An election monitoring watchdog in Sri Lanka, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) says the legal framework to limit campaign election advertising spending should be strengthened.
PAFFREL executive director Rohana Hettiarachchi pointed out that the number of representatives in the forthcoming local government polls has doubled, and if the candidates spend unlimitedly at the district level, they can even buy voters.
He said not limiting the campaign expenses allows violations of democratic values at elections such as bribing the voters.
At a discussion with a group of journalists representing the print and the electronic media recently Hettiarachchi said in the past politicians distributed their wealth through politics, now the situation has changed completely.
Now many of them join politics to in order to achieve economic empowerment of their families and time has come to end this political culture, he said.
Hettiarachchi further said that when they are elected as people’s representatives they tend to earn the money they spent when they were candidates and therefore it is necessary to take steps to strengthen the legal framework limiting campaign spending to prevent such situations and level the playing field for all the candidates.
PAFFREL Executive Director further said that a draft bill has been formulated based on a proposal made by the Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Faizer Mustapha to the cabinet subcommittee to limit campaign advertising expenses.
The draft has been handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena, Minister Mustapha and all members of parliament, he said adding that the parliament needs to take action on the bill.