At a meeting held with the officials of the Elections Commission yesterday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assured to create the background to hold a free and fair election while giving priority to the health protection of the people as preventive mechanisms will continue for several months.
Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya and other two members Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole and N.J. Abeysekara attended the meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat along with other officials.
President said the Ministry of Health has issued recommendations for the conduct of election amidst COVID-19 pandemic.
“This will be recorded as the first election to be held under such circumstances. As such, the Government will extend its fullest cooperation to the Elections Commission to make the election process a success while adhering to health guidelines,” the President said.
He said the Government took all possible measures to control the spread of COVID-19 virus.
“This operation was not aimed at elections but to secure the well-being of the people of this country. The election can be held without any obstacle if the public is aware of the situation,” said the President adding that the prevention mechanism will continue for several months.
Meanwhile, Elections Commission Chairman Deshapriya said initial preparations have been completed and the contribution of all political parties and officials and the members of the security forces will be essential for the process.
The Chairman pointed out the importance of establishing a legal basis to ensure compulsory participation of public officials in election duties.
He was of the view that these regulations should be incorporated into the Establishment Code, the PMD said.
Mr. Deshapriya further said when all the partners act in a responsible manner during election rallies and house –to- house campaign, an effective election can be held.
The Chairman highlighted the importance of the necessity of declaring future COVID-19 prevention recommendations through a gazette notification.
The President agreed to provide required assistance in the event of lack of space facilities while conducting the election adhering to health instructions.
Mr. Deshapriya pointed out the need of providing transportation facilities to those who will leave for their home towns from July 31 and return after the election.
Secretary of the Election Commission H. M. T. D. Herath , Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance S.R. Attygalle, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration, J.J. Rathnasiri, Secretary to Health Ministry Major General (Retired) Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe participated in this meeting. (Lahiru Pothmulla)