Transparency International calls for measures to curb election malpractice and violence

Tuesday, 24 December 2013 00:33 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Recommending measures to curb election violence and malpractices, the Transparency International of Sri Lanka (TISL) yesterday called for more powers to be vested with the Elections Commissioner and suggested the appointment of an Elections Judge. The civil society organization’s Election Monitoring arm, the Program for Protection of Public Resources (PPPR) presenting its report on the provincial council elections held in September made 14 recommendations to be implemented to hold free and fair elections in the country. The TISL said an Election Judge should be appointed to investigate into election violations and malpractices with special focus on the misuse of public resources since at present only the Attorney General can go to courts on the offences of misusing public property. Another recommendation is to vest more powers to the Elections Commissioner enabling him to act against malpractices in elections. At the media conference held to release the PPPR report, Executive Director of Transparency International of Sri Lanka, S. Ranuge explained that the Elections Commissioner did not have sufficient powers to take appropriate actions against election malpractices. PPPR said Elections Commissioner should be vested with the power to recover the cost of abuse from errant candidates and other relevant parties immediately. The TISL suggested amending the election law to make it mandatory to hand over assets and liability declarations of candidates on or before the handing over of nominations. Failure to comply should result in the rejection of the nomination and any misrepresentation of the declaration should result in the disqualification of the candidate and/or seat if elected. The organization also recommended holding all provincial elections on the same day in order to reduce excessive expenses incurred due to sporadic election schedules. Among other suggestions made by the TISL were, introducing mechanisms to make all heads of government institutions accountable for all public assets under the supervision of the Election Commissioner, displaying government logo on all government vehicles, handing over all public assets allocated to Chief Ministers, Provincial Ministers and members of Provincial Councils to immediately after the dissolution of the Provincial Council and using transparent ballot boxes.