Sri Lankan President assures free and fair general election under strict health guidelines

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has assured to create the background to hold a free and fair election while giving priority to the health protection of the people, the President’s Media Division said.

The Ministry of Health has issued recommendations for the conduct of parliamentary election amidst COVID–19 pandemic. This will be recorded as the first election to be held under such circumstances.

Meeting with the Chairman and the members of the Elections Commission at the Presidential Secretariat Wednesday (17), the President said the government will extend its fullest cooperation to the Elections Commission to make the election process a success while adhering to health guidelines.

He said the Government took all possible measures to control the spread of COVID–19 virus and added that the operation was not aimed at elections but to secure the wellbeing of the people of this country. He said the prevention mechanism will continue for several months.

“The election can be held without any obstacle if the public is aware of the situation,” President Rajapaksa noted.

Initial preparations have been completed and the contribution of all political parties and officials and the members of the security forces will be essential for the process, Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said.

The Chairman pointed out the importance of establishing a legal basis to ensure compulsory participation of public officials in election duties. He was of the view that these regulations should be incorporated in to the Establishment Code. When all the partners act in a responsible manner during election rallies and house–to- house campaign, an effective election can be hold, he said.

The Chairman highlighted the importance of the necessity of declaring future COVID–19 prevention recommendations through a gazette notification. President agreed to provide required assistance in the event of lack of space facilities while conducting the election adhering to health instructions. Mr. Deshapriya pointed out the need of providing transportation facilities to those who will leave for their home towns from July 31st and return after the election.

The other members of the Election Commission, Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole and N.J. Abeysekara, Secretary of the Election Commission H. M. T. D. Herath , Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance S.R. Attygalle, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration, J.J. Ratnasiri, Secretary to Health Ministry Major General (Retired) Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe participated in this meeting.

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