October 20, 2019
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    Polls monitors’ plans cover social media Featured

    September 22, 2019

    Election monitors are to pay special attention to social media in the run-up to the November 16 presidential election.Monitoring groups say they have drawn up plans to cover not only the campaign period, but also the election day events and post-election day happenings.The Center for Monitoring election Violence (CMEV) Coordinator Manjula Gajanayake said they would deploy 5,000 observers on polling day, while another 160 observers would be assigned to every electorate during the campaign period. The group would also deploy mobile units consisting of 300 observers, including 100 disabled people.

    He said social media would be one of the areas the CMEV would be focusing on. “We will monitor hate speech and lodge complaints against the perpetrators,” Mr Gajanayake said.The candidates’ campaign expenditure is another key area the CMEV would be monitoring.“We will monitor every candidate’s expenditure on social and print media advertisements, campaign rallies, catering services, transport and other programmes,” he said, adding that they would even monitor donations given to candidates.

    The People’s Action For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL)’s Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said they would deploy 10,000 election observers. Of them, 2,000 would be working on long-term basis throughout the country while 8,000 would be on duty on polling day.Around 1,000 observers would monitor developments in the post-election period, he said.PAFFREL would also closely monitor social media and promotional work.

    National Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya told a news briefing on Friday that previously scheduled Government events could be held if they were part of ongoing programmes. However, to hold such events, permission must be obtained from the Commission by providing the relevant information. But neither politicians nor political parties would be permitted to gain publicity through such events, he said.

    The Commission in a statement said that, under Section 2 and 8 of the Presidential Election Act, nominations would be accepted from 9 am to 11 am on October 7. This would be followed by objections, if any.A political party candidate is required to pay a deposit of Rs 50,000 before nomination day. An independent candidate must deposit Rs 75,000.

    Six candidates have already paid their deposits. They are Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Prasanna Perera representing Ape Jana Balaya Party, the Ven. Aparakke Punyananda Thera, who is contesting as an independent candidate, Dr Ajantha Wijesinghe Perera of the Sri Lanka Socialist Party and independent candidates Jayantha Ketagoda and Siripala Amarasinghe.


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