13 parties have signed the Memorandum on code of conduct. Photo: Central Elections Commission

Political parties agreed not to use the social networks as a weapon against their opponents, not to disseminate false information and hate speech against each other as well as not to use figureheads to post political advertising in the social media.

The Memorandum was signed  today on September 4 in the Central Election Commission (CEC) among the political parties, which will participate in the parliamentary elections to the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic, scheduled for October 4, 2020. It commits the parties to observe these and other rules of the code of conduct.

The purpose of signing this Memorandum is to help political parties agree on accepted “rules of the game” and to raise confidence in the electoral process. Such codes of conduct also help prevent conflicts and strengthen public support to the democratic process.

Ms. Nurzhan Shaildabekova, the CEC Chairwoman, noted that ensuring free and fair elections is the mandate of the CEC, but achieving this alone is impossible. The parties therefore were invited to sign a Memorandum to leverage the efforts aimed at making the elections fair, clean and credible.

“I hope that all stakeholders will comply with this. It is a sort of a code, so called gentleman’s agreement. Everything cannot be provided for in the laws, probably it is not necessary to do that, and the memorandum is one of the examples of how one can take commitments to achieve a goal”, she noted.

Deputy head of the Central Election Commission Abdyzhapar Bekmatov delivering a speech during the event. Photo: Central Elections Commission

 

This Memorandum was drafted by UNDP and the Central Election Commission with the support from the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. The Memorandum serves as a Code of conduct for political parties, a so-called “gentleman’s agreement”, which aims at defining permissible methods of political struggle and campaigning rules that complement the provisions of the law.

According to Ms. Yulia Shipilova, UNDP Senior Advisor on Elections, “The signing of the Memorandum between political parties is an important safeguard for democratic elections in accordance with the international standards and the best international practices. The fact that all political parties agreed to the provisions of the Memorandum and support them testifies to the development of political culture and new standards of campaigning, in particular, in the social media.”

Ms. Aigul Baiburayeva, the representative of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy in Kyrgyzstan, noted the importance of the Memorandum from the point of view of the international practice: “In the international practice, the Memorandum is a kind of an agreement between the parties, which undertake to act exclusively within the framework of the law, not to use hate speech, not to distribute materials containing threats of violence, hostility and libel as well as other sets of rules. We hope that signing the Memorandum will help guarantee fair elections based on democratic principles.”

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