The Regulation of Electoral Campaigns – Chad

The Regulation of Electoral Campaigns

Chad

Electoral campaigns are strictly regulated by the Electoral Code of Chad. The Code determines both the length of campaigns and the authorities who have the mandate to regulate them.

Length and regulation of electoral campaigns

Electoral campaigns last 20 full days. A campaign must end 24 hours before the day of the elections. In the past, electoral campaigns lasted 30 days for presidential elections and 21 days for all the other elections. Given that the CENI (National Independent Electoral Committee) was unable to comply with these deadlines, changes were made to this provision of the Electoral Code so that the length of electoral campaigns for all elections was set at 20 days.

The High Council of Communication is in charge of regulating the time allocated for the use of the media. The Council determines the chronological order and the time allotted to candidates for the use of public media. Article 119 of the Electoral Code states that all candidates shall have equal access to public media in order to present their political platforms. Generally, the amount of time is jointly decided by the High Council of Communication and the political parties competing in the election. However, in reality, there is no equal access to public media because members of the Government benefit from media coverage during their presence at ribbon cutting ceremonies for new projects or their participation at ground breaking ceremonies for future projects.

The funding of political parties

The funding of political parties and electoral campaigns is not regulated by law. The Electoral Code simply indicates that political parties and candidates pay their own political expenses. It determines however, the conditions under which electoral campaign expenses can be reimbursed. The Law determines the maximum amount for which expenses are reimbursed. Candidates or lists of candidates that obtained 10% of the vote are eligible for reimbursement, the reimbursement ceilings defined by the law are, five hundred million CFA (1 million US $), ten million CFA (20,000 US $) and five million CFA (10,000 US $) for presidential, legislative, and local elections respectively.

Under such circumstances, the issue of the lawfulness of campaign financing is often raised. There is no obligation for parties or candidates to indicate the sources of their funding or the amounts they have raised. The reimbursements authorized by the Electoral Code are disbursed on the basis of the declarations made by candidates. The lack of laws and mechanisms to control the funding of electoral campaigns make the reimbursement process less than transparent.

The Political Parties Charter includes the principle of providing public funding to political parties, but no amount is specified. Article 54 of the Charter states the criteria which must be met by political parties to be eligible for such funding. The criteria are concerned with their participation in elections, the number of elected members at the National Assembly or local government councils (regional, departmental, municipal, and rural), and whether they have women among their elected representatives.

However, while the law is silent about the funding of political campaigns, it does provide details about the use of public funds allocated to political parties. Each party must present an account of all public funds received to the Financial Section of the Supreme Court by March 31 of the current year. Lack of transparency in their accounting may lead to the termination of their funding for the following year, and even legal prosecution. This requirement to report all use of public funds, stated in the Political Parties Charter or Law 19 is not currently enforced and only a handful of parties have fulfilled this obligation.

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