By Rathindra Kuruwita
It is doubtful whether the local government elections can be held as scheduled because President Ranil Wickremesinghe is interfering in the electoral process, Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Reforms and Electoral Studies (IRES) Manjula Gajanayake says.
Gajanayake said it was doubtful if the elections could be held unless the President changed his attitude.
“This is a direct attack on people’s sovereignty. The government is trying to undermine the basis of all our democratic rights,” he said.
The Elections Commission has requested about Rs 800 million but the Treasury has only released Rs 100 million.
“The entire process has come to a standstill. The Government Printer is not printing ballot papers saying that the Treasury has to give them Rs 400 million. I don’t want to point fingers at individual officials, but this is due to political pressure.
IRES Executive Director said that ballot boxes for the postal votes must be released on 15 February. The ballot papers were not being printed as the Government Printer was hiding behind a circular which instructed state officials not to do work on credit.
“Secretary to the Treasury/Ministry of Finance, Mahinda Siriwardana is not releasing Rs 400 million that the Government Printer needs. The person behind all this is the Executive President,” he said.
Gajanayake urged the MPs to sign an open letter to the President demanding elections and to stop his attempts to undermine the electoral process.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Manas Makeen said that all election monitors had sent a letter to the President demanding that the election be held.
“The government is not providing the funds needed to hold elections. We have never seen such a blatant attempt to postpone polls,” he said.
The Secretary to the Treasury was not immediately available for comment.
Courtesy The Island
Disclaimer: Election monitors say LG polls doubtful due to govt. interference - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view