Aug 24, Colombo: Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) says that public sector workers are forced to do campaign work for the government as the elections for the provincial councils approach.
Addressing a press conference in Colombo Friday, Moneragala District UNP MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara said, as the date for the Northern, Central and North Western Provincial Council elections got closer, the number of state sector workers campaigning on behalf of the ruling alliance had increased.
According to the MP, with the abolition of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution the entire public service is forced had been forced to do political work for the government.
Madduma Bandara says that since a majority of state workers are paid low salaries and had not received any increments for over four years, they are unable to resist the government's political directives. If any of them exposed the rampant corruption and abuse of power they would be harassed, transferred and could even lose their jobs, he adds.
Introduction of 18th Amendment and the abolition of 17 Amendment, which established independent commissions for Public, Police and Elections, has led to this situation, the MP said.
He noted that unless all the Independent Commissions, including the Public, Police and Elections were re-established, there was no hope of free and fair elections being conducted in this country.
The UNP has requested the President to reintroduce the 17th Amendment to the Constitution and reestablish independent commissions.