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Political parties urged to promote peaceful elections

by Nthambeleni Gabara
on 26 Nov 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Leaders of political parties represented at the National Assembly have been urged to promote a violence-free environment in the run-up to next year's general elections, according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The IEC and political parties held a pre-election conference in Durban on Tuesday, where parties pledged to support and abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct.

Political parties were required to make a pledge to abide by the code at a public ceremony attended by a number of key stakeholders.

IEC Chairperson, Dr Brigalia Bam, explained that the code promoted conditions that were conducive to free and fair elections, including tolerance of democratic political activity, free political campaigning and open public debate.

Among other issues, the code calls on every registered political party and its candidates to:

* Publicly state that everyone has the full right to freely express their political beliefs and opinions;

* Challenge and debate the political beliefs and opinions of others, publish and distribute election and campaign materials including notices and advertisements; and

* Lawfully erect banners, billboards, placards and posters, canvass support for a party or candidate, recruit members for a party, hold public meetings, travel and attend public meetings.

"All political parties represented at national level pledged to respect their political differences and desist from using violent tactics in the run-up to next year's election," she said.

Ms Bam also announced that they were working with the departmental task team comprising the departments of Safety and Security, National Intelligence, Defence and Home Affairs to promote free and fair elections. - BuaNews

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