Deshapriya to meet party secretaries, senior election officials

Election Commisioner Mahinda Deshapriya

Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has invited all the secretaries of mainstream political parties for a crucial pre-nomination discussion on Friday (24) at 3 pm.

This will be followed by the Commissioner meeting all Elections Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners before the acceptance of the nominations, on Sunday (26) at 9 am, said Deputy Commissioner (Administration) M. M. Mohammed yesterday.

He said the Commissioner had also asked all Chief Returning Officers (CRO‘s) who are the District Secretaries of the six districts where the provincial elections are scheduled to be held to be also present for a follow-up discussion at 11 am on the same day.

The Executive Director of PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachchi yesterday appealed to all contestants that they would stand to gain more preferential votes by declaring their assets along with the nominations and open them for public scrutiny.

“They should base their campaign on their policies and clearly inform the people of their plans, if elected to the respective councils”, he said.

Hettiarachchi said that it were difficult for him to understand why candidates who claim to contest polls to ‘help the country and the people’ are unable to hand in their assets declaration as required by the law.

He urged contestants to refrain from mudslinging and avoid infighting for preference votes. They should clearly tell the voters their educational or other professional qualifications they possessed for them to be elected into public office.

Hettiarachchi said that he would be writing to the Governors and Chief Secretaries of the two provinces tomorrow requesting them to take over the state resources used by the former elected members during the tenure they were in office

The fine example set by Western Provincial Minister, Udaya Gammanpila of the JHU to hand over all state resources as soon as he stepped down to re-contest is worthy of emulation, he pointed out.

The Electoral Register for the elections to the Southern and Western provinces would be based on the 2013 voters’ list, said Additional Commissioner of Elections (Provincial and Local) R. N. A .L. Ratnayake.

He said that each Independent candidate should deposit Rs. 2,000 for each of the candidates contesting any of the districts, before 12 noon of February 5 and nomination by the mainstream political parties before 12 noon the following day.

Each of the mainstream party or Independent Group should submit the names of three additional candidates for each of the districts than the number to be elected.

The Colombo and the Gampaha district nominations should include the names of 43 for 40 members to be elected, whilst for the Kalutara district, there should be the 25 candidates for 22 to be elected, Elections Secretariat sources said.

The Galle district nominations list should have the names 25 candidates for 22 members and the Matara district should have 20 candidates for 17 members and the Hambantota district should have 17 candidates for 14 members to be elected, the sources said.

Canvassing popular film, sports and other personalities to be fielded as candidates by the two main political to attract more preference votes is happening in a big way behind the scene, political sources said.

The processing of applications to select prospective candidates of the SLFP, the main constituent of the UPFA will begin tomorrow. The nominations committee for the Southern province is chaired by Senior Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva while Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa will head the Western province. They will begin sittings at the SLFP HQ at Darley Road tomorrow morning, party sources said.

The sources said that amongst the kith and kin of Ministers and party seniors vying for nominations are the offspring of Ministers Gamini Lokuge, Kumara Welgama, Piyasena Gamage and Rohitha Abeygunawardena.

SLFP General Secretary, Minister Maithripala Sirisena and UPFA General Secretary, Minister Susil Premajayantha are expected to meet tomorrow to decided on the number of slots to be granted to UPFA constituent political parties, the sources said.

UNP General Secretary, Parliamentarian Tissa Attanayake said yesterday the Party Leadership Council had nominated a 21- member nominations committee chaired by Karu Jayasuriya.

When asked on proposed alliances, he replied, “though there are no alliances to announce at present, tie-ups could happen as time progressed. We will have to wait and see”.

He said the names of Ratnapura district parliamentarian Talatha Atukorale and Hambantota district MP Sajith Premadasa had been included in the nomination committee, but Premadasa had opted out saying he wanted to remain in Hambantota district to oversee the party‘s campaign in the district.

Attanayake said that the Galle district nomination committees will be chaired by Daya Gamage, Matara by Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha, Hambantota by Ranjith Maddumabandara, Gampaha by P. Harrison, Kalutara by Gayantha Karunatilleke and Colombo by Joseph Michael Perera. They will function at district level.

People Liberation Front (JVP) sources said that a nominations board chaired by Propaganda Secretary, parliamentarian Vijitha Herath and comprising of Central Committee members MP’s Sunil Handunnetti, Bimal Ratnayake and former MP, Ramalingam Chandrasekeran had been appointed to select the candidates .

The Leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), Deputy Minister Mutthu Sivalingam said former UPF parliamentarian and Deputy Minister, P. P. Radhakrishnan has been absorbed into the party ranks and he has been appointed a Vice President of the party.

“We have entered into an alliance with parliamentarian Prabha Ganeshan’s party. We have decided to contest the Kalutara and the Colombo districts under the CWC banner (Cockrel symbol), whilst contesting the Gampaha district under the UPFA banner (Betel symbol” .

General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) M. T. Hassen Ali, MP, said that the party had decided to contest all the six districts under the SLMC banner (Tree symbol).

He said that until the party receives a feedback on the prospective applicants to contest the Southern province, the nominations boards for Colombo chaired by Chairman and Deputy Minister Basheer Cegu Dawood with Faizal Cassim assisting, H. M. M. Harees (Gampaha) and M. Thowfeek, have already started to interview prospective candidates.

Hassen Ali said he will be chairing the Kalutara district nominations board, assisted by Mannar district MP, M. Farook and National List MP M. Aslam.

(Courtesy: The Island)

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