PAFFREL sees sinister motive in blocking Independent commissions retaining lawyers

Executive Director of Election monitoring body People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), , Rohana Hettiarachchi said on Friday that the government has taken extra steps to ensure that independent commissions can’t secure the services of legal professionals outside of state service.

This would cripple these commissions’ ability to take any action that goes against the desires of the governments and undermines the concept of independent commissions, he said.

“The Cabinet of Ministers have taken a decision which states that  if a state institution acquires the service of external lawyers it needs approval from the ministries of finance and justice. The Elections Commission is now represented by Saliya Peiris PC. This is the government countering any such move.

Now all commissions will need to depend on the Attorney General’s Department,” he said.Hettiarachchi added that if the new date for the local council does not fall in the near future, the government will take steps to ensure that the election will be postponed for a long time.

“If the local council is postponed for months, it is likely that the government will try to change electoral laws and drag the process for months or years. They will try to drag it so that the nominations will become null and void.

“The government already has a delimitation commission and this can be used to delay elections too. The elections commission only needs 1.1 billion rupees to hold the election. The government really has no reason to say it has no money,” he said.

, Local, ,

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