Massive unchecked election propaganda campaign will lead to election law violations and violence

Posters and banners in 44 Local Government bodies

by Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon

(January 28, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Massive election propaganda campaigns have begun in 44 Local Government bodies around the country even before elections laws come into action today. Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) stresses the importance of unbiased implementation of election laws to create a level playing field which is a fundamental necessity in having a free and fair election and to minimize election law violations.

CaFFE observers that the unprecedented level of election campaign already in Colombo, Gampaha, Galle, Matara, Kurunegala, Puttalam and Rathnapura Districts could lead to discrepancies, with regard to election law violations, since there seem to be massive campaigning even before the deadline for nominations have end.

Given below is a list of areas where we noted a large number of posters and banners during a two day preliminary research conducted by CaFFE during January, 25-26. Although there was a drive to remove posters and charge activists who were pasting anti government posters in many of these areas in the last few months, we noted that except for a few isolated areas, no effort has been done to remove these election propaganda materials, by and large. The damage causing to the environment as a result of usage of polythene and paper needs to be mitigated immediately as a top priority, especially as CaFFE has highlighted the necessity of eco-friendly propaganda need in earlier times too.

The following are the local authorities where the environment has been polluted as a result of negligence and unmonitored propaganda activists:

Colombo District: Homagama and Seethawaka Pradeesheeya Sabhas and Seethawaka Urban Council

Gampaha District: Minuangoda, Attanagalle, Biyagama, Kelaniya and Gampaha Pradeesheeya Sabhas

Kegalle District: Dehiowita, Ruwanwella, Yatiyanthota and Deraniyagala Pradeesheeya Sabhas

Rathnapura District: Eheliyagoda, Pelmadulla and Balangoda Pradeesheeya Sabhas

Matale District: Raththota Pradeesheeya Sabha

Matara District: Kamburupitiya, Tihagoda, Dewundara, Dikwella and Weligama Pradeesheeya Sabhas

Galle District: Rathgama, Hikkaduwa, baddegama and Habaraduwa Pradeesheeya Sabhas

Trincomalee District: Kanthale Pradeesheeya Sabha

Polonnaruwa District: Polonnaruwa City, Higurakgoda and Lankapura Pradeesheeya Sabhas

Kandy District: Harispattuwa and Yatinuwara Pradeesheeya Sabhas and Kadugannawa City

Puttalam District: Wennappuwa, Chilaw, and Naththandiya Pradeesheeya Sabhas

Badulla District: Bandarawela Urban and Pradeesheeya Sabha areas

Kurunegala District: All areas of the district

CaFFE As an experienced leading election monitoring body identifies the present election where thousands of candidates compete with each other as a fertile ground for election law violations. In the last elections we saw a large increase of election law violations and violence due to intra party rivalry. CaFFE believes that the only way to redress the issue is to implement the election laws without bias and by ensuring the transparency of the process.

Therefore CaFFE request all stakeholders to the election, including Department of Elections, Police department, candidates and their supporters, to take steps to ensure a free and fair election and to minimize election law violations.

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