Candidates offering voters food or drink hampers when on the campaign trail could be in breach of the law, said Aditus Foundation.
The human rights NGO called on the electorate to report to the police any food or drink offered to them in exchange for their vote.
“Following last week’s statement, where we criticised the way democracy is treated in Malta, this week we are reminding the nation that a vote is not a commodity that can be bought or sold.
“It is a fundamental human right that should be respected and protected. Although Malta does have legislation in place attempting to ensure a dignified and respectful electoral process, it seems to be ignored,” Aditus said.
Aditus’ comments follow reports that some candidates have resorted to sending bags of oranges or bottles of wine, among other items, to constituents.
While not commenting on whether it was unlawful to accept similar goods, Aditus told this newspaper that such a practice was
questionable and it was up to the authorities to intervene.
According to the General Elections Act’s schedule 14 (article 54), “every voter who corruptly accepts or takes any such food, drink, entertainment or provision shall also be guilty of the offence of treating”.
Meanwhile, it is also unlawful for anyone to provide any food, drink, entertainment “for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to give or refrain from giving his vote at the election”.
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