March 12 Movement on LG Polls:Political parties are nominating criminals

President yet to submit campaign finance bill to Cabinet.

Pushing its 2015 initiative to bring about a clean political culture within the country once again, the March 12 Movement announced that they were already in possession of accumulated evidence against certain political parties which are sponsoring convicted criminals as candidates at the forthcoming local government elections.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday (11), numerous members of the March 12 Movement noted that despite many of the leading political parties following in the footsteps of President Maithripala Sirisena and agreeing not to nominate candidates who have been indicted, and have had criminal allegations levelled against them, or have been convicted of criminal activities, to engage in active politics in the country, such groups have now gone back on their word.

Executive Director of the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Rohana Hettiarachchi said that if the political parties failed to put forward politically clean candidates at the upcoming Local Government elections, it will be in violation of public

aspirations. The Movement further opined that under the new electoral system, the public’s franchise is thoroughly hindered when it comes to electing the right candidate. This, added with the sudden increase of candidates for the election, from 4,000 to almost 9,000, will further frustrate the public, they noted. “The increased number of candidates that are elected are to be sustained by the nation’s wealth; the monies of the people. If the right candidate – the clean candidate – is elected in, then the people won’t complain about having to spend on them. If this does not change it’ll be the responsibility of each and every political party and the electoral organizers.”

Hettiarachchi further said, “We have already received information about candidates who have engaged in narcotic trafficking, illegal sand mining and various other crimes, having received nominations from parties that are contesting the election.”

The Movement further noted that a draft of the proposed campaign finance act, with the recommendations of the Election Commission, had been submitted to the President, who is yet to present it to the Cabinet of Ministers.

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