NEC Chief warns about fielding ’puppet’ candidates

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Chairman of Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday warned that he will reveal the names of presidential candidates who field ’puppet’ candidates in order to get more facilities than they are entitled to during elections.

Mr. Deshapriya told a press conference that applications sent by four candidates for the placement of officers had come from one single address. He added that one candidate had fielded five other candidates for his support – two others have fielded three each. “We could have limited the ballot paper for 25 members if this did not happen,” the polls chief said.

“Some candidates sign agreements with other candidates and such candidates seek coverage from the media. If this situation continues for one more week, we will have to reveal the names of those candidates who support the fellow candidates,” he added.

The polls chief also alleged that some media institutions are biased towards certain candidates. “We will be sending letters to these media organisations and they will be asked to examine their conscience,” he said.

While stating that some print media are also bias, the polls chief said the names of these newspapers should be changed to the names given for publications of some political parties and to boycott these publications.

Further on this, Mr. Deshapriya said the Election Commission will support any civil organisation that would file legal action against media institutions. Also, he said it would be illegal for any religious leader to talk politics during a Darama deshana in a temple, sermons on Sunday masses in churches, during prayers in mosques or in poojas in temples.

He further requested the trade unions to refrain from launching strike actions during the election period and their salary increment issues should be resolved after the polls.