New campaign finance law will not affect LG polls: Commissioner General of Elections

Saturday, 21 January 2023 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Commissioner General of Elections Saman Sri Ratnayake claims the newly passed Regulation of Election Expenditure Bill will not be an obstacle to the holding of the upcoming Local Government elections. 

However, Ratnayake says the Election Commission of Sri Lanka will now be required to take the necessary measures to formulate new regulations on campaign financing after the passing of the Bill. “The bill has to be signed off by the Speaker. The Election Commission will then have to commence their duties in relation to it,” he said.

According to Ratnayake campaign finance laws have been in discussion since 2014, and it was in existence during 1946 under the first past the post system at the time.  

“It was removed in 1978 when the proportional representation system was introduced,” he said.  The Commissioner General said the new law will now create a level playing field during elections. 

During the vote on the Bill, an amendment was put forward by the opposition seeking for the Bill not to be applied to an election that has already been announced. However, as this was not accepted, Ratnayake said the campaign finance laws will apply to the upcoming Local Government election as well. 

The Commissioner General said the Election Commission will continue to accept nominations and deposits till 12 p.m. today and the new law will not affect the process. 

The Regulation of Election Expenditure Bill was passed in Parliament on Thursday (19) with amendments with a majority of 61 votes. The Bill received 97 votes in favour and 36 against.