General Election: law breaking pranks have begun already

Published : 10:32 am  July 16, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (728) reads | 

ba2By Rumana Razick and Nabeela Hussain
Despite a ban on posters and cutouts, Colombo and its suburbs have been flooded with posters advertising numerous political parties
and candidates.

When contacted several local government authorities and the election monitor, the Peoples Action for a Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) said many candidates had not requested for permission to put up posters and cutouts nor had they paid their dues to the relevant authorities.   

PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said the biggest problem Colombo faced was an influx of illegal posters
and cutouts.

Hettiarchchi said that permission was neither requested nor payments made for the posters and cutouts. “None of the local authorities have taken measures to stop this despite the election commissioner’s directives that election laws are strictly followed,” he said.
Once nominations were handed over cutouts could only be displayed in the office premises of political parties, in places within 100 to 200 meters of party rallies and on vehicles used by candidates, the elections monitor explained.

Colombo Municipality Treasurer K.D. Chitrapala said it was compulsory for all political parties to pay rates to the municipality before putting up their cutouts.PAF

However, an official from the advertising department of the municipality said that approval was not given by the elections commissioner to put up cutouts within the city. “Posters and cut outs have been put up without permission.  Rates have not been paid to the municipality either,” the official said.

When questioned as to why the posters and cut outs were not taken down, the official said the mayor has not given instructions as to what should be done. When contacted Colombo Mayor A. J. M. Muzzamil said there were no cut outs in Colombo and that all had  been removed.

Meanwhile, Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte Mayor Janaka Ranawaka said they have been removing posters and cutouts since nominations were announced last week.

“As the cutouts were put up without obtaining permission we took them down immediately. Only Ministers Ravi Karunanayake and Harsha de Silva requested for permission. However they did not show up at the meeting arranged with the municipality accountant nor did they put up any posters within the Kotte City limits,” he said.BA3

Dehiwela- Mount Lavinia Mayor Dhanasiri Amaratunga said the number of complaints made to the Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia Municipality regarding illegal posters and cut outs  within its city limits had prompted the deployment of officers last week to remove them.
“None of the political parties asked us for permission to put up posters and cutouts. Even if they did, we would have refused because the elections commissioner has instructed us not to give permission and remove all cutouts put up illegally. I am also contesting this election and I have not put up any cutouts,” he said.