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* Sri Lanka Elections Commissioner incapacitated by the 18th Amendment - election monitor
Tue, Mar 11, 2014, 08:21 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 11, Colombo: An independent election monitor in Sri Lanka says that the Elections Commissioner is incapacitated by the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

The Campaign for a Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) says the directives under the 18th Amendment had affected the functions of the Elections Commissioner.

Executive Director of CaFFE, Keerthi Tennakoon told the media that the current situation seems to be a sinister political move to limit the powers of the Elections Commissioner to create an environment that would allow for election malpractices.

"Under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, the Elections Commissioner was vested with a considerable amount of power. He was able to draw on resolved decisions. However, with the introduction of the 18th Amendment, his powers have been pruned," Tennakoon explained to a English daily.

The election monitor said the Public Service Commission (PSC) as well as the public service sector has been subjected to politicization.

"We should not forget that the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted in Parliament with a two-thirds majority. It is actually a flaw of the country's Parliament, because Parliament, being the supreme institution of the country, is responsible to ratify the laws," Tennakoon said.

He added that this situation has resulted in a series of election law violations in the run up to the Western and Southern Provincial Council elections.

The local watchdog claimed that their branches in two provinces had received 635 complaints of election related incidents by March 08.

"This is the highest number of complaints we have received in all elections we have observed since 2008," Tennakoon said.

According to t CaFFE, the previous highest number of complaints, 579, had been received during the Northern, North-Western and Central Provincial Council elections last year, but that number had been surpassed with almost three weeks to go for the March 29 elections.

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