ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka elections commission is facing a serious situation, space constraints and cost escalations, as a record 35 candidates sought to be President of the Indian Ocean island of 20 million people, a top official said.
“We have a serious (barapathala) situation,” Chairman of Sri Lanka’s election commission Mahinda Deshapriya said.
“The candidates can send 70 polling agents to a booth, and 175 counting agents to a centre. We will have to find massive halls to accommodate that many people.”
He said it was a right of everyone to who wanted to contest, but it was not easy to find many places to accommodate hundreds of people including elections officials.
“It is your right to contest. But if you can tell us that you will send less agents. We can find places more easily,” Deshapriya said.
“If not we will have to find large halls as central bank counting centre and take two or three days to count the votes.”
It was the practice at past elections to use multiple schoolroom accommodating about 25 to 30 persons.
He said officials had worked till 2.00 am Sunday, to finish the work prepare the hall after 8 persons put in applications on the last day. On Monday 35 persons turned up to submit nominations.
The ballot paper would be longer than usual, and more ballot boxes would also be needed.
“We will have to import ballot boxes,” Deshapriya said.
We were planning to spend only 4 billion rupees for this election,” he said. “But because the number of candidates went up it will be more than that.
“The ballot paper will be twice as long as the last time. We will have to make new ballot boxes. We will have to import them.
“Where we sent two workers to a polling centre we will have to send three. Where we sent three we will have to send four.
“We have now gone beyond the deep end of the pool in to the ocean.” (Colombo/Oct07/2019)