No power to intervene says elections commissioner
July 13, 2012
A loophole in the election laws which allow propaganda before nominations have ended but is being exploited by candidates in the Trincomalee and Kegalle area, election monitors said yesterday.

Elections Commissioner, Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday that cut outs and posters displayed now were the responsibility of the civil authorities and urban councils. The Commissioner said he had no power to intervene in election propaganda being conducted as he had the authority to do so only after nominations.

However, he said that a meeting regarding illegal propaganda will be held with political parties, observers and the police on July, 20.

Election monitors said parties have already begun propaganda even though nominations for the upcoming provincial councils have not ended. Campaign for a Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) said that cut outs and posters were yet seen even though the matter was brought to the attention of the local authorities.

Monitors said loopholes in the law was being exploited by candidates in the area even though they have no idea whether they will be standing for elections. “No one knows if these candidates will be accepted to contest the elections but they have already begun their election campaigns,” CaFFE executive director, Keerthi Tennakoon said.

Tennakoon said they were expecting illegal propaganda to worsen after nominations and requested the commissioner to take appropriate measures to prevent it. “If propaganda is going to start off on a bad note we don’t know what it will be once the nominations have been given in,” he said.

The PC elections for the Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern provinces are to be held in early September.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka