The distribution of duvets by Minister Alan Ganoo last Sunday caused controversy. This is not the first time that a candidate has found himself at the center of such controversy in the run-up to an election. Hence the proposal for a code of conduct with the force of law to govern their actions.

“Mo donn kwet for 40 years. » Scathing response from the minister and elected representative for constituency no. 14 (Savanne/Rivière-Noire) Alan Ganoo, following the controversy that arose after he distributed duvets last Sunday. Where the problem lies is that the country is currently in an election year. The question therefore arises: should a code of conduct with the force of law not be considered to govern the actions of potential candidates and thus create a level playing field?

For him, all this looks like “cheap politics”. “This is why I insist on the fact that we need a law with planned sanctions. It must be a binding law. A simple code of conduct is not enough,” argues Anil Gayan.

A code of conduct would be useful if it is discussed and agreed by all candidates as well as parties and then signed by them before the elections, says Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication Christina Chan-Meetoo. “It would be a sort of declaration on honor and would make it possible to call them to order in the event of deviation from a code that they themselves would have created together,” she specifies.

And what do the main stakeholders think? Shakeel Mohamed, PTr deputy for No. 3 (Port-Louis Maritime/Port-Louis East) and leader of the opposition, is categorical: “We need a code of conduct with the force of law. » According to him, nothing has so far prevented the government from introducing such a law. “It’s just that the government doesn’t want this code of conduct,” he says.

However, Vikash Nuckcheddy, MP for constituency no. 9 (Flacq/Bon-Accueil) and Parliamentary Private Secretary, speaks in favor of “a law on the code of conduct for aspiring candidates”. However, he considers it “unfortunate” that a law may be necessary for potential candidates for universal suffrage to behave well during the campaign. “They should, de facto, behave in an exemplary manner, whether there is a law or not! It’s a question of value and a culture,” he insists.

However, it is not that simple. MP Nando Bodha, co-leader of Linion Moris, points out that if he is in favor of a code of conduct having the force of law, it is still necessary to know what said code of conduct includes. “We must follow the example of India. I start from the principle that the code of conduct should be very precise in order to demonstrate the obstruction committed by the candidate,” he says.

In the process, Nando Bodha says that the Representation of People's Act also needs to be revisited “because things have changed over time. » “But democracy requires that the code of conduct be put in place. Better late than never,” he adds.

The lawyer and constitutionalist Milan Meetarbhan asks the question of “who and how violations of the Code would be sanctioned” in the event that there was a mandatory code of conduct. “These sanctions could occur during an electoral campaign and have a significant impact on the outcome of the elections. What is the independent and credible body composed of competent and impartial people which will have the powers to sanction the alleged violations in a non-partisan manner? ” he asks.

A modified code of conduct

We contacted the electoral commission. We were made to understand that “the code of conduct possibly containing modifications” will be published during the next general elections, as was the case during the 2019 polls. Yusuf Aboobaker, the chairman of the Electoral Supervisory Commission, was asked for a statement. But in vain.

Géraldine Hennequin-Joulia, founder, Ideal Démocrate: “This is not a matter that should be resolved by public authorities”

“These distributions sometimes of fleeces, sometimes of macaroni are thug methods! No more no less. It is these practices that distract citizens from politics. They are destined to disappear,” insists Géraldine Hennequin-Joulia, founder of Idéal Démocrate (ID).

She explains that in general, it is the parties which issue a code of ethics for their members and/or their candidates. “This is not a matter that should be handled by public authorities. It comes down to moral questions, personal values ​​that guide you as an individual,” she believes.

What the 2019 code of conduct says

  • Fair media coverage: Public and private media must provide fair media coverage to all election participants.
  • Ethical behavior: Candidates and stakeholders must refrain from corruption, respect individual differences and freedoms, and campaign in accordance with the law.
  • Freedom of Speech and Access: Candidates have the right to express their political opinions and allow the public and media to attend their rallies. The dissemination of false news and defamatory information to harm opponents is prohibited.
  • Financial transparency: Candidates must be transparent in their campaign finances and spending, respecting legal limits.
  • Respect for the environment: Electoral campaigns must be conducted with respect for the environment.
  • Supervision of the “baz”: The “baz” must not be a source of nuisance or conflict, and the consumption of alcohol and illegal activities are prohibited.
  • Behavior of election officials: Election officials must act with professionalism, impartiality and integrity.
  • Behavior of candidates in the event of victory or defeat: They must avoid shows of force and behave in a way that preserves the integrity of the electoral process.
  • Compliance with election laws: Candidates must comply with all requirements of election laws and report any illegal acts to the Election Commission.

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