Elections Commissioner offers to resign if foreign reports say elections in SL not free and fair

Elections Commissioner offers to resign if foreign reports say elections in SL not free and fair

Written by Staff Writer

25 Nov, 2014 | 10:02 pm

Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya says he will resign from his position if foreign reports state that past elections have not been free and fair.

He made this statement at a media briefing convened at the Elections Secretariat on Tuesday morning. According to the 2014 Electoral list, fifteen million forty four thousand four hundred and ninety people are eligible to vote at the upcoming presidential election.

The Gampaha District has the highest number of registered voters with the number standing at one million six hundred and thirty seven thousand five hundred and thirty seven.

The Wanni electorate comprising parts of the Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu districts has the lowest number of registered voters, with the number standing at two hundred and fifty three thousand fifty eight.

Mahinda Deshapriya said: “We have a problem with identification, where the NIC numbers of about a million people are not in the electoral list. In truth, about three or four hundred thousand have their NICs but the numbers have not been listed. So, the number who do not have NICs reduces to five or six hundred thousand. Votes cannot be cast without valid identification and we believe the number who do not have any valid identification is about one hundred thousand. The temporary identification we issued for the provincial council elections in four parts, will be valid. So the number reduces further to about three hundred thousand.”

Applications for postal voting are being accepted at present, with the deadline for submissions being December 4.

Postal voting will take place on December 23 and 24.

The Elections Commissioner noted that official election papers will be distributed on December 28  and on Christmas Day.

Elections Commissioner also added:

“There are three primary institutions who deploy observers. They are the United Nations, the European Commission and the Commonwealth. There is also the Asian Election Authorities Association in Asia and the South Asian Election Management Chiefs’ Forum in South Asia. We hope to secure observers from these four institutions which have worked with us thus far.”

Journalists also raised questions at the briefing:

Question: “Commonwealth observers participated in the Northern Provincial Council Election, what happened to their report? Have any steps been taken? The Commonwealth monitors had noted that the election was not fair”

Answer: “If the Commonwealth representatives have indeed said the election was not fair, I will resign tomorrow”

Question: “Are you speaking lethargically today, because you have had enough”

Answer: “No, I am not fed up. Why should I be fed up?”

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