Cost of two elections more than education budget

Cost of two elections more than education budget


It was revealed at a meeting of four election monitoring bodies in the country on Tuesday that the cost of the last two elections including the abuse of state resources is more than the country’s education budget for 2009 which was Rs 4.6 billion.

Transparency International Executive Director J. C. Weliamuna told a meeting of four leading election monitoring bodies in Sri Lanka on Tuesday that the cost of advertising by the main political parties in the presidential election alone amounted to Rs 800 million. Coming up with more startling figures, he said 1500 out of roadworthy busses in the SLTB havebeen used for party propaganda by the ruling party during the elections.

He said the Chapter 32 of the Establishment Code was severally violated at the last two elections as hundreds of state workers have participated in election meetings. He said Chapter 32 prohibits state workers to participate in such meetings.

Mr. Weliamuna recommended a caretaker government system similar to that of India where the government was not allowed to use its powers during an election

People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi also confirmed excessive use of state resources. He said the IDPs and disabled persons did not have sufficient facilities to exercise their franchise. He also said state media in particular was not impartial.

Mr. Hettiarachchi also gave a detailed account on the shortcomings regarding the ballot boxes. He recommended that ballot boxes should be made with some translucent material for greater transparency and credibility.

He also called for a recall system where candidates can be recalled if they do not perform their duties.

Center for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) Executive Director D. M. Dissanayake who came up with some more staggering points said people seem to have lost faith in free and fair elections considering the low voter turn out.

He said the last general lections goes down in the history as the parliamentary poll with the lowest ever turnout.

/ News

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