Commission calls for Election Tribunal | Daily News

Commission calls for Election Tribunal

Needs more teeth to deal with violations
To keep tab on excessive campaign spending

The National Election Commission (NEC) yesterday pointed out the need to establish an “Election Tribunal” to investigate complaints related to illegal election propaganda and expenses.

NEC Chairman Nimal Punchihewa and other Members and officials of the Commission, Delimitation Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya and officials of the Attorney General’s Department appeared before the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on Election Law Reforms yesterday at the Parliament complex. The PSC is chaired by Leader of the House and Education Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

The NEC Chairman told the Committee that the investigations into offences related to excessive campaign spending and election propaganda through various illegal means as well as complaints on other election related offences could be expeditiously done if his Commission is given the powers to set up an Election Tribunal.

He pointed out that the usual judicial process in those regards consumes a lot of time.

He brought to the attention of the Committee that the NEC needs more teeth to deal with election law violations as those have taken a new turn with the advancement of Information Technology.

The NEC Chairman also said that it is appropriate to decide on an authorised sum of money for election campaigning of candidates and political parties, which will act as a ceiling limit to their election expenses. He added that this provision is included in the draft legislation prepared for controlling campaign finances. The ceiling limit will differ from election to election and it will be decided by the NEC in consultation with the political parties. He noted that any candidate or political party spends more than this authorised sum of money, that individual or party should be dealt with under the law.

The PSC is to have its next sitting on December 20.

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