Political campaign messages disappeared from mass media at midnight Wednesday, the official start of an electoral campaign ban ordered by Costa Rica’s Electoral Code.
The law stipulates that all paid messages must be suspended three days before Election Day and during Sunday’s vote.
The ban includes airing or printing of paid propaganda in newspapers, radio, television and on the Web.
However, during the 2010 elections the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) ruled that in the case of Internet messages, the restriction only applies to the online publication of paid ads or banners, meaning candidates are allowed to post messages in free platforms such as social networks.
The ban also prohibits the publication of electoral opinion polls. Costa Rica’s Electoral Code also does not allow publication of survey results, even in social media.
The rule applies “to all citizens, not only political parties or polling companies,” TSE President Luis Antonio Sobrado said recently.
Survey results will be allowed again on Sunday night, after the official session in which the TSE announces its first reports from voting centers.
Last Monday was the final day for political parties to convene meetings or rallies in public places.
If none of the candidates reaches the required 40 percent of the vote to win the election, the TSE will open a new election season for a runoff vote that will be held on April 6 with the top two candidates. Those candidates would be allowed to air media campaigns and to participate in political debates.
The TSE officially opened election season on Oct. 2, allowing candidates to pursue the votes of more than 3 million registered voters, both in Costa Rica and in 42 countries where Ticos abroad will vote for the first time.