Elections Commission and bans
Posted on October 17th, 2019

Editorial Courtesy The Island

Elections Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya is reported to have banned politicians from using the war victory in election-related propaganda. The war victory does not belong to any particular political party, he has reportedly said, adding that it belongs to all Sri Lankans alike. What is the law the Polls Chief has invoked to declare the war victory a public property, as it were?

Are we to gather that the war victory also belongs to those who opposed the military campaign against the LTTE and ridiculed the armed forces’ achievements on the battlefront? One may recall that at the height of the war, a UNP heavyweight, then in the Opposition, went so far as to claim, in Parliament, that any bovine could wage war. Another UNP grandee said the army had got so confused due to LTTE attacks that it did not know Kilinochchi from Medawachchi and Alimankda from Pamankada. In 2008, the then Opposition made a determined bid to defeat the national budget and derail the war. Had they succeeded in their endeavour, the war would have dragged on. Does the EC Chief think the war victory belongs to these elements as well?

Some politicians and civil society activists have chosen to condemn the war, at international fora, and they will not take kindly to the EC Chief’s claim that the credit for the war victory should go to all Sri Lankans, who include them as well.

One cannot but agree with Deshapriya that political parties must not be allowed to gain propaganda mileage from what really belongs to the people to win elections. All governments spend public funds on development projects, whose owners are the people. Therefore, the EC should prevent political parties from taking the credit for the completion of such projects to gain political mileage during elections. Politicians in power should be banned from opening development projects after elections are announced.

The EC tells us that it is a punishable offence to abuse state assets for election purposes. The President, the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, ministers and the ordinary MPs use their official residences, vehicles and officials for election work. Monstrous, bulletproof vehicles that political leaders use don’t do more than a couple of kilometres to a litre of gasoline, and their travel during election campaigns must be costing the public enormous amounts of money. Isn’t there anything that the EC can do to prevent the abuse of these public assets?

A provincial Governor has gone on record as saying that elections to the provincial councils won’t be held for another two years. This is a very serious situation which warrants the attention of the EC knights in shining armour on a mission to protect the people’s franchise.

The government has denied the people their right to elect their representatives to the provincial councils (PCs). Not that the PCs serve any useful purpose, but so long as they are there elections thereto have to be held. Or, they should be abolished. Worryingly, the EC, which goes out of its way to take on soft targets, has refrained from bringing sufficient pressure to bear on the government to hold the much-delayed PC polls.

We thought the EC was serious about safeguarding the people’s franchise when Deshapriya declared that he would resign as the EC head if the PC polls were not held before the presidential election. It looked as if he had finally decided to get tough with the yahapalana leaders. But the government did not care two hoots about his threat to resign, and he reneged on his pledge. Luckily, the President and the government have failed to find loopholes in the presidential election laws, otherwise, there would have been no election next month.

5 Responses to “Elections Commission and bans”

  1. Gunasinghe Says:

    This guy is a bafoon. He does not have any authority ban such a thing. He is UNP backer (former JVP guy). He want YAHAPLANYA to come back. What an idiot.

  2. Dilrook Says:

    The war was won by the people of the country and the military. No politician can claim credit for winning the war. Certainly not politicians who presided over just 4 years of the 26 years of war. The outcome was achieved by the work of all governments.

    Denzel Kobbekaduwa, PWV Kularathna, PWV Laphir, General Janaka Perera, etc., etc. didn’t die in vain.

    The war was won with their sacrifices too.

    We had 4 administrations fighting the war to various degrees of success. It was won during 1 such administration. The other 3 failed to cross the finish line.

    Of course 3 out of 4 runners cannot cross the finish line in a relay but they all get the medal. In most cases the fastest runner will compete in the final lap.

    The war victory belongs to all people and all parties that ruled since 1983. On the other hand JVPers, LSSPers and the Mulberry group who disrupted the war effort deserve no credit of the war victory; especially those who were in the JVP and LSSP in 1989 to 1990s including Wimal, Vasudeva and Dilan crowd.

    Both UNP and SLFP disrupted the war when in opposition. Ranil’s UNP disrupted the war in 1995, 1999 and 2006 to 2009 and SLFP including Mahinda disrupted the war in 1984 to 1987 (with Kumaratunga), from 1990 to 1995 (with the sham cessation of hostilities and human rights concerns) and in 2005 with PTOMS.

    But the military never changed. They always fought the war when directed. Even at other times the military lessened the damage.

    There is no point shooting the messenger. These are facts.

    Similarly Sajith should not be allowed to market his father’s death caused by Tamil terrorists. It is a sacrifice made for the country but he was not the only one to make the ultimate sacrifice.

    A good decision by the EC.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    @Dilrook,

    “The war was won by the people of the country and the military. No politician can claim credit for winning the war. ”

    BALONEY! BILGEWATER! UTTER HOGWASH!

    The SAME people of the country were MISLED by spineless leaders without the courage and determination of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Govt for 30 years bringing the Nation to its KNEES; leaders without the wisdom and ability to marshall all the resources of the nation, appoint able commanders, revive the faith of the common soldier in the military leadership, and take the risk to fight to victory!

    Without that able, skilled and determined leadership, the people of the country would have continued to WALLOW in DEFEAT for NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN! A “War that CAnnout be Won Militarily” according to the jaded PUNDITS, was won in a way that reduced Western Powers to TEARS of ENVY!

    The Election Commissioner Deshapriya is a GOOD MAN doing a very difficult job impartially, whom I commend highly!

    Neverthe ess, in this instance, the EC is ABSOLUTELY WRONG!

    The War was the CENTRAL ISSUE of those times on which the fate of the Nation teetered! How it was won and who won it, and the nation made secure and reintegrated, goes to the HEART of the current concerns about National SECURITY.

    On the ONE HAND, we have the Leaders who WON the War claiming the Right to lead the Nation, now confronted by the RISE of a NEW Muslim TERRORIST ENEMY, and the DEFEATED Tamil Separatists once again demanding a SEPARATE STATE,.

    ON the OTHER HAND ,we have the CURRENT INEPT Yamapalana UNP Govt that BUNGLED National Security BIG TIME, demonizing and imprisoning our national intelligence officers who are key to our defence against separatists, systematically dismantling our Security installations, and discouraging the Security Forces in general.

    Let us recall, that the leaders of the Yamapalanaya are the very same TRAITORS and NINCOMPOOPS who MOCKED the drive to Win the War, aided and abetted external powers to PREVENT that Victory, and after it was won, betrayed the defenders and the nation in Geneva.

    These ISSUES are ESSENTIAL FACTS that the VOTERS need to be reminded, and their FADING memories jogged into alertness, before they go to the polls, for their vote decides who is better qualified and fit to PROTECT their Motherland!

    The National Security and Future Progress of their Motherland. our Motherland, your Motherland, depends on how they will vote. It is their DEMOCRATIC RIGHT that must NOT BE DENIED!

    It is ABSOLUTELY WRONG to BAN the discussion of these ISSUES central to our safety, individual and national, on the eve of ELECTIONS! This decision by the EC should be challenged immediately in SUPREME COURT!

  4. Randeniyage Says:

    “The war was won by the people of the country and the military. No politician can claim credit for winning the war. ” – Dilrook

    A golden statement of pure TRUTH nothing but TRUTH ! I wholeheartedly approve it so will all good people i this world.
    Why ?

    1. It is PEOPLE ( and military) who sacrificed their beloved sons, daughters, brothers, sister, fathers, mothers wining the war or loosing the war. Not a single politician’s immediate relative lost the life. Actually some left the army and settled in the USA

    2. It is people who spend every cent to buy all the equipment for the war. This costed a lot of money and hardships to people. Politicians did not spend 1 cent of their own money. In fact they robbed part of that money. politicians were heavily paid to do the job and duty free vehicles and pension for life after 5 years.

    3. It is people who faced the dangers of bombs the most. Politicians traveled in bullet proof cars and helicopters with hundreds of troop visiting before they go there and hundreds of people’s sons providing security for them ready to die for them.

    How can any politician claim THEY WON THE WAR ? Such claim is THEFT AT VERY BEST.

  5. Dilrook Says:

    Yes; it is theft according to teachings in Buddhism and Christianity.

    Grand theft.

    Yes it was the people who braved bombs and worked sustaining the economy. They didn’t have body guards, bullet proof cars, etc.

    26,000 soldiers sacrificed their lives.
    14,000 soldiers sacrificed their limbs.
    12,000 civilians sacrificed their lives.
    Over $12 billion was spent on the war by people’s taxation.

    The investors must get the returns, not others.

    Depriving people and the military their win is daylight robbery.

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