Elections Current Affairs - 2019
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Election Commission (EC) has announced that Model Code of Conduct comes into force immediately in states where legislative assemblies have been dissolved prematurely. It also held that after dissolution caretaker government as well as the central government is barred from announcing new schemes in particular state from date of dissolution of legislative assembly till new House is elected.
Model Code of Conduct
MCC is set of guidelines issued by Election Commission to regulate conduct of political parties and their candidates in run up to elections. It is aimed at ensuring free and fair elections. The Code doesn’t have any statutory basis and not enforceable by law. But it has indisputable legitimacy and parties across the political spectrum have generally adhered to its letter and spirit. It was issued for first time in 1971 before 5th Lok Sabha elections. Since then, it has been issued before every central and state election and revised from time to time.
The main objective of MCC is to ensure level playing field for all political parties, prevent conflicts between parties, and ensure law and order in heat of election season. Its primary purpose is to ensure that ruling party does not misuse or use government machinery to its advantage for its election campaign purpose. It is applicable to political parties, their candidates and polling agents, government in power and all government employees.
Date of enforcement of MCC
It has evolved over years of tussle between EC and government. IT kicks in day EC announces the poll dates. This is based on agreement between EC and Central government reached on April 16, 2001. However, agreement imposes condition on EC that announcement cannot be more than three weeks before date of notification of polls. It was agreed that inauguration of any project will be done by civil servants so that MCC does not stand in the way of public interest.
The fourth edition of Asian electoral stakeholders forum (AESF-IV) was held Colombo, Sri Lanka to discuss the state of elections and democracy in the region. This was for first time AESF was held in South Asia. It was jointly organised by Election Commission of Sri Lanka and Asian network for free elections (ANFREL).
The theme of AESF-IV was ‘Advancing Election Transparency and Integrity: Promoting and Defending Democracy Together‘. It was attended by more than 250 delegates from 45 countries. India was represented by Chief Electoral Officer of Maharashtra Ashwini Kumar and NGO.
It covered wide array of crucial election issues like current state of democracy in Asia, common electoral challenges in the region, and various good practices employed to make elections better. It culminated with endorsement of landmark document, urging election stakeholders from within Asia and beyond to promote and defend democracy in the region.
Asian electoral stakeholders forum (AESF)
ASEF is the largest gathering of election management bodies (EMBs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) in Asia. It is being held in order to secure the broad establishment of democracy and security when holding elections within the region.
It provides opportunity for Asian election commissions, election observers, non-government organizations (NGOs) and interstate bodies to gather and discuss state of elections and democracy in the region. It also provides platform for institutionalizing capacity building efforts to pave the way for more meaningful and credible election through cooperation among stakeholders.
Previous AESF gatherings were instrumental in setting benchmarks and guidelines on conducting truly democratic elections which respect internationally recognized human rights and election principles and norms. The first AESF was held in Thailand in 2012 and had endorsed Bangkok Declaration on Free and Fair Elections. The second AESF was held in Dili, Timor Leste in 2015 and had established Dili Indicators of Democratic Elections. The third AESF was held in 2016 in Bali, Indonesia which had framed Bali Commitment: Eight Keys to Electoral Integrity.