UNP to complain to President, Elections Commission | Daily News


Army chief’s quote in Gota campaign advert

UNP to complain to President, Elections Commission

The UNP will formally lodge a complaint with the President and the Election Commission regarding the inclusion of a supportive comment by the current Army Commander in an election campaign advertisement of SLPP Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Sunday. The full-page campaign advertisment includes a quote supportive of Rajapaksa by Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and describing Silva as the incumbent Army chief. The rest of the advertisement comprises favourable comments by top retired military officers and they are described as “former” heads of forces.

Candidate Sajith Premadasa’s election campaign head and former minister Tissa Attanayake told the Daily News that it was unethical for the SLPP campaign to use an old statement made in 2009 by the incumbent Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva for their current political campaign.

“This is a clear violation of election laws and it clearly shows their intent in getting the military involved in their election campaign. If they are to use someone’s name or statement, the SLPP should at least have the decency to obtain the approval of the relevant person.

They have not done that and they have simply used a statement or comment made by Shavendra Silva in 2009 and published it in this advertisement.

They are trying to use serving military heads to boost their election campaign which is highly unacceptable and unethical,” he said.

Military Spokesman Maj. Gen. Sumith Atapattu told the Daily News that the Army Commander had no involvement in this issue and that the statement made by him in 2009 had been used without his knowledge. He said that the Army Commander was unaware that his statement and photograph had been used and there was nothing he could do as he had not been consulted.

Attanayake said that the UNP would officially complain to the Election Commission and President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, regarding the SLPP’s unethical actions which is also a violation of the election laws.

The Army Commander was not available for comment yesterday.

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