‘I work according to my conscience” – Mahinda Deshapriya ‘I work according to my conscience” – Mahinda Deshapriya
Nov 12, 2018

Elections chief says he cannot satisfy everyone Featured

Chairman of the elections commission Mahinda Deshapriya says he cannot satisfy everyone, and that he acts according to his conscience.

His comment to BBC Sinhala Service came after president Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament on November 09 and called a general election on January 05.

The UNP has challenged it, as well as the sacking of Ranil Wickremesinghe as the prime minister, saying it will go to courts, while the JVP too, has decided to follow suit.

Referring to the role of the elections commission in this scenario, some parties said it should disregard the president’s unconstitutional moves, while certain media quoted its chairman as saying he would seek an interpretation by the Supreme Court.

Only the president can consult the SC

Responding, Deshapriya said it was only the president who could seek the opinion of the SC.

If the election commission does that, it will be a gain for one party and a loss for the others, which is inappropriate at a time of an election, he said.

Therefore, he said, he would remain silent, adding that the elections commissioner general has been asked to make the arrangements for the polls.

In the event one party obtains an injunction against holding the election, the commission would act accordingly, he said.

He said he was not consulted when the date for the election was decided, adding that there was no such requirement.

Cost of the election

The elections chief estimated the cost of the general election to be Rs. 4,000 million, or Rs. 4,500 million at the maximum.

According to him, the election would be held under the proportional representation system, as the time was inadequate to make the new system in place.

Election 670px 28 05 18“Will be held under the proportional representation system”Deshapriya also said they had no sufficient time to finalize the 2018 electoral register.

Speaking further, he said the state and deputy minister positions became void once an election was called, while the positions of prime minister and cabinet ministers remained.

They should follow the guidelines of the elections commission without influencing the election in any manner, he said.

Accepting election-related complaints has already begun, Deshapriya added.