The National Elections Commission (NEC) has condemned the use of the current Army Commander’s image and comment to endorse Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a local newspaper.
Chairman of the National Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya said that while the comment on Rajapaksa made by Army Commander General Shavendra Silva may have been an old comment, but using it now with his current designation is unacceptable.
”The use of Army Commander’s official position to support a candidate is very disappointing. This should never happen in a healthy democracy and is a stain on our political culture,” Deshapriya said addressing a media briefing today (16).
Deshapriya said the Elections Commission had written to the relevant political party as well as the Presidential Secretariat and the Ministry of Defense in this regard.
“We have written to the General Secretary, campaign manager of the political party in concern. We have also written to the Presidential Secretariat and the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense calling for clarifications.”
In addition, the Election Commission urged the Army Chief to make a statement to rectify the matter.
“We call on the Army Commander to make a statement and resolve this issue. If he does not do so then we will have to assume he is in agreement with the endorsement which is a violation of election laws,” Deshapriya said.