“Funds have not been allocated for the General election”- Election commissioner comments on shortage of funds for upcoming election

“Funds have not been allocated for the General election”- Election commissioner comments on shortage of funds for upcoming election

Written by Staff Writer

26 Feb, 2020 | 9:52 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st):- Convening a media briefing today (February 26), Chairman of the National Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya commented about the upcoming general election.

Mahinda Deshapriya:-

“Funds have not been allocated for the election. According to the constitution, funds could be disbursed through the Emergency Fund towards this, once Parliament is dissolved. However, such a fund has not been established. Therefore, I believe that the President can obtain money through a special warrant in such a situation.”

Q:- Have the payments for last year’s presidential election been settled? 

Mahinda Deshapriya:-  

“Only teachers are facing delays in receiving payments. Next, officials who were in-charge of election officials at the Colombo District Secretariat are also facing delays. We owe the Ceylon Electricity Board Rs 4 trillion this year. We are not in a position to settle payments to the Treasury. The funds allocated through the Vote on Account for the National Election Commission which amounts to Rs 1004 billion has been used up. We have already paid Rs 1 trillion. We are facing a shortage of funds. We have never received the required funds from the government because the government too makes allocations based on what they have.”

Q:- Is there any idea regarding the cost of this year’s election? 

Mahinda Deshapriya:- 

“We predict that it will cost Rs 5.5 billion. If the size of the ballot paper increases due to the rise in the number of parties then the cost might range between Rs 6 and 6.5 billion. According to information received by us, Parliament will be dissolved within a week. The election can be held between 52 to 66 days of dissolving the Parliament. Therefore, the polls will be held after April 22 and on or before May 4th. It would be convenient for us to conduct the election 60 days after Parliament is dissolved. We have stated that it would be convenient for our electoral officers to conduct the poll on the 25th, 27th, 28th, and 29th of April or the 04th of May.”

Q:- Are the newly formed alliances registered? 

Mahinda Deshapriya:- 

“A recognized political party has not requested to form an alliance identified as the Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Peramuna. We will consider it as an alliance similar to the Tamil National Alliance which has notified us in that regard. We have written to all political parties. Holding foreign citizenship does not matter as long as the individual holds the Sri Lankan citizenship and serves as a Secretary, Chairman, or Treasurer of a party.”

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