'Remove Banners, Cut-outs'
By Yohan Perera
Mar 13, 2010
Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has directed IGP Mahinda Balasuriya to remove all illegal cutouts and banners before March 15 and to stop buses displaying stickers of candidates from plying. He had also directed him to confiscate those buses if they fail to remove those display material.

He gave these directions when he met the IGP together with political party leaders last afternoon at the Elections Secretariat to discuss moves aimed at conducting a free and fair general election.

Democratic National Alliance frontliner and Former JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake told journalist that the polls chief gave these directions on cutouts and advertisements when they raised objections on the violation of election laws and also on the unfair deals which the lesser affluent candidates got when it came to campaigning. He said there was inequality between the wealthy candidates and the less fortunate ones. Mr. Dissanayake said wealthy candidates were able to spend billions for their campaigns while the lesser fortunate ones were left helpless.

The Elections Commissioner had also assured party representatives that he would meet the heads of state media soon and create a situation where all political parties would get equal space or time in the state media. Casting doubts on the implementation of this move the former MP said the opposition parties had no alternatives if the state media did not give fair time to them.

Former UNP MP Joseph Michael Perera said the polls chief had also promised to consider giving lists of those persons to whom the Department of Elections was giving temporary identity cards. He charged that 1.7 million temporary identity cards had been printed so far whereas only 1 million were needed. He said the Elections Commissioner had also agreed to send minutes of meetings he holds with political party representatives of each party.

Education Minister and UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajanatha said the Elections Chief had agreed to allow each party to have a campaign office in each electorate and a district office in each district. He said it was also agreed to allow the candidates to have campaign offices through the party instead of having their own offices.

He said the party leaders also agreed to meet the IGP separately to discuss on holding political rallies and on using the public address systems at those rallies.

It was also mentioned that yesterday’s meeting was the beginning of a series of discussions between the polls chief and political party representatives as it had been the case in number of past elections.

Courtesy: Daily Mirror