Tense moments at EC press briefing as Chairman, Commission members disagree

Friday, 1 November 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Deshapriya says Commissioner Hoole’s opinion on internet voting and election result his own opinion
  • “This kind of thing is bombarding the Commission”: Deshapriya
  • Says Hoole is 100 % impartial official, but has no election experience
  • EC ready for second round vote if necessity arises 

There were tense moments towards the tail end of a press conference held at the Election Commission yesterday, when Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya disagreed with some of the opinions expressed by Commission member Ratnajeevan Hoole.

The disagreement arose when journalists raised questions about the use of modern technology for voting, to which Hoole, seated to the left of Deshapriya, responded by saying that postal voting, etc., is out of date, and “the way to go is to vote on the internet.”

However, Deshapriya did not take kindly to the comments, saying that this is not the opinion of the Commission, but Hoole’s private opinion. “As the Commission, we think it is not viable. Even India is not going for internet voting,” Deshapriya said.

The Commission Chairman also referred to comments made by Hoole to the media, that no candidate would get 50% in the upcoming election.

“This is not the Commission’s thinking. It is his own. This kind of thing is bombarding the Commission,” Deshapriya said. He added, however, that he can guarantee that Hoole is a 100% impartial person and is not against any candidate. “It is unfortunate that he has expressed this view, and it is a view he should not have addressed. He is a liberal person, but he has no election experience. As the Chairman of the EC, I have worked more than 34 years in the Department. If these remarks have been misinterpreted, I would like to apologise on behalf of the Commission. I am a team player. Even if someone in our team makes a mistake, I will speak on behalf of them,” he said.

Deshapriya added that the EC has been ready from 1982 onwards for a second round vote count by giving instructions to its staff. “We have training programs for our staff, and this is also taken into consideration when training them. If the vote goes into a second count, we will take another four extra hours to release the final results,” he added.