By Kelum Bandara
A local election monitoring organisation yesterday suggested that the Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial Council Elections should be conducted on the same day according to a timetable, as a cost cutting and a more democratic exercise.
People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said that frequent elections had drained the public coffers in Sri Lanka and as many as 42 elections had been conducted since 1988.
"People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said that frequent elections had drained the public coffers in Sri Lanka"
“It means an average of two elections per year. When there are two elections a year, it is a costly exercise. At least Rs. 4 billion is spent on one election. It is also a time-consuming exercise. Politicians who are supposed to be involved in national policy formulations have to devote much of their time to election related activities,” PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said.
Against this backdrop, he said it would be advisable to conduct all the elections on a single day as done in some other countries with advanced democratic practices. He said there would be less election-related violence when the polls are conducted on a single day.
“When all main elections are conducted on the same day, there is less room for electioneering parties to engage in violence,” he said.
He said the local authorities’ elections should not be conducted on staggered basis.
“We need to have an election calendar. There should be specific timelines for each election,” he said.