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Election Monitor condemns polls law violations at Temple Trees
Published Date: 10/01/2018 (Wednesday)

The Election Monitor Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) alleges that the Ministry of Education has used the Prime Minister’s official residence, Temple Trees, for election propaganda purposes. It has written to the Secretary to the Prime Minister not to allow anyone to use Temple Trees for electioneering purposes.

"The government has started using the Prime Minister’s official residence, Temple Trees, for election propaganda purposes just like during the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration," CaFFE Executive Director, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said.

On January 04, the Ministry of Education had convened around 3,000 people from across the country to Temple Trees to ‘distribute mobile laboratories to schools,’ an event, which the election monitor pointed out was essentially a political function, Tennakoon said.

"The event which was organised by Education Director, M. P. Vipulasena and a letter of invitation was sent to participants on January 02 and a letter of confirmation was sent on January 04. Thus state officials who participated in this event had the ability to obtain official leave," he said.

Tennakoon added that during the Rajapaksa Administration, Temple Trees had been used to host events which were a blatant violation of election laws and directives issued by the Commissioner of Elections, but the current Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam had decided to follow the example set by the previous administration and has openly and blatantly violated the directive of the Elections Commission.

"CaFFE finds it unfortunate that the Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, who promised to change the culture of impunity, where state resources were openly abused, has now decided that abusing state resources is necessary to conduct an election. Moreover we are further saddened to see that state officials have not learned a lesson from the plight of Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita."

Source: The Island

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