Sri Lanka top presidential candidates spend Rs760mn so far: monitors

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s presidential candidates have spent an estimated 750 million rupees on promotions in the past three weeks with most money shelled out by the main two contenders, an elections monitoring organization said.

Manjula Gajanayaka, National Co-ordinator, Centre for Monitoring Election Violence said a project started by the organization to estimate election spending had found that two contenders had spent 760 million rupees on promotions.

“All the other 33 candidates total cost for promotions is 2 million rupees,” Gajanayaka told a forum organized by Verete Research, a Colombo-based think tank that runs the website Manthri.lk, which tracks politicians.

“One of the candidates has spent 48 million rupees just for printed media and 432 million rupees for electronic media.

“While another candidate has spent 129 million rupees for print media and 151 million rupees for electronic media,” he said without naming the parties.

He said CMEV will publish all the details of expenses along with name of the candidate in the near future.

Sajith Premadasa from the ruling United National Party and Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Party are front runners.

Media organizations were charging premium rates to publish advertisement, officials said.

Gajanayaka said before the elections CMEV and PAFFREL (People’s Force for Free and Fair Elections) organizations had tried to get a new law passed on elections spending, but it was still being drawn up.

“We will be able to take it forward after the elections” Gajanayaka said. (Colombo/ Oct 31/ 2019)

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