CMEV to keep tabs on election campaign expenses | Daily News


 

CMEV to keep tabs on election campaign expenses

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) will keep tabs on the election campaign expenses of all political parties which would contest the upcoming General Elections, CMEV National Coordinator Manjula Gajanayake said. Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, he said the CMEV’s campaign cost monitoring initiative, which began for the first time in Sri Lanka during the last Presidential Election, would be continued in a more systematic manner at the forthcoming General Elections.

“With the use of our campaign finance tracking tool, we found that about Rs. 4 billion was spent by the 35 candidates who entered the fray at the last Presidential Elections.

Of that sum, about Rs 3.6 billion (over 90 percent) was spent by the two front runners at the elections. This time, since more than 5,000 candidates will contest in different parts of the country, our methodology will have to be changed. However, the basics such as tracking the cost of print and electronic media advertisements and social media advertisements of the candidates will remain intact,” he explained.

He said that Facebook has now officially agreed to provide them with its ‘Ad Library reports’, which enables to see overall spending totals, spending by specific advertisers and spending data by geographic location.

“Last time, we did not have this access. With this feature available, we can collect social media campaign expenses in a more accurate manner,” he said.

As tracking the expenses of ground campaigns of all candidates would be a cumbersome task, he said, the CMEV would have to narrow down its scope to a selected number of candidates, and that the method of limiting the sample is still under discussion. He however pointed out that tracking all expenses like distribution of freebies and cash rewards would not be possible.

He added that, unlike during the previous time, this time the CMEV hopes to report to the Inland Revenue Department and the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) on their findings, so that these institutions could initiate their own investigations on the sources of income based on the declarations of assets and liabilities submitted by the candidates.

“We are now in the process of increasing our staff, training them and purchasing new equipment for the purpose. We hope to make the maximum use of the Right to Information Act to obtain official figures from the private media channels as their frequencies are a public property. We expect to start monitoring from the first day of nominations, which we assume will fall on March 12,” he noted.

Gajanayake said the CMEV would release weekly reports on the election campaign finances, and that the report would indicate both individual and party level expenses.

He added that, the CMEV, with this difficult exercise, also highlights the importance of pushing the much-needed Campaign Finance Legislation through.

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CMEV to track on election expenses (13:41)

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) will keep tabs on the election campaign expenses of all political parties which would contest the upcoming General Elections, CMEV National Coordinator Manjula Gajanayake said.

Speaking to the Daily News today, he said the CMEV’s campaign cost monitoring initiative, which began for the first time in Sri Lanka during the last Presidential Election, would be continued more systematically at the forthcoming General Elections.

“With the use of our campaign finance tracking tool, we found that a sum of about 4 billion was spent by the 35 candidates who entered the fray at the last Presidential Elections. Of that sum, about Rs 3.6 billion (over 90 percent) was spent by the two front runners at the elections. This time, since more than 5,000 candidates will contest in different parts of the country, our methodology will have to be changed. However, the basics such as tracking the cost of print and electronic media advertisements and social media advertisements of the candidates will remain intact,” he explained.


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