Dharamshala — At a press conference on Thursday, the Chief Election Commissioner Mr Sonam Choephel Shosur accompanied by the two additional election commissioners explained the rules and regulations announced earlier by the election commission to ensure uniformity in campaign for the upcoming elections for Sikyong and Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.
The Chief Election Commissioner specifically clarified nine points regarding article 24 of the electoral rules and regulations issued by the election commission. He said the clarification is being made to ensure uniformity in understanding the code of conduct to be followed by the candidates for campaigning.
The clarifications include the steps to be taken by the election commission in cases of unwarranted strategies used by the candidates during campaign. The steps are included as follows:
1: If an individual resorts to physical intimidation or verbal coercion to vote in favour of a certain candidate, the democratic rights of voting of the individual will be withdrawn for 10 years.
2: If a candidate or supporters of a candidate resorts to character assassination or defamation of another candidate with intention to sow seeds of discord on the basis of religion, region, community, etc, (if proven) the votes accrued on that particular candidate’s name will be nullified. Moreover, the individual who resorted to such tactics will be denied their democratic rights of voting for the next 10 years.
3: If a candidate or his/her supporters resort to circulation of false propaganda materials during campaign, he or she will be denied their democratic rights of voting for the next 10 years.
4: Once the election commission announces the electoral rules, an incumbent Sikyong, Kalon or Member of Parliament cannot use his/her good offices and the staff of Central Tibetan Administration or official visits, for personal electoral benefits or to influence voters in their favour. He/she is also prohibited from participating, in an official capacity, in debates and discussions organised by non-governmental organisations. If a Sikyong, Kalon or Member of Parliament breaches this rule, the votes accrued on their name from that particular place/region will be nullified.
5: Other than NGOs officially recognised by the Central Tibetan Administration, no other individual or organisation can endorse or spend money for campaign without the written approval of the candidate. If an individual is found guilty, he or she will be denied his rights of voting for any democratic organization.
The non-governmental organistaions officially recognized by the CTA are Utsang Cholka, Dotoe Association, Domey Association, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, National Democratic Party of Tibet, Gu-Chu-Sum Movement, Ngari Tibetan Association, Association of Former Tibetan political prisoners, Pokhra Lodrik Welfare Association, and Tibetan Chikdril Tsogpa.
6: Total campaign expenses of a candidate should be submitted to the office of the local election commission before the results of the final election is declared. If the candidate fails to submit the expense details on time, 10% of the votes accrued on the candidate’s name will be nullified.
7: Campaign posters and pamphlets for the election of Sikyong and Tibetan parliament should specify the names of the individuals who printed and circulated the material. If the individual fails to do so, five years of voting rights will be denied.
8: Candidates are prohibited from using His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s images, the official emblems or logos of the CTA, or flags/ maps of Tibet for election symbols. If a candidate is found violating this regulation, 5% of the votes accrued on the candidate’s name will be nullified.
9: Candidates should conduct their campaign abiding by the laws of the host country. Posters of candidates and pamphlets should not be used in politically sensitive regions. If this regulation is violated, the candidate is barred from standing for elections for the next five years. The individual who pasted the poster would be denied voting rights for the next five years.