Holding elections in the time of pandemic will not be easy but should not be viewed as impossible without considering reasonable measures that could protect both health and democratic rights.
The coronavirus crisis rewrites the rules of political campaigning.
Avoiding a big gathering with more than 50 people is mandatory to slow the spread of coronavirus during the election campaigns because our country is facing a rapidly moving pandemic, and any death, any case, is tragic.
However, over the past several weeks, social distancing regulations were not always followed during election campaigns, and members of the public attending campaign events were sometimes negligent in following the health guidelines released by the Ministry of Health and Sports. All have a role to ensure no spread of infection during electoral campaigning.
Over the past several weeks, social distancing regulations were not always followed during election campaigns, and members of the public attending campaign events were sometimes negligent in following the health guidelines
The UEC sent a message to all violators yesterday that the election campaign rules violators will face legal punishment by authorities.
According to a recent survey about risks which have the potential to disrupt the upcoming general elections, the COVID-19 pandemic posed a 46 per cent chance of disrupting the elections, while election campaigns were set at 13 per cent. The survey has shown that free and fair general elections can also be threatened by poor monitoring of the elections (4 per cent); by fake news, rumours and misinformation (3 per cent); by voters having insufficient voting education (3 per cent); by disruption caused by racism and religionism (3 per cent) and by incorrect voting lists (2 per cent).
However, public faith in elections is the bedrock of democracy and we must do everything we can to hold the November-8 general elections successfully and safely.
Election administrators and workers in regions and states are highly urged to ramp up measures for electoral processes now.
The authorities will take action against those who threaten the free and fair manner of the general elections by disrupting the electoral opportunities of the people, including threatening, inciting riots based on racism and religion, and harming the peace of the community and the rule of law, as violators will face legal punishments.
We would like to urge every citizen to uphold the rule of law and also make clear that any kind of activities that disrupt the electoral process has no place in a civilized democracy.