Friday, October 02, 2009

Southern PC Elections: state vehicles being misused on large scale

While highlighting the fact that for the first time in election history party leaders have not been invited to meet the Commissioner of Elections before the Southern Provincial Council election, Ruwan Banagala of the Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) charged that an increasing number of election malpractices were being reported in the run up to the Oct 10 polls.

Giving examples he said they had received complaints that vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Vocational Training were being used for propaganda work in the Galle district. “Five buses bearing licence number plates starting from WP NA 6912 upto 6916 were been used for propaganda work in the daytime and are parked at the Technical College premises at night. It was reported that persons using these vehicles cover the state logo with a white sticker before using them in the Galle District. Two additional vans (WPNA 4527 and WPNA 4529) are being used for the same purpose. Highlighting several other abuses of state resources he said a digital printer brought by the ministry on invoice no 4305 was allegedly being used at one of the candidate’s elections office.”

Similar abuses of public property have also been reported from Hambanthota this time involving vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Ports and Aviation. Vehicles belonging to other ministries too have been used for propaganda work for the Southern Provincial Council election.” he added.

Media Spokesman for CaFFE Keerthi Tennakoon presenting an update on incidents of violence and election malpractices said 126 such cases had been reported. “ 38 cases of damaging property, 18 assaults, 20 violations of election law including pasting posters and cutouts in unauthorized places, six cases of intimidation, 13 cases of misuse of state property and 22 incidents that cannot be categorized was also reported. There had also been nine unconfirmed incidents reported as well,” he said.

He pointed out that this is the first time in the history that the party leaders did not held the discussions with the Elections Commissioner with regard to the elections.

He also stated the importance of implementing the 17th amendment, specially the need of independence elections commission and independence police commission for a free and fair election.

© Daily Mirror

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