General Election between April 25 and May 4 – EC Chairman

The General Election will probably be held before May 4, as parliament is likely to be dissolved by next week, Election Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Desapriya said.

Addressing media at the Election Secretariat in Rajagiriya yesterday, he said that according to several political sources, Parliament may be dissolved on March 2 or 3. After dissolving, election should be held within 52 to 66 days from the dissolution date.

“Accordingly if parliament is dissolved on March 2 or 3, the General Election should be held after April 22 and prior to May 3. Anyhow the power to decide the General Election date is vested with the President,” he said.

However he added that the Election Commission has suggested to the President five days on which the election can be held. Accordingly, the Commission has suggested April 25, 27, 28, 29 and May 4 as suitable days on which the election can be held. He further said that the Commission prefers to have at least 60 days to prepare for the election after the dissolution.

Asked whether money for the election has been allocated, he said that money has not yet been allocated but the President has monetary powers to allocate money with a Vote on Account for the election even after parliament is dissolved. He said that around Rs. 5,500 million may be required for the election if around 15 political parties contest. But with the increase of political parties, this amount will be higher, he noted.

When asked about the implementation of election rules on limiting campaign finance, increasing election deposits, cancelling registration of political parties which cannot obtain one per cent of votes from the national vote base and so on, the Chairman said that such new laws have to be implemented by establishing a permanent select committee. Then these new laws can be imposed with effect from the 2025 election. According to the Chairman, special attention should be drawn on limiting campaign finance.

The Chairman said 154 new political parties have applied for the registration of the Election Commission as approved political parties. A Committee has been appointed by the Election Commission to look into those applications to short list.

Tough action against hate speech, fake posts

Tough action will be taken against fake posts and hate speech on social media during the election campaign period, Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Desapriya said.

The Commission will pay special attention to fake and hate speech on print and electronic media. Two monitoring bodies will be set up to look into the electronic media and print media. The monitoring body appointed to look into electronic media will scrutinise social media platforms like Facebook, U-tube, Whatsapp, Imo, Twitter and other media, he said.

He said attention will be drawn on sending bulk messages through mobile networks and during the silent period of elections.

Courtesy: Daily News

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