Oct 18, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Cabinet of Ministers has given the nod for a proposal to amend the laws to control unlimited spending of money on Elections by political parties and candidates.
A cabinet statement said it is imperative that elections be held in a free and fair manner to ensure universal franchise, a feature of the sovereignty of the people.
If a vote is to be held free and fairly, public consent must be ensured without any influence, and if a political party, a group or a candidate spends money to without control to obtain the votes of the people, then it will have a significant impact on the wishes of the people, the statement on the cabinet decisions said.
The Cabinet of Ministers noted that a majority of countries including India has enacted laws to control campaign spending to ensure proper representation of the public opinion and it has also been found that such control has the effect of reducing illegal acts of violence and corruption in elections.
It was pointed out that prior to the 1977 elections in Sri Lanka, laws were in place to obtain reports on candidates' election expenses but under the present election system there are no such provisions.
After discussions with secretaries, representatives and lawyers of recognized political parties, the Election Commission has informed that Initial arrangements have been made for the implementation of such provisions.
Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal put forward by the President, Maithripala Sirisena to obtain the reports on election expenses of political parties, groups and candidates and to amend the existing election laws and enact new laws to control such election expenditure.