“Be fair and independent”: TISL appeals to government officials

Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has appealed to public officials to support the Elections Commissioner to hold a free and fair election in the Uva Province by being independent and accountable while on election duty. Meanwhile, TISL also appealed to candidates and political parties in the fray to treat election laws with the highest respect without using public property and violating laws thereby enabling public officials to perform their duties independently. Pointing out that staging free and fair provincial council elections in the Uva Province on Saturday is a prime responsibility of the candidates, political parties and the officials, TISL reminded everyone that elections play a vital role in safeguarding and upholding democracy in a country. Hence, the Elections Commissioner too has a vital role to play to hold a free and fair election and further strengthen the trust of the people in elections, the group asserted. In the lead-up to the elections, grave violations of election laws were reported. Apart from threats, intimidation and attacks, there were quite a large number of complaints received about using public property in the election campaign. The manner in which the President along with Cabinet ministers opened a number of development projects and distributed resources was severely criticised by moderate analysts. The inability by the Elections Commissioner to prevent such violations of election laws has resulted in the people losing confidence on holding a free and fair election. TISL believes that all stakeholders in the election have a prime responsibility to save the Uva election from becoming another nightmare as it happened at the North Western provincial election held in 2005. If the public officials along with the police perform their duties legitimately sticking to the letter of the law, there is a strong possibility of minimising any violations thereby paving the way for a free and fair election. Furthermore, TISL assured all public officials that it will assist any official who can be victimised during the election for performing his or her duty without favour. TISL, through its legal arm the Shelter for Integrity, will assist officials with legal advice and action. The Shelter for Integrity can be contacted on 0112513313(Colombo) or email help@tisrilanka.org.