Written by Staff Writer
04 Oct, 2019 | 10:04 pm
Colombo (News 1st): The National Election Commission spoke about the increase in the number of presidential candidates at a media briefing held today (October 4). Chairman of the National Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya noted that according to his knowledge the number of candidates currently stands at 22 and noted that they are hoping that the number will increase to over 25.
He noted that this situation will exhaust the officers in charge of the polling stations, the Grama Niladhari officers who prepare the polling stations, and the counting officers. He added that one of these candidates can send two polling agents to the polling station, if the number of candidates is 25, then that will mean 50 representatives, 5 representatives per candidate at the counting stations, that is 125 representatives.
Deshapriya noted that they must assign at least 75 people for the counting if there are 125 representatives. He said they will also have to find a hall that can accommodate 200 people. He pointed out that the largest counting centres in Colombo are at Royal College and D.S. Senanayake College, it is about 25 to 30 classes, however, he said they cannot ask them to limit the number of representatives, as it is their democratic right as per the provisions of the act, and all 25 candidates are contesting with the hope of winning the election.
The Chairman of the Election Commission also spoke about the violation of elections laws and the laws on election propaganda. Mahinda Deshapriya went onto note that they have asked everyone to seek their approval regarding the appointments. He added that they have also requested them to consult the NEC on all of the state events that are being held. He said the main point that they have highlighted is that, at events that are of a political nature, no election propaganda activities can be done.
Deshapriya added that at an event where a certain politician must attend, it must be the tradition in the country to not only invite a politician from one party but to invite others representing other parties as well. He said they told them (Politicians) directly that if one politician is being garlanded the other politicians must be garlanded as well. He stressed that if in any way, during one of those events if something political happens, they will not be punishing the politicians, but the state sector officials will be held responsible for violating our orders.
He said they have requested the candidates of all parties that handed in nominations to willingly remove their cut-outs, banners, and posters. He noted that if these are not removed, from the day that the nominations are accepted, it is a punishable offence and the law will be strictly enforced against the people who put up these banners after the day for nominations.
Journalists questioned the chairman on the estimated expenses for the presidential election. He noted that they will definitely be needing additional funds. He added that they thought it would be about Rs. 4 billion, or even Rs. 4.5 billion. However, Deshapriya noted that it could increase toRs 5 billion.
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