Thursday, 22 August 2013 00:48
Â Opposition charges that most candidates in Central and North Western Provinces are related to Ministers and senior UPFA politicos
By Ashwin Hemmathagama Our Lobby Correspondent
The main Opposition yesterday cried foul over the impact of relatives and close supporters of ministers and ruling party politicos contesting on fairness of the forthcoming provincial council elections.
Making a special statement at Parliament, Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said that in the Central and North Western Provinces especially, scores of candidates are in some way or the other closely related to Ministers, Deputy Ministers, and Government Parliamentarians.
â€śVery many of these candidates are the sons, wives, brothers, nephews and so on of these politicians. This has resulted in these parliamentarians misusing their facilities such as vehicles, staff and security personnel, photocopy machines, e-mail and internet facilities and also overtime allowances to promote the particular candidate of their relations,â€ť Amaratunga charged.
He said that the conduct of the Ministers and their relatives indicates that there wonâ€™t be a free and fair poll this time. â€śThis is not only a violation of State administrative and financial regulations but also a violation of election regulations and responsibility for that should be borne directly by the candidates in the fray,â€ť he said.
Amaratunga added that mentors of these candidates interfere with law enforcement and election officials, making it difficult for the police and officials to perform their duties impartially. â€śEven the election monitoring groups have complained to the Commissioner of Elections about this,â€ť he told the House.
According to Amaratunga, the absence of an independent Elections Commission, Police Commission, Public Services Commission and Judicial Commission were the major reasons for these lapses seen at ongoing political campaigns for the provincial polls.