Democratic Party Leader Sarath Fonseka today complained to the Elections Commissioner that his party had been deprived of the right to engage in election campaigning by not being allowed to obtain venues for election rallies and by security personnel obstructing them.
“We are faced with a serious issue with our candidates having lost the opportunity to conduct their election campaign. Even though we requested permission in advance to obtain venues for election rallies, some heads of local government bodies and provincial councils have purposely disregarded our requests. Even some private venues have been cancelled at the last moment after being influenced by certain groups. We were allocated a venue at Weeraketiya but we received a letter on Tuesday saying approval has been cancelled. So we are deprived of the equal right to contest the elections,” Mr. Fonseka said.
He told journalists after meeting the Elections Commissioner that he should take the responsibility for ensuring the equal right of all the political parties to engage in election campaigning.
“The Elections Commissioner must take steps to ensure that all the political parties get equal rights to campaign. Announcing an election and printing ballot papers was not sufficient. If he cannot do that in his capacity as Elections Commissioner then the people’s aspirations are not fulfilled. Otherwise steps must be taken to provide such powers to the EC,” he said.
Mr. Fonseka said if this situation was not changed, it would prove the allegations of the international community against Sri Lanka over human rights violations and the absence of democracy in the country.
Election commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya had requested all political parties to inform him if they had any issues pertaining to election campaigning and assured he would take steps to ensure equal rights to all political parties. (Sanath Desmond and Ajith Siriwardana)