Feb 19, Colombo: Colombo District leader of Sri Lanka's governing party at the forthcoming Western Provincial Council election, Udaya Gammanpila has apologized to the Elections Commissioner for the Defense Secretary's participation at the event to launch his election campaign.
Gammanpila apologized to Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya for Defense Secretary's participation at the launch of his campaign but said that the Defense Secretary had the right to attend such events as he was a political appointee and not a public servant.
However, Gammanpila said that he extends the apology since the Elections Commissioner has said that it was inappropriate.
United National Party (UNP) Western Provincial Council candidate, President's Counsel Srinath Perera had accused Gammanpila of violating election laws by getting the support of a Ministry Secretary for election campaigning.
"I regret about Mr. Perera's ignorance of the history of his own party. According to Clause 52 of the 1978 Constitution, a Ministry Secretary is not a public servant, and therefore, he or she can take part in any political campaign," the ruling party candidate has responded.
However, the former Western Provincial councilor said he sought the advice of Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya in this regard, and unfortunately he (the Commissioner) also held the view that it was not appropriate for a Ministry Secretary to engage in election campaigning.
"I phoned the Elections Commissioner and asked it, not as a lawyer or a political critic, but as a candidate. So I apologized to him for the incident respecting his opinion without any debate. Also, I assured him that I would not have any Ministry Secretaries in my election campaigning again", Gammanpila said.