Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has appealed to public officials to support the Elections Commissioner to hold a free and fair election in UVA Province by being independent and accountable while on election duty.
Meanwhile, TISL also appeals to the candidates and political parties in the fray to obey election laws with the highest respect without using public property and violating laws thereby enabling public officials to perform their duties independently.
Pointing out that conducting free and fair provincial council elections in Uva on 20th Saturday is a prime responsibility of the candidates, political parties and the officials, TISL reminds everyone that elections are playing a vital role to safeguard and upheld democracy in a country. Hence, the Elections Commissioner too has a vital role to play to hold a free and fair election and further strengthen the trust of the people in elections.
During the UVA election grave violations of election laws were reported. Apart from threats, intimidations and attacks there were quite a large number of complaints reported about using public property in the election campaign. The manner in which the President along with Cabinet ministers opened a number of development projects and distributing numerous forms of resources was severely criticized by moderate analysts. The non-action by the Elections Commissioner to prevent such violation of election laws has resulted in losing the people’sconfidence on holding a free and fair election.
TISL believes that all stakeholders in the election have a prime responsibility to save the UVA election from becoming another nightmare as it happened at the North Western provincial election held in 2005. If the public officials along with the police perform their duties legitimately sticking to the letter of the law, there is a strong possibility of minimizing any violations thereby paving the way for a free and fair election.
Further, TISL assures all public officials that it will assist any official who can be victimized during the election for performing his or her duty without favour. TISL through its legal arm the “Shelter for Integrity” will assist any victimized official with legal advice and action. They can contact Shelter for Integrity on 0112513313(Colombo) or email email@example.com.