U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Query

I would like to know if there are any best practice codes for electoral campaigns. We are running a project on improving transparency and probity in electoral campaigns and would like to review codes in other contexts.

Content

  1. Electoral campaigns: Overview of corruption risks
  2. Electoral campaigns: Methods to counter corruption risks
  3. References

Summary

Integrity and fairness in electoral campaigns are central to well-functioning democracies. It is therefore vitally important to ensure that corruption does not enter electoral campaigns and as a result damage the credibility of the entire election system and its outcomes.

Major corruption risks to electoral campaigns come in the form of ballot stuffing, vote-buying and voter register manipulation, as well as via the abuse of state resources, to swing the election campaign in the favour of one party or candidates – usually the incumbent.

Therefore, it is important for a country to have a robust and comprehensive legal system that directly and clearly counters the potential for corruption to discredit the election process. This framework must include robust election mechanisms, the opportunity for free and meaningful oversight from both national and international observers and sanctions that are dissuasive yet proportionate to the offences committed.

Moreover, countries can benefit from a code of conduct that is either enshrined in electoral law or which has been created by a country’s political parties. These can create a simple checklist of actions that are, and are not, admissible in the course of the election campaign and can be used to easily hold parties and candidates to account.

Authors

Ben Wheatland, Transparency International, bwheatland@transparency.org

Date

12/08/2015

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