ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka to bring in new laws to limit the election campaign spending of local government and parliament candidates, Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapakshe said.
The election commission will have the power to terminate the seat of a candidate that exceeds the limit.
The cabinet of ministers has given the approval to present the draft of new Campaign Finance bill to the parliament for approval to limit the campaign cost of all types of elections, Rajapakshe said.
He said, it was discussed in 2015 when bringing in the 19th amendment to the constitution and was drafted in the 20th amendment, however the governments changed in 2019 before the implementation.
“We know in politics, due to many reasons the general public has lost the opportunity to select a suitable candidate in election,” Rajapakshe told reporters at the Cabinet briefing on Wednesday.
“Especially for the people who spent more money have an advantage in this election system.You might have seen politicians who are spending millions in these campaigns even on media.”
“Because of this the general public gets misdirected and the mass media also takes part in this because it is bringing income.”
Under the new law, a maximum limit will be decided by the election commissioner before an election after discussing with all the parties and individual candidates, and will ask the candidates to declare the costs for the campaign three weeks after the election.
“If these candidates exceed that maximum amount the commission will have the power to even terminate the seat that was won,” Rajapakshe said.
“Also the candidates will be prohibited to use government assets and services for election activities. And also it is prohibited to take money from Non- government organizations and even foreign aid for election purposes.
“Also within three weeks from the election, these candidates whether they win or not have to give details about how much they spent, how did they get the funds, from whom did they get the funds from and other related details in form of affidavit.
“If false information were given, then a fine can be charged and also legal actions can be taken for giving false information under an affidavit.” (Colombo/ Nov 22/2022)