2019 Presidential Election to cost Rs.4 -5 billion – EC

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya says the upcoming Presidential Election is expected to be conducted at a cost of Rs.4 billion.

Speaking at a media briefing this morning Chairman Deshapriya said the sum could exceed the estimated total.

Deshapriya also stated that candidates have been advised to table their assets declarations when submitting nominations for the upcoming election.

Chairman Deshapriya mentioned that additional funds will definitely be required, and added that Rs.4 billion might rise to Rs.5 billion.

He noted that if there is a candidate who doesn’t win, and if they haven’t declared their assets by the election, they will have three months to do so.

Mahinda Deshapriya also pointed out that the winning candidate must table assets and liabilities declarations before assuming office as President.

The Chairman of the Election Commission also commented on possible Supreme Court rulings in the event that certain nominations are rejected.

He said that if Court asks them to, they will have to oblige, adding pointing out that the Supreme Court is above the Election Commission, and therefore if the Supreme Court tells them to take back a rejected nomination, they will have to abide by it.

Meanwhile the Chairman pointed out that digital propaganda boards cannot be set up on roads as they are public property.

The Chairman said that posters have been allowed, only to publicize rallies, in the form of notices and added that there were no digital boards back then.

He said that the commission has however granted approval for 12,600 cut-outs to be set up at election offices for each candidate.

Mahinda Deshapriya pointed out that it was more than enough to display one’s symbol.

The Election Commission Chairman also said talks have been held with social media giants Facebook, YouTube and Google, over hate speech and the spread of false information related to the 2019 Presidential election.

He said if anyone complains about such issues, the EC’s only course of action is to direct those complaints to the relevant company.

Therefore he stated the Commission has no control over what is taken down and what is retained, further remarking that controlling social media is a myth, as if they attempt to tackle such issues; they will fail to accomplish anything.

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