Presidential Election 2019 -MEDIA COMMUNIQUE 29th October 2019

Presidential Election 2019 Media Communiqué, 29th October 2019

Colombo, Sri Lanka

In the 40 days since the announcement of the 2019 Presidential Election, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) has recorded 534 verified incidents of election law violations. The following trends have been particularly observable recently:

Using minors for political promotions

The election period has seen the continued use of minors in various ways to promote the presidential candidates. The National Child Protection Authority has already made it clear that it is wrong to use minors for political promotion.

In the following cases and instances, the Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna (SLPP) and the New Democracy Front (NDF) have directly violated these legal provisions:

  1. Use of minors in school uniform for a propaganda advertisement of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the presidential candidate of SLPP.
  2. Use of a school uniformed minor for the newspaper advertisement of SLPP.
  3. Use of minors in the the photograph of Mangala Samaraweera, Minister and representative of the NDF election campaign, and circulating that picture on social media.
  4. Use of a child with body paint for political promotion at a SLPP rally in Uva Paranagama on 25th October 2019.
  5. Use of minors’ pictures in the website of SLPP candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

CMEV has already made a written complaint to the National Child Protection Authority regarding these matters.

Using Government School Premises for Election Campaigns

CMEV was informed that the SLPP attempted to use the Galenbindunu Wewa primary school ground for a public rally with the direct intervention of the North Central Province Governor. This is despite there being numerous available places for holding public rallies in the Anuradhapura Gallenbindunu Wewa town.

The use of government school premises for campaign purposes and the intervention of high level public officials sets entirely the wrong precedent.

Not displaying election candidate and symbol during campaigning

The SLPP reportedly did not display its candidate and its ballot symbol in the pandol (thoarana) which was built in Minuwangoda town along the road, but photographs of the party leader and other regional organisers have been displayed. According to election law, it is illegal to display the pictures of the candidate and symbol.

Engaging in election campaigns that disturbed to religious and national reconciliation

During the election period, a number of campaign activities, especially by the Podu Jana Eksath Peramuna, demonstrate extremist national and religious views in various forms. For example, a female councilor in Kandy was arrested while spreading leaflets with extremist opinions. That leaflet was a violation of section 85 of the Presidential Election Act, No. 15 of 1981 meaning that the leaflet did not display the publisher and printer.

Thank you

……………………………

Manjula Gajanyake,
National Co-ordinator,
CMEV

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