Candidates and political analysts are criticizing the Electoral Affairs Commission for the Legislative Assembly Election (CAEAL), for creating confusion between the definitions of “propaganda activities” and the rights of candidates to inform the public of their agenda – another controversy in addition to the short amount of time given to candidates to promote themselves. A total of 25 teams, with an aggregate of 192 candidates, will contest the direct election for the Legislative Assembly (AL) on September 17. Six teams, with a total of 15 candidates will contest the indirect election. On August 1, the commission issued its second election guideline in a bid to regulate campaign promotional activities. However several candidates and political analysts expressed their belief that it is absurd for the commission to issue such guidelines.
The guideline titled “2/CAEL/2017” requires the removal or deletion of any message or information – displayed in any public area and online platform – that aims to draw public attention to a particular candidate or candidates.
Any message or information aimed at encouraging voters – in an explicit or implicit way – to vote or not vote for a particular candidate or candidates are also prohibited.
Candidates are banned from performing any kind of act deemed as propaganda until September 2. Thus with the current silent period for candidates, some, especially newcomers, are finding it problematic to promote themselves for the AL elections.