducted election as an expression of the will of the people; cognizant also of the need for political parties to live up to the responsibilities expected of them as regards nation building; and further recognizing the necessity of creating an environment for the political parties to form a healthy relationship which is free from hatred and mistrust in their competition to attain power;
Underscoring the need to enable political parties to play a vital role in strengthening multi-party system and democratic culture in good faith, tolerance and through the principle of give and take;
Emphasizing the necessity to reiterate that any attempt to stay in power against the will of the people or any local or external activity aimed at taking political power through any means other than those provided by the constitution are not acceptable;
Cognizant of the need to create an environment that would enable the political parties to collectively stand for the implementation of this code of Conduct Proclamation which contributes to the freedom of the mass media, human rights, democracy, rule of law and the over all development of peoples;
Cognizant of the need to strengthen according to the law, the procedures which ensure fair and impartial utilization by all parties of resources, property under the control of the government and services of organs of local administrative bodies which can be of use for election purposes;
Considering the responsibility of political parties to ensure that every Ethiopian in the exercise of the right to elect and be elected is not impeded by any influence or obstacle;
Cognizant of the responsibility of political parties to conduct successive education and training; create awareness and support others who conduct such education as to this Code of Conduct Proclamation;
Realizing the importance of laying down procedures in accordance with this Proclamation to investigate and subsequently rectify grievances submitted by political parties regarding elections officials or their procedures or election or other relevant matters;
Cognizant of the substantial public benefit of laying down procedures for the implementation of this Proclamation as well as for the establishment of Joint Council of political parties at all levels and determine their powers and responsibilities;
Convinced of the necessity to promulgate a proclamation after extensive discussions reflecting the internationally well recognized principles in consistent with the objective realities of Ethiopia;
Now, therefore, in accordance with Article 55(1) and sub article (2) /d/ of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is hereby proclaimed as follows:

SECTION ONE
GENERAL

1. Short Title
This Proclamation may be cited as the “Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties Proclamation No. 662/2009”
2 Definition
In this Proclamation, unless the context requires otherwise:
1/ “Board” means the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia;
2/ “Election Official” means any organ or person including the Board established to conduct election at all levels;
3/ “Joint Council” means the Joint Council of political parties established at all levels in accordance with Article 21 of this Proclamation;
4/ “Political Party or Political Organization” means a legally registered social entity formed by a group of persons with the purpose to assume political power through democratic election at the national or regional political activities by issuing a program that reflects its own political beliefs and objectives;
5/ “Candidate” means any person registered independently or by a political party to compete for election;
6/ “Polling station” means the station where the registration of voters and casing and counting of votes is carried out;
7/ “Person” means any physical or juridical person.
3 Scope of Application
This Proclamation shall be applicable to:
1/ any political party, independent candidates coalition parties, fronts, alliances and movements; and
2/  any leader, official, candidates, member, agent and representative of a political party.
4. Gender Reference
The provisions of this Proclamation set out in the masculine gender shall also apply to the feminine gender.
e/ seek to ensure that eligible voters wishing to participate in political activities have freedom to do so.
2/ Every  Political party may not:
a/ harass or obstruct private or government journalists who are engaged in their professional activities, disrupt, interrupt, destroy or frustrate the campaign efforts  of any other party;
b/  prevent the distribution of handbills and leaflets, and the display of posters, of other parties and candidates;
c/ deface, destroy or obscure from view or make illegible in any other way the posters of other parties and candidates;
d/ prevent or in any way hamper any other party from holding rallies, meetings, marches or demonstrations;
e/ prevent any person from attending the political rallies of another party; or
f/ permit supporters to do anything prohibited under this section.
9 The Election Process
Every political party shall:
1/ co-operate with election officials in order to ensure:
a/ peaceful and orderly polling, and
b/ free and fair election for voters without being subjected to any annoyance or    obstructions.
2/ ensure the safety and security of electoral officials before, during and after the polls;
3/ respect and co-operate with accredited election observers and officials;
4/ maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of the voting;
5/ not procure vote through forcible occupation of polling stations or through any illegal activities in the polling stations;
6/ not interfere unjustifiably or in bad faith to disrupt or intervene with the duties of election officials, in the process of casting or counting of votes;
7/ not falsely assert to voters that their votes will not be secret.
10. Accepting to Outcome of a Free and Fair Election
1/ Every political party shall accept the outcome of an election that has been certified by the appropriate authority.
2/ Every party shall submit grievances only to the joint council, the Board or to the courts of law.
3/ Every political party or candidate shall accept and comply with the final decisions of an organ authorized to render final decisions by law.
e/ seek to ensure that eligible voters wishing to participate in political activities have freedom to do so.
2/ Every political party may not:
a/  harass or obstruct private or government journalists who are engaged in their professional activities, disrupt, interrupt, destroy or frustrate the campaign efforts of any other party.
b/ prevent the distribution of handbills and leaflets, and the display of posters, of other parties and candidates;
c/ deface, destroy or obscure from view or make illegible in any other way the posters of other parties and candidates;
d/ prevent or in any way hamper any other party from holding rallies, meetings, marches or demonstrations;
e/ prevent any person from attending the political rallies of another party; or
f/ permit supporters to do anything prohibited under this section.
9. The Election Process
Every political party shall:
1/ co-operate with election officials in order to ensure:
a)    peaceful and orderly polling, and
b)    b/ free and fair election for voters without being subjected to any annoyance or obstructions.
2/ ensure the safety and security of electoral officials before, during and after the polls.
3/ respect and co-operate with accredited election observers and officials.
4/ maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of the voting;
5/ not procure vote through forcible occupation of polling stations or through any illegal activities in the polling stations;
6/ not interfere unjustifiably or in bad faith to disrupt or intervene with the duties of election officials, in the process of casting or counting of votes;
7/ not falsely assert to voters that their votes will not be secret.
10. Accepting the Outcome of a Free and Fair Election
1/ Every political party shall accept the outcome of an election that has been certified  by the appropriate authority.
2/ Every party shall submit grievances only to the joint council, the Board or to the courts of law.
3/ Every  political party or candidate shall accept and comply with the final decisions of an organ authorized to render final decisions by law.
11. Content of Language Used in Elections Campaign
1/ Every political party shall:
a/ organize and conduct its election campaign in a manner that contributes toward a congenial and peaceful atmosphere during the campaign, polling, counting, and post-election period; and
b/ act with a sense of responsibility and dignity befitting its status.
2/ Every speaker at political rallies shall refrain from:
a/ making inflammatory, or defamatory statements;
b/ threatening or inciting violence in any form against any person or groups.
3/ A political party may not issue or distribute either officially or anonymously, pamphlets, newsletters or posters containing language or material that threatens or incites violence.
4/ Without prejudice to other laws, no one shall exert pressure on political parties or candidates due to their speech during the election campaign.
12. Symbols
A political party may not:
1/ imitate the emblem or election symbol of another party;
2/ steal, disfigure or destroy political or campaign materials of another party; or
3/ permit its supporters to do anything prohibited under this section
13. Intimidation and Instigation of Violence
1/ Every political party shall accept that intimidation, or harassment in any form, is unacceptable, and shall:
a/ issue directives expressly forbidding its officials, candidates, members and supporters any act to intimidate any person at any time;
b/  stand against act that incites violence and promote this stance;
c/ campaign against violence or threats of violence, and against any acts of vandalism or public disorder committed or threatened by their officials, candidates, members or supporters; and
d/ respect the rights and propriety interests of other persons and parties.
2/ The leader of any political party shall instruct the party’s officials, candidates, members and supporters that no weapon of any kind, including any traditional weapon, may be brought in any political rally, meeting march or demonstration .
3/  Every political party shall:
a/ not engage in or permit any kind of violent activity to demonstrate its strength or to prove its supremacy;
b/ seek to prevent damage to any public or private property; or
c/ not allow its supporters to do anything prohibited under this section.
14. Abuse of Power
1/ A political shall not
a/ abuse a position of power, privilege or influence for a political purpose, by offering a reward, threatening a penalty, or any other unlawful act so as to attain its political interests by using its position of power, opportunity or ability to influence others;
b/ use Federal, Regional, Municipal or other public resources for campaign purposes in any manner other than those allowed by election laws.
2/ In this section, “a position of power, opportunity or ability to influence” includes parental, family, governmental, police, local militia, military, traditional or customary authority.
15. Corrupt Practices
Every political party shall not:
1/ coerce or offer monetary or other kinds of inducement to persons to vote for or against a particular party or candidate, or to abstain from voting.
2/ coerce or offer monetary or any other kind of inducement to persons to stand or not to stand as candidates, or to withdraw or not to withdraw their candidacies; or
3/ procure the support, assistance of any official of civil servant to promote or hinder the election of a candidate.
16. Continued Communications
1/ Every political party shall make every effort to continuously communicate with other parties.
2/ Without prejudice to the provisions of election law, a Joint Council shall be formed by political parties to serve as a forum for discussion of issues of common concern during an electoral campaign or at any other time.
3/ Independent candidates may participate in the Joint Council as observers. They may also lodge their complaints to the Joint Council for decision according to this Proclamation.
4/ Election officials shall not attend the meeting of the Joint Council. However, they may participate without a right to vote in the meetings of the Joint Council if the Council passes a unanimous decision to this effect.

SECTION THREE
PROMOTING THE CODE OF CONDUCT
PROCLAMATION

17.  Duties of Political Parties and Candidates.
1/ Every political party and every candidate shall promote the Code of Conduct Proclamation to the voters, candidates, member and supporters and ensure that it is known and respected by its members.
2/ Every political party shall promote and support efforts to educate voters as to the Proclamation during election process.
3/ Any political party and candidate shall:
a/ comply with this Proclamation;
b/ provide leadership to its candidates, officials, representatives members and supporters to comply with this Proclamation, electoral law, and shall take appropriate measures to ensure compliance.
4/ Every political party and candidate shall have the duty to publicly state that every one has the right:
a/  to freely express his political views and opinions:
b/ to challenge and debate the political views and opinions of others;
c/ to publish and distribute his own election and campaign materials;
d/ to display banners, bill boards and posters;
e/ to canvass financial, material and other support for a party or candidate, in accordance with the law;
f/ to recruit members for a party;
g/ to hold public meetings;
h/ to attend public meetings.
5/ Political parties and candidates shall publicly declare their commitment to abide by the Proclamation and the codes of conduct therein.
6/ Every political party and candidate shall publicly condemn any action that may harm or undermine the conduct of free and fair elections.
18. Responsibilities of the Board and other Election Officials
1/ The Board shall ensure that all governmental and other relevant institutions which have a direct or indirect role in the election process have the knowledge and understanding of this Proclamation.
2/ The Board shall have the responsibility to disseminate this Proclamation to all concerned.
3/ Election officials at all levels shall provide training on the Proclamation to raise awareness of all concerned.
19. Role of other Bodies
1/ The mass media shall give public education regarding this Proclamation.
2/ Other bodies authorized by the Board in accordance with the electoral law will give education regarding the Proclamation.

SECTION FOUR
ORGANIZATION, RESPONSIBILITIES AND
RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE JOINT
COUNCIL

20. The Establishment of Joint Council
1/ Contesting political parties shall establish a Joint Council in accordance with Article 16 of this Proclamation to enforce this law, to amicably resolve election matters in a manner that promotes democracy, human rights and rule of law in Ethiopia.
2/ Without prejudice to the forum of political parties established by the Board in accordance with the electoral law, joint  councils shall be established at all levels ranging from the Federal to the constituencies.
21. Organization of the Joint Council
1/ National Joint Council shall be organized as follows:
a/ National Joint Council shall be composed of political parties registered to run for  election at national level;
b/ the number of representatives of each party shall be determined by statues to be issued by the Joint Council.
2/ Regional Joint Council shall be organized as follows:
a/ this council shall be composed of parties registered to run for election at Regional level;
b/ the number of representatives of each party shall be determined by statues to be issued by the Joint Council.
3/ Zonal Joint Council shall be established as follows:
a/ this council shall be composed of parties registered to run for election at the zone;
b/ the number of representatives shall be determined by internal rules to be issued by the Joint Council.
4/ The composition at the constituency level shall constitute of the political parties running for elections at that level. Independent candidates shall have an observer statues and as resource person in their own case.
5/ Joint Councils at each level shall have their own organizational autonomy.
6/ Upon the publication of this Proclamation in the Negarit Gazetta, council provided for under this Article shall be established by those political parties which agreed and signed for the enactment of this legislation
7/  Political parties which did not participate during the process of developing the Code of Conduct Proclamation for various reasons may become members of the council after signing the document of agreement prepared by the Joint Council.
8/ The rules of procedure and conduct of meeting of Joint Councils shall be determined by the statutes to be issued by each council.
9/ The budget and office of Joint Councils established at various levels shall be facilitated by peoples’ council at corresponding levels.
22. Objective of the Joint Council
The Joint Councils shall have the objective to:
1/ serve as a common forum to enable political parties discharge their constitutional duties guided by the Proclamation to ensure that elections are free, fair, transparent, democratic, credible and peaceful;
2/ to serve as a forum for dialogue, consultation and control on matters that may arise in relation to the process or results of elections and generally all matters that may arise in inter party relationships and amicably resolve problems in accordance with electoral law and this Proclamation.
23. Duties and Responsibilities of the Joint Council
1/ It shall deliberate on the promotion of democracy, human rights, freedom of thought and rule of law. It shall publicize and implement its decisions. It shall control and ensure the implementation thereof by the member organizations.
2/ It shall ensure that parties discharge their duties to make the election free, transparent, democratic, credible, fair and peaceful.
3/ It shall serve as a forum for discussion and resolution of problems on issues or disagreements about the election process.
4/ It shall ensure that political parties provide education for their members and supporters about this Proclamation.
5/ It shall ensure and follow up the implementation of this Proclamation by all parties.
6/ It shall investigate complaints about the violation of this Proclamation directly by itself or through a committee composed of relevant parties.
7/ Based on the outcome of the investigation of the complaint. It shall take appropriate measures to implement the results arrived through investigation. It shall also ensure that its decision is implemented by the joint effort of political parties. It shall submit its decisions on matters relating to this Proclamation and other election issue to the Board and to the Government. It may publicize this through the mass media where it is deemed necessary.
8/ Parties shall have a permanent session to deliberate and give recommendations on election, democratic  rights, human rights, and rule of law matters.
9/ It may prepare rules and directives on election issues and submit its draft to the Board.

SECTION FIVE
Complaint Handling and Dispute Resolution

24. Lodging of Complaints
1/ Without prejudice to the right to lodge complaints to election officials, any one who believes that this Proclamation is violated may submit complaints supported by evidence to the Joint Council.
2/ Without prejudice to the power given to the Board, the Joint Council may directly investigate or establish an inquiry committees when it receives complaints of violation of  this Proclamation.
3/ Parties, candidates or concerned government organs, shall have the duty to cooperate when the Joint Council itself or an inquiry committee appointed by it undertake an investigation on complaints of violation of this Proclamation.
25. Organization of inquiry committee
1/ An inquiry committee shall be established by the Joint Council at all levels to investigate and report on complaints about violation of the code of conduct.
2/ The inquiry committee shall consist of the political party that has lodged the complaints, the party against whom the complaint is lodged and a neutral third party assigned by the agreement of both parties.
3/ the inquiry committee shall be accountable to the Joint Council which established it.
26. Dispute Resolution Mechanism
1/ When there is a complaint of violation of this Code of Conduct Proclamation the complaining party shall try to amicably resolve the issue through dialogue with the party against whom the complaint is directed.
2/ If the dispute is not resolved, the issue shall be reported to the Joint Council.
3/ The Joint Council shall resolve the problem based on the report or the complaint submitted to it, or based on an investigation directly conducted by itself or by an inquiry committee.
4/ The inquiry committee shall conduct neutral investigation. The committee shall decide by a majority vote. The minority opinion shall be attached to the decision and communicated to the Joint Council.
5/ The inquiry committee shall submit its findings only to the Joint Council to which it is accountable. The Joint Council shall decide on how to disclose the finding  to the public.
6/ The Joint Council shall provide appropriate solution to the dispute based on reports submitted to it. It shall publicize the outcome where it is deemed necessary.
7/ The Joint Council shall prepare and publish timetable for submission and resolution of complaints.
8/ The Joint Council may issue procedure on the production and admission of evidence which is to be enforced on the agreement of political parties.
9/ All complains or grievances shall be investigated promptly.
10/ The Joint Council or inquiry committee shall give a fair chance to be heard for the concerned parties.
11/ The Joint Council shall pass decision on consensus or unanimously.

SECTION SIX
VIOLATION OF PROCLAMATION AND

SUB-SECTION ONE
VIOLATION OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT

27. Corrupt Practices, Abuse of Power or Coercion
Any political party, independent candidate, coalition of parties, front, movement, alliance, political party leader, official, candidate, member, agent and representative shall be deemed to have violated this Proclamation if:
1/ he or it offers or accept monetary of any kind of inducement of bribe;
2/ he or it interferes or disturbs the voting process or counting of votes;
3/ he or it coerces or offers monetary or any kind of inducement to persons to vote for or against a particular party or candidate, or to abstain from voting;
4/ he or it controls polling stations by force or tries to get votes illegally;
5/ he or it abuse its power by offering a reward, threatening a penalty or by any other means;
6/  he or it coerces or offers monetary or any kind of inducement to a person to become a candidate or not to become a candidate, to withdraw or not to withdraw from elections;
7/ a public servant uses official time, responsibilities and resources to promote candidates or discourage other candidates from promoting themselves through legal means;
8/ he or it uses public property for the promotion of election.
28. Intimidation, Violence or any Obstruction in the Election Process.
Any political party, independent candidate, coalition of political parties, front alliance, movement and party leader, official, candidate, member, agent or representative of a party shall be deemed to have violated this Proclamation if:
1/  be or it interferes in the election process through pressure and undue influence;
2/ he or it intimidates or threatens other political parties from disseminating their policies freely;
3/ he or it in any way prevents or hampers the activities of political parties or voters;
4/ he or it disturbs or obstructs the conduct of public rally, meeting education or training;
5/ he or it disturbs or prevents the process of voting;
6/ he or it prevents disrupts, weakens or disturbs the campaign of other political parties or candidates;
7/ he or it obstructs the conduct of rallies, meetings, marches or demonstrations or prevents others from participating in such activities;
8/ he or it creates annoyance or obstruction in the rights of voters;
9/ he or it disturbs or fails to cooperate in attempt to ensure the security of election officials and candidates during the election process;
10/ he or it in any manner prevents the voters from registering or voting;
11/ he or it violates the secrecy of the voting process or fails to ensure its observance;
12/ he or it abuses its right by lodging false and exaggerated complaints under the pretext of violation of this Proclamation.
29. Disseminating Information that Destabilize Peace and Security During the Election Process
Any political party independent candidate, coalition of parties, front, alliance, movement party leader, official, candidate, member, agent or representative of a party shall be deemed to have violated this Proclamation if:
1/ he or it makes a speech which destabilizes the peace of the election campaign, incites violence, defames others, invites clashes or creates uncertainty;
2/ he or it distributes, officially or anonymously, pamphlets, news letters or posters containing language or material that threatens others or incites violence;
3/ he or it induces fear and frustration on the public during campaign;
4/ he or it disseminates false information regarding the secrecy of voting.
30. Disrupting Election Campaign of other Parties and Candidates
Any political party, independent candidate, coalition of parties, front, alliance, movement, party leader, official candidate, member, agent or representative of a party shall be deemed to have violated this Proclamation if:
8/ he or it uses public property for the promotion of election.
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34. Measures to be taken by the Board
Without prejudice the provision of Article 33(1) and (2) of this Proclamation and other measures enshrined in other laws, the electoral board may take the following measures if it is satisfied that there is a violation under this section:
1/ give pubic warning to the political party or person who committed the act;
2/ partially or fully suspend the candidate or party from using the media for a short period of time;
3/  prohibit the party from availing itself the benefit of financial support provided by the government;
4/ cancel a private or political party candidate from his candidacy depending on the gravity of the act;
5/ suspend the political party from running for election.
35. Measures to be Taken by Courts
1/ The court may take the following measures in addition to the penalties or prohibitions listed under Article 34 of this Proclamation.
2/ Without prejudice to other penalties provided by law, exercising or participating in any political activity during voting day other than performing an assigned lawful activity or voting; printing, duplicating election results while prohibited or committing offence under Article 27, 28 and/ or the following offence shall be punishable with fine or up to three years of imprisonment.
a/ interfering with the impartiality of election officials preventing someone from accomplishing his duty by offering bribe or promise;
b/ disseminates false information that stirs hatred or fear or unduly influence the process or result with intent to disrupt or prevent the election process from running or with intent to unduly influence the process or outcome of election;
c/ violates the secrecy of voting;
d/ violates prohibitions relating to election materials and voting;
e/ disrupts the activity of the Board or election officials.
3/ Any person who violates prohibitions concerning activities of political parties, announcement of election results, voters or parties right; or makes a speech knowing that it is false or imitation; or without having reasonable grounds about the truth is punishable with fine or imprisonment not more than one year.
4/ Any person who:
a/ intentionally disrupts or prevents the Board, election official, employee of the Board while exercising its responsibilities and duties;
b/ intentionally disrupts any board meeting or under any circumstance commits other improper act in such places;
c/ intentionally commits any act in the working place of the Board so as to unduly influence the decision or order of any matter that is pending before it;
d/ commits offences listed under Article 30 or 31; shall be punishable with fine or imprisonment not exceeding one year.

SECTION SEVEN
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

36. Duty to Cooperate
Every person shall have the duty to cooperate in the implementation of this Proclamation.
37. Power to Enact Regulations and Directives
The Board may issue regulations or directives to ensure the implementation of this Proclamation.
38. Inapplicable Laws
Any law, or practice, shall not apply to matters covered under this Proclamation.
39. Effective Date
This Proclamation shall enter into force as of the date of its approval by the House of Peoples’ Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia at the 22nd day of December 2009.
Done at Addis Ababa, this 2nd Day of January 2010

GIRMA WOLDEGIORGIS
PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA
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