Police instructed to crackdown on election related violations

Chairman of the National Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya has instructed the Police to crackdown on election related violations.

Deshapriya said that all citizens, civil organizations and media institutions have been asked to lodge complaints of such malpractices and the Police have been instructed to take prompt and swift action on such illegal practices.

Meanwhile, a special operations center has been set up at the Police Headquarters to handle issues pertaining to the 2020 General Election.

The public may contact the operations center through the hotline 1933 or on 0112 472 757, 0115 978 701, fax 0112 345 553 or email igp.cr@police.lk

The Elections Commission said that it has been reported that the official vehicles assigned to the Heads of Local Authorities to facilitate the execution of their duties are used by such Heads of Local Authorities for their political activities, in particular, to travel to political rallies held in areas outside their area of authority and also for propaganda purposes and for the delivery of posters and handbills as well misusing their entitlement to use such vehicles for their personal use.

It is reiterated that it is prohibited to use the official vehicles assigned to the Heads of Local Authorities for political promotional activities or for traveling to and from to attend propaganda meetings.

It is further notified that the use of the official vehicle assigned to any Head of a Local Authority to attend propaganda meetings or for political purposes is deemed as a misuse of public property.

Deshapriya also said that no public property including flag poles, stage decorations, etc. belonging to Local Government bodies can be used for political promotion purposes. Nevertheless, there is no barrier to renting out such flag poles, stage decorations, reception halls, playgrounds, etc. to political parties/candidates without discrimination on the payment of the prescribed rentals.

The official residence of the Heads of Local Government Institutions also cannot be used for public meetings or for media conferences to promote political parties / candidates. Further, such official residences should not be used as national or district or divisional campaign offices or for political meetings with the participation of party supporters and for press conferences for the purpose of promotion of a party / candidate.

No officers, permanent employees or casual workers of the daily wage should be used for the promotion of a party or candidate. Complaints have been received from certain members of the staffs of Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas that Heads and administrative officers of Local government institutions deploy certain members of the staffs to engage in promotional, activities such as decorating the meeting venues, compulsory attendance at meetings, wearing T-shirts / caps / hats and some members engage in such activities willingly whereas some others are forced into doing that. This is a grave offence.

It has been notified that if any complaint from any act aforesaid is received and proved, the Election Commission will take action against the Heads and the Officers charged with the administration of all Local Authorities treating such acts as a violation of the directives of the Election Commission. (Colombo Gazette)