A Statement on the Tools and Contents of Elections Campaigns up to 3.9.2016

Integrity Coalition for Elections Observation
The 18th Parliamentary General Elections, 2016
A Statement on the Tools and Contents of Elections Campaigns up to 3.9.2016

Elections campaigns were launched on the first day of candidates’ registration on 16.8.2016 in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (A) of Article (20) of the Elections Law and with the Executive Instructions number (7) of 2016 on the rules of campaigning. The Executive Instructions were issued based on both paragraph (F) of Article (12) of the Independent Election Commission Law of 2012 and its amendments as well as paragraph (B) of Article (20) of Parliamentary Election Law May 2016.
The Integrity Coalition for Election Observation monitored the campaigns in all of the electoral districts. Quantitative monitoring forms were used to document the adherence of lists and candidates to the regulations and instructions relevant to campaigning, whereas qualitative monitoring forms were used to analyse the contents of campaigns and the discourse of candidates and lists. The Coalition’s monitors recorded 100 rallies that included inaugurations of candidates’ headquarters and meetings up to 3.9.2016. What follows are the highlights of the monitoring process.
As to the tools of the campaigns, the Coalition recorded the tools used to contact voters by lists and candidates, (The media was excluded). It appears that posters and banners are the most common form as they were used in 93% of the campaigns. Social networking sites were used in 81% of campaigns. Next to that, brochures and printouts were used in 67% of the campaigns while in 50% of them field visits were used. Finally, 25% of the campaigns used mobile text messages.
As to the issues and topics addressed by the campaigns, in the majority of cases they were general topics. Most of the lists did not deliver specific or applicable messages. They merely placed loose slogans that can’t be translated into clear and well defined agendas. Using quantitative analysis in studying the topics, most campaigns focused on the economic and developmental aspects. 21% of the topics were focused on those two aspects.
The least addressed issues were those related to national unity (2%), and issues related to either tribal topics or civic state (3% for each).
The campaigns also focused on slogans of democracy and human rights (15%), Local societal issues also scored the same and were followed by issues related to poverty and unemployment (10%). Only 7% of the campaigns focused on topics related to justice, integrity, and anticorruption.

Moreover, there was some sort of disparity among the campaigns when focusing on different issues. For example, topics related to security matters were prevalent in only 8% of the campaigns. Topics related to women were only addressed in 5% of the campaigns. The Palestinian cause was addressed in 7% of the campaigns.
On the other hand, the following results were obtained using qualitative tools. 66% of the campaigns clearly addressed issues related to women, whereas 24% of them marginally mentioned such issues. Moreover, in 10% of the campaigns, no mention of women related issues was made.
In those campaigns that addressed women issues, the general image of women rights was evaluated as being positive in 88% of the campaigns, whereas in the remaining 12% the image was evaluated as being negative. Women actively participated in 67% of the campaigns.
As to the campaigns focus on minorities, 37% of the campaigns clearly addressed this topic, 43% of the campaigns marginally addressed it, and 20% of the issues never addressed this topic. In those campaigns that addressed this topic, 88% of them were evaluated as presenting a positive image of the topic, whereas the rest dealt with the issue in a negative manner. In 37% of the campaigns, the minorities actively participated in the campaigns. However, in 63% of the campaigns these said minorities have not participated.
The issue of refugees was not one of the strongly dealt with issue in campaigns. Only 7% of the campaigns strongly focused on it. 53% of the campaigns marginally mentioned this topic while 40% of the campaigns did not address this topic at all.