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EXPLAINED: Election etiquette

EXPLAINED: Election etiquette

Wednesday 06 April 2022

EXPLAINED: Election etiquette

Wednesday 06 April 2022


Staging fewer photo ops and avoiding making big or divisive decisions and are among the rules Ministers are being asked to follow in the run-up to the election.

But backbenchers and other election hopefuls will also have to follow a set of standards that should guide how they engage in everything from posters to spending and campaigning.

Express took a closer look…

"Public faces" you should be able to trust

In the months leading up to election day on Wednesday 22 June, candidates will be “scrutinised in detail” by opponents and voters.

From sticking within the strict spending limit to removing posters within two days of the election, candidates must ensure they follow the rules down to a T – all of which are outlined in the Code of Conduct. 

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Pictured: From taking posters down to spending limits, candidates will have to follow the rules down to a T.

The Code offers a handy guide for candidates and their supporters as to what is, and is not, considered acceptable behaviour in the lead-up to polling day. 

It stresses that candidates are the “key public faces” of the election. Voters should be able to "trust" that they comply with the law and maintain the “integrity” of the election process. 

Selflessness, honesty and objectivity 

Key to this is the ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’, commonly known as the ‘Nolan Principles’, which are the ethical standards for anyone working in the public sector.  

The principles include selflessness (“you should act solely in terms of the public interest”), honesty (“you should be truthful”), and objectivity (“you must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit”) as well as integrity, accountability, openness and leadership. 

Candidates must understand the offences they should “seek to avoid” (including bribery), in addition to the finer details of the Code, such as the limit on the number of supporters allowed outside a polling place. 

An impartial election                 

During the election period, current Ministers must also follow rules for the “sake of an impartial election”, adapting their behaviour during the election period.  

They too receive guidance on what they can, and cannot, do during the ‘period of sensitivity’, which will run from 11 May, when nominations open, to 12 July, when the last Minister has been elected into office. 

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Pictured: The 'period of sensitivity' isn't just pre-election - it runs until the last Minister has been elected into office by the States Assembly.

During this time, Ministers retain executive responsibilities, and the essential business of government continues.

But, there are certain things that members of Government must consider when it comes to decision-making and communication. 

Delaying decision-making 

The Codes of Conduct and Practice for Ministers and Assistant Ministers highlight that Ministers should “observe discretion in initiating any new action of a continuing or long-term character”. 

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Pictured: Ministers should avoid 'big' decisions just before the election.

Ministers should also postpone making decisions on policies where a newly elected Minister might have a different view, providing that delay is not detrimental to the island’s interests or wasteful of public money. 

Don't try to steal the limelight from candidates

Regarding communications, the Code states that “Ministers should apply sensible restrictions on the publicity they issue in connection with their role as a Minister during this period.” 

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Pictured: Whether at a school, sports pitch or Fort Regent, Ministerial publicity and photo ops are discouraged during the 'period of sensitivity'.

The guidance goes on to say that Ministers should do “everything possible” to avoid competition with candidates for public attention, while advertising campaigns should be postponed to stop the Government from artificially increasing the price of advertising space.  

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Posted by Scott Mills on
No hanging round polling stations like bouncers!!!!!
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