nominations closed

Published : 8:38 am  July 14, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (705) reads | 

6,151submit nominations

 

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By Sandun A Jayasekera
Nearly 6,151 candidates from 22 political parties and 201 independent groups are vying for 196 slots from 22 districts with an additional 29 to enter parliament on the national list at the August 17 general election.

The 29 members selected to enter parliament from the national lists will be based on the votes polled by the different political parties in the 22 districts under the Proportional Representative System.    


Nominations, to one of the most crucial and decisive parliamentary elections since independence closed at noon yesterday at 22 District Secretariats.


Fourteen political parties: The United National Party (UNP); the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA); Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK); Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP); the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC); Democratic Party (DP); Front-line Socialist Party (FSP); the United Socialist Party (USP); the United People’s Party (UPP); the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP); Okkoma Wasiyo, Okkoma Rajawaru Sanvidanaya (OWORS); Jana Setha Peramuna (JSP); Sri Lanka Vanguard Party (SLVP) and the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) have fielded a total of 1,200 candidates while 130 independent groups have fielded 1,000 candidates for the 22 districts.


Several political deals and cross overs have preceded the election campaign which is expected to be launched from today. President Maithripala Sirisena appears to have been under severe pressure from SLFP/UPFA seniors urging that he approves the nomination of Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the election on the UPFA ticket.


However, all those including Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, Athuraliye Rathana Thera, Ministers Patali Champika Ranawaka, Rajitha Senaratne and Arjuna Ranatunga who spearheaded the presidential election campaign of the then common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena expressed their disappointment and anger to President Sirisena for succumbing to the pressure and giving nominations to Rajapaksa and his cabal.


They said President Sirisena’s approval to accommodate Rajapaksa and sycophants in the UPFA nomination list was a blatant betrayal of the 6.2 million who voted for him to restore democracy and good governance, the rule of law, freedom of expression the independence of the judiciary by ending fraud and corruption, thuggery, mismanagement, the misuse of wealth and resources, nepotism and misrule.
A large number of political parties, trade unions and civil society groups who campaigned for President Sirisena’s victory at the January 8 election have re-grouped to ensure the victory of the UNP-led coalition — the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) which has assured it would continue to fulfil the aspirations of the people who voted for a palpable change at the silent revolution by defeating the then president Mahinda Rajapaksa.  The UPFA supporters who were dejected and disheartened after Mr. Rajapaksa’s defeat seem to have received a dose of adrenaline and are jubilant at his nomination  said they hoped to campaign for the UPFA and ensure its victory at the general election.


The JVP, the mainstream socialist party is campaigning to become the main opposition in the new parliament with party leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka saying that the two main political parties have broken all their promises since the 1950s and therefore it is time for the voter to elect the JVP as a viable alternative and introduce a new political culture that fulfills the aspirations of all Sri Lankans.
The two minority parties, the TNA and the SLMC that represent the Tamils and Muslims will draw the bulk of the Tamil and Muslim votes mainly in the North-East. The SLMC is a constituent of the UNFGG and will contest under the UNP’s elephant symbol.


The 2014 Electoral Register will be used for this election with some 15,044,490 registered voters countrywide.   Elections Chief Mahinda Deshapriya said school teachers serving at educational zones, educational divisions and at national schools have been permitted to cast their votes on August 3 while public servants eligible for postal voting can cast their votes on August 5 and 6.


He said applications for postal voting will end at 12.00 noon today and would not be extended under any circumstances.  
The previous general election was held in April 2010 – the first to be held after the end of the armed conflict. It’s term was to end on April 23, 2016. President Sirisena dissolved parliament prematurely on June 26 paving way for the August 17 general election.