The government’s development drive ahead of the presidential election met with stiff resistance from the Election Commission (EC) which barred the involvement of political representatives of the ruling side in any such activities, an official said.

The EC looked into a complaint from the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), a poll observer group, about the impact of the involvement of politicians to carry out election propaganda in the guise of carrying out development work at divisional secretariats areas.

The government has instructed all district secretaries to take measures to complete development projects using money allocated under the decentralized budget before July 31.

The PAFFREL raised concerns that such an expedition of development projects ahead of the declaration of the presidential election will have a beneficial effect on the ruling side, and therefore sought the intervention of the EC to ensure that no party or candidate gains political mileage.

The EC that met on Tuesday observed the points raised in the letter sent by the PAFFREL and wrote to the Secretary to the President, Saman Ekanayake, asking him not to involve any politician in such development project implementations.

Asked for a comment, EC Chairman R.M.A.L Ratnayake told Daily Mirror that the local authorities’ election had been declared at the moment though the conduct of polling had been put on hold indefinitely.

“In that case, we asked the government not to have participation of candidates in any of these projects to be implemented. Also, as far as other development projects are concerned, we asked the government in our letter not to have political participation. We mentioned about the presidential election pending,” he said.

However, he said the EC had no right to stall development projects.

“We only asked the government to ensure that such projects are implemented with the participation of bureaucrats only,” he said.

Meanwhile, the EC has initiated work arranging logistics for the conduct of the presidential election to be declared after July 15 and concluded on a day in early October.


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