Sri Lankan General Elections 2010

Lanka Needs Independent Polls Commission

Int’l monitoring body says it should have powers to even ban parties or disqualify candidates

By Kelum Bandara

International election monitors stressed yesterday that Sri Lanka should have a proactive and strong Independent Election Commission even with powers to ban political parties and disqualify candidates unless they adhered to lawful election practices.

Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) Executive Director Ms. Somsri Han-Anuntasuk told the Daily Mirror in an interview last evening that  an Election Commission should not be afraid of powerful political parties and candidates when implementing the law. (more…)

Doubtful if General Election Could Be Considered Free and Fair : PPPR

The Program for Protection of Public Resources (PPPR) conducted by the Sri Lanka chapter of Transparency International said yesterday that it had received 200 complaints on the abuse of public resources during the General Election campaign.

The complaints received related to the abuse of government funds, vehicles and buses, buildings and utilities, media institutions and public officials for electioneering. The PPPR had also recorded a sudden increase of complaints which highlighted the increased level of abuse of public resources as the date of election neared. (more…)

Election Chief Directs IGP to Remove Posters

By Srinath Prasanna Jayasuriya

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has directed Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya to ensure that all the illegal election posters, banners and cutouts are removed latest by tomorrow.

A spokesman from Police Head Quarters said that action had already been taken to remove such propaganda posters, banners and cutouts, as stipulated by the Commissioner of Elections.

He, said that the task needed more hands and according to the arrangements made,  a Head Quarters Police Station shall employ four workers each while an ordinary Police Station shall employ three workers and two workers for other Police Stations.

Meanwhile the UNP yesterday brought the attention of Elections Commissioner to the unlawful display of posters and cut-outs by UPFA candidates at public places.

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, in a letter to the Commissioner, said that though the Elections Secretariat had allocated a large sum of money to remove such posters, little or nothing had been done yet.

Mr. Attanayake said that the situation had affected the process of conducting a free and fair election.

Besides, the General Secretary had also said in his letter how the State media was biased even during this election period.

He noted that the state media institutions continue to slander the opposition without giving them a right of to reply.

Source: Daily Mirror – 02.03.2010

AG’s Approval Needed to Charge Polls Violators: Police

By Sandun A. Jayasekera

The Police Department yesterday said it was not in a position to frame charges against violators of the election law without the Attorney General’s advice and that was the reason cases have not been filed against most violators of the elections law.

“We refer the files to the AG’s Department and are waiting for instructions,” Police media spokesman Preshantha Jayakody said.

Commenting on the pasting of posters in every nook and corner, putting up  banners, floats and cut-outs, he said it is up to the Police Department to remove them but financial and human resource constraints have hampered the action to be taken.

Asked about the reported allocation of Rs. 25 million for the task for the Police Department by the Elections Department, Mr. Jayakody said the money had not been received so far. “We act on the instructions of the Elections Commissioner to remove illegal banners and cut-outs. The instructions must come with the necessary funds,” he said.

Mr. Jayakody said only one complaint of election related violence had been received by the Police Election Desk by yesterday.

Source: Daily Mirror – 25.02.2010

No Election Posters, Cutouts in Govt Officers

Election Commissioner says

By Ranjan Kasturi

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has directed all District Secretaries to take immediate action to remove election posters, banners and cutouts in government office premises.

The Elections Commissioner has made the directive through a circular issued to the District Secretaries. He had asked them to ensure that no government premises including schools, pradeshiya sabha office premises, CTB depots, hospitals, government corporations and statutory boards, should have any posters, banners and cutouts of political parties. He had said that if there are such material steps have to be taken to remove them.

The Elections Commissioner has also ordered all the Commissioners and the Secretaries to ensure that all the Provincial Council premises are free of political propaganda material. He had directed to remove political propaganda material from their premises before February 26.

The circular has specified that even the display material exhibited with permission after payment of fees shall not be allowed during the election time and the police have been notified to provide necessary protection in removing such material.


Polls Chief Issues Tough Guidelines

Special attention to Chairmen of SLBC and Rupavahini

By Kelum Bandara

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake, while issuing guidelines for the media to be observed in regard to the upcoming general election, has drawn special attention of the Chairmen of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation to the Provisions in Article 104(B) of the Constitution.

The Commissioner has set these guidelines in terms of this Article of the Constitution.

In his guidelines, the Commissioner has requested that a period of silence be observed from midnight on April 5 till the announcement of the election results. This is to enable voters to weigh the pros and cons of policies outlined by the parties in the fray and contestants, and decide how to cast their ballots. (more…)

Recruitment to State Sector Suspended

Until the completion of the General Elections

The Elections Department has issued a circular suspending the recruitment of state sector employees until the completion of the General Elections in April, Department sources told Daily Mirror Online.

The sources said that the circular informed the government sector not to conduct the recruitment examinations for the state sector. No new recruitments are to take place in government institutions or departments until the completion of the General Elections in April.

Meanwhile, a special meeting is to be held today at the Elections Secretariat in Colombo, with the participation of Divisional Secretaries, Deputy Elections Commissioners, Assistant Commissioners and Returning Officers, to discuss the forthcoming elections that are scheduled to be held on April 8.

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake will chair the meeting.

It is learnt that special instructions are to be given to these officers regarding the elections.

Source: Daily Mirror – 16.02.2010


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