Election campaigning is a means by which candidates and political parties present their policy options to voters so that voters can make educated and informed decisions on election day. Candidates and political parties use different strategies to reach voters and share their messages. Election campaigns are essential in creating informed voters and providing equal opportunity for all candidates to compete for votes. According to the NEBE approved electoral calendar for Ethiopia’s upcoming sixth general election, the campaigning season is from February 15 to May 31, 2021(የካቲት 8 – ግንቦት 23, 2013). Hence, some political parties have officially started their national campaigning.
The political parties are entitled to start campaigning from the day a candidate (not the political party) received a candidature certificate until four days to the election day. A candidate can call rallies and organize peaceful demonstrations without permission from the administration or municipality. However, he/she has to send written notification and respect the constitution and other relevant laws, the rights of voters, and the right of other candidates to contest in a peaceful and democratic manner. Moreover, the candidate also should follow the directives and campaign code of conduct adopted by NEBE.[i] All political parties which are participating in the election are entitled to equal access to state-owned Mass Media. Each responsible governmental institutions have an obligation to create a conducive environment for each political party’s campaigning activities.[ii]
However, it is prohibited to conduct election campaigning at
- mosques and churches;
- military camps and police stations;
- within a 200-meter radius of educational institutions and its surrounding when school is in session;
- within a 200-meter radius of a permanent or periodic market place in a rural or urban area while trading is officially in progress;
- governmental and public institutions during regular working hours; and
- places and areas where other public meetings are in progress.
[i] At the time of writing this article we could not find any directives or campaign code of conduct related to campaigning.
[ii] For more details please see the Ethiopian Electoral, Political Parties Registration and Election’s Code of Conduct Proclamation (Proclamation No. 1162/2019), Articles 43-46.