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Novel method to counter distribution of election freebies

The National Elections Commission (NEC) is to put up banners at the sites of all newly constructed public property, bearing the message that these had been built out of tax payers’ money.

Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya told the media that the banners would be put up till the Local Government Elections are over.

“For example if the construction of a school building or public ground has been completed, there is no point in delaying its opening till the end of February.

Therefore, we decided to allow those ceremonial openings, but we will put up a banner stating that they were constructed from public money and not the money of any politician or political party. This is to avoid any politician or political party getting undue credit for those constructions and using them for their polls’ campaign,” Dehapriya explained.

He also said the Commission would paste a sticker on all the items given out to the people during the period of the election stating that the items in question were purchased from tax payers’ money. “We do not intend to stop what people duly receive at the end of year, but we will remind the public that this was at the cost of the tax payer. Those items will be distributed through the officials,” he said. Deshapriya, reiterating that all election cut-outs, posters and processions are illegal since the date of nominations, said the Commission intends to paste a tape carrying the message that “this is an illegal poster” on all such posters.