Campaign Finance Bill held up at AG’s office, says PAFFREL Chief | Sunday Observer

Campaign Finance Bill held up at AG’s office, says PAFFREL Chief

The Campaign Finance Bill prepared by the National Election Commission to block polls related corruption, is held up at the Attorney General’s office, despite the fact that a crucial Presidential election is just around the corner, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said.

He said the Bill was the result of a massive campaign by the election monitors, civil society activists with the blessings of the National Election Commission.

The proposed law compels the political parties as well as independent groups to reveal their sources of election funding and spells out punitive measures. The law says audited financial statements should be submitted to the Election Commission within two months after the release of election results. It also incorporates provisions for revealing funding sources and to unseat an offender if he or she is elected.

The polls monitors have said unchecked campaign financing was evil since it distorts people’s free will. Hettiarachchi said, “Independent investigations by polls monitors have found that certain candidates had spent Rs.30-40 million on 400 households in their electorates during the Local Government Election of 2018. Some houses were given electricity and water connections as campaign bribes.”

“SLFP MP Welgama said that he spent Rs.80 million for the last general election. Political parties will spend at least 10 billion to buy votes and on propaganda at the upcoming election,” he said.

The Bill has been referred to the AG’s Department months ago to ascertain its constitutionality. The PAFFREL Chief said the Bill could be passed in Parliament before the Presidential Election, if the AG’s Department handles this as an urgent matter.