Onus on Elections Commissioner to ensure fair poll: Karu J

Thursday, 11 April 2013 01:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The onus is on Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya to ensure the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council election is free and fair, especially in the absence of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution and an independent elections commission to de-politicize the polls process, UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya said yesterday.

Echoing his party’s call for the setting up of independent elections and police commissions ahead of the poll, Jayasuriya said that it was the view of independent polls monitors and the opposition that the abolition of the 17th Amendment and the introduction of the 18th Amendment had hampered the prospect for free elections in the country.

Criticizing the recent attacks on a TNA meeting in Jaffna and the attack on the Uthayan office in Kilinochchi Jayasuriya said that it indicates that even post-war there is no room for the people of the north to exercise their democratic rights.

“The people of the North must be given an opportunity to elect their representatives whilst having their democratic rights and their votes protected,” Jayasuriya explained.

He said that the Government had already announced the NPC polls by September with commitments in this regard also being given in Geneva in March. “We are therefore in a pre-election period,” he said.

“When charges are being levelled at us internationally it is the duty of the Commissioner of Elections to prepare the background for free and fair elections and win the confidence of all political parties,” he said.

Jayasuriya drew the attention of the Elections Commissioner, to the use of state assets, vehicles, helicopters, state bungalows and mansions and other government offices and said it should be stopped completely.  “Some government officers have been appointed as Chairmen of the SLFP branches and they have been brought into politics.  This should be stopped forthwith,” he said.

Jayasuriya said that was incumbent upon the Elections Commissioner to protect his reputation by ensuring the conduct of a free and fair election.