Elections Commission stops state job appointments during campaign

ECONOMYNEXT – The Elections Commission (EC) has ordered that the government refrain from handing over letters of appointment to graduate recruits which have been posted on March 1 and 2, according to a letter written by the EC to the Public Services Commission.

The letter says that the appointments can be made one week after the conclusion of the Parliamentary General election which will be held on April 25.

In the letter, signed by the Chairman of the EC Mahinda Deshapriya, it is noted that these 42,000 recruits would be taking up their posts during the election period.

“In the past, any appointments being made to the government, Local government bodies or other state institutions after due process of competitive examinations, interviews etc has been followed have been suspended during election periods,” Deshapriya’s letter said.

He added that it was recruitment for emergency reasons was permitted.

These recruits are being given appointments “not due to an emergency or to fill vacancies,” the Chief Commissioner said.

Earlier reports said that Public Administration Ministry Secretary S. Hettiaarachchi had said they were planning to expedite the delivery of appointment letters and hoped to have a special postal service on Sundays for this purpose, saying that the EC had cleared the appointments.

This was after the NEC sought clarification on the proposed job schemes, interviews and appointments.

The Opposition parties had objected to the letters being given during this period.

UNP Parliamentarian Kabir Hashim was quoted by the Sunday Times that during their government the NEC did not allow the implementation of such employment schemes during election campaign periods.

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He said they were calling on the NEC not to allow the job scheme after the dissolution of parliament and the announcement of the election date.

JVP spokesman Vijitha Herath said the programme should be suspended until the elections were concluded.  He said his party was not opposed to the job scheme but wanted to make sure that it was done in a proper manner. (Colombo, March 4)

-Arjuna Ranawana

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