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Elections switching taboo: Commissioner issues guidelines

COLOMBO: Political parties and independent groups contesting the local polls cannot canvass for votes in the name of another political party or independent group, Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake declared yesterday.

"It is also not possible to substitute the name of any other person in place of another candidate in the contest," Dissanayake said.

The Elections Commissioner said complaints have been received by him in this regard. Elections to 22 local elections will be held on Saturday, May 20.

The Elections Commissioner said: "Complaints have been received to the effect that some political parties whose nominations were rejected are campaigning for votes in the names of other political parties and independent groups which are contesting in some of the local authority elections scheduled to be held on May 20.

It is also reported that some persons are campaigning substituting their names in place of candidates of political parties and independent groups which are in the contest.

It is notified for the information of all candidates and voters that there is no provision in the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance for a political party or an independent group to canvass for votes for that party or independent group in the name of another political party or a group, or use the name and symbol of another political party or independent group who are in the contest.

It is also not possible to substitute the name of any other person in place of another candidate in the contest.

On conclusion of an election to a local authority the candidates who have obtained the highest number of preferences are declared elected from each party or independent group as members of the local authority in proportion to the number of members declared elected from that political party or independent group.

Subsequently whenever a vacancy occurs due to death, resignation or other reason in the membership of a local authority only a candidate with some preferences nominated by the relevant Secretary of the Political Party or Leader of the Independent Group is declared elected.

When all the remaining candidates with any preferences have been elected to fill vacancies that have arisen and if any subsequent vacancy occurs thereafter and since there are no candidates in the list with any preferences, the Ordinance states that the Returning Officer shall through the Commissioner of Elections report the fact to the Minister in charge of the subject who in turn will decided whether to order an election to be held to fill such vacancy.

There is no provision outside this procedure enabling the Secretary of a Political Party or a Leader of the Independent Group to fill a vacancy according to his wishes."

***

Schools closed for mini poll

COLOMBO: The schools selected as polling centres will be closed from Thursday, Education Ministry sources said.

These schools will be closed from 2 p.m. on Thursday while schools due to be specifically used as counting centres will be closed from 2 p.m. on May 17.

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