By Raisa Wickrematunge
Proxy candidates are becoming a major issue in the upcoming Local Government elections, with four cases being reported, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE)said.
In Badulla, a candidate whose name was not on the nomination sheet is contesting using his father’s name, preferential number and photo. In Kotte a candidate named Ali Isman was doing propaganda work for his son, Asmir (contesting from the UPFA). Similar incidents were reported from Kotikawatte and Galkissa, Dehiwala, Executive Director of CaFFE Keerthi Tennakoon said. The CaFFE Director also said that there had been 37 incidents of election violations reported, although there had been no major incidents of physical violence.
The leader of an independent group (reportedly a supporter of Sajith Premadasa whose nomination papers were not accepted by the main Opposition party) was attacked by UNP supporters on Thursday (15). Propaganda was also widespread with Ratnapura boasting many cutouts and posters, however upon appealing to the Elections Commissioner around 80 large cutouts were removed.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Rohana Hettiarachchi said that they had received around 22 complaints. Most of them dealt with illegal propaganda. “They are everywhere… all parties and candidates in all areas,” he said. Around 10 of the cases were related to misuse of government resources. He too confirmed that proxy candidates were a major problem. He added that of the three or four cases of intra-party violence only the one in Kotte had been perpetrated by UNP supporters, the rest were by the UPFA.
“There need to be guidelines as to how parties can complain about violations. So far, there has been no such code of conduct,” he said.