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I am helpless when elections guidelines are not followed : Polls Chief
2009-10-31
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Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said yesterday that he was "helpless", when his guidelines aimed at ensuring the conduct of free and fair polls were not followed.

"What can I do when my directives are ignored. I am helpless and powerless", an exasperated Dissanayake, had told an Opposition delegation that met him, at his Rajagiriya office yesterday, to request that future elections are held on a level playing field and not under conditions heavily tilted in favour of the government, informed sources said.

The delegation, headed by UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, included parliamentarians Tissa Attanayake, Ravi Karunanayake, Hassan Ali and Attorney at Law Daya Pelpola. They had put forward a series of proposals to ensure that election laws are not violated.

Referring to the issue of holding Presidential and Parliamentary polls on the same day, the delegation had requested that in the event it happens, adequate measures be taken to ensure that there would not be any irregularities. Dissanayake, had replied that holding two different elections on the same day, would be extremely difficult.

Their proposal to conduct the counting of votes at polling booths itself was accepted in principal by Dissanayake, but he had pointed out that there would be practical difficulties. However, he had agreed to the suggestion that proper security be provided for the transportation of ballot boxes to the counting centers, the sources said.

Government candidates they alleged, had during recent polls abused State resources, including helicopters and vehicles, but in contrast, the UNP paid for all the helicopters and vehicles, they used during the last Presidential Election.

The sources said that the delegation had also asked Dissanayake to ensure that elections laws are strictly followed from the day nominations are handed in and not just on polling day.

They had among other issues raised the non acceptance of Opposition advertisements by the State media and urged that such discriminatory practices be stopped.


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