The opposition is shocked and disgusted about the flagrant abuse of state power by a candidate in the presidential race who continues to misuse his authority as incumbent president said the leader of the opposition,Ranil Wickramasinha.
Heare is a statement made by the leader of the opposition
The Mahinda Rajapaksa campaign stooped to a new low yesterday when it broadcast his manifesto launch live on the state-owned Rupavahini network and a host of private television channels.
The event was telecast live by the state media in violation of election laws, guidelines provided by the Elections Commissioner and all norms of fair play and justice. Furthermore, the broadcast was hugely embellished with praise of a singular candidate. Following the telecast several songs were broadcasted about the candidate that were not paid advertisements but a blatant propaganda campaign by state television.
This blatant abuse of power did not take place on just another day of campaigning. It happened while public servants were casting their postal votes in a crucial national election.
It is also with great alarm that we note that the private broadcaster Derana TV continues to air advertisements banned by the Elections Commissioner last week, using old speeches by Opposition Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena. Derana TV telecast this advertisement several times on the night of 22 December. It is disturbing that Private Media heads failed to take note of specific instructions by the Commissioner of Elections regarding the use of another candidate in election propaganda by the incumbent.
We must once again remind the national broadcaster and other state media institutions that they are not sustained by the Rajapaksa family or their political party, but by the public who pay valuable tax rupees to keep these channels afloat.Your salaries and allowances are not paid by candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa but by the toiling masses of this country. You have no right nor legal grounds to support one presidential candidate over others. This habit of assuming that all state property, from the SriLankan airlines to SLRC, belongs to a single family at the helm of affairs in the country is a Rajapaksa syndrome.
But the real question is to the Elections Commissioner. We must ask you Sir, if you have no eyes to see nor ears to hear the blatant misuse of power by none other than a candidate in this election your office is preparing for? Do you plan to be a passive observer of this process to elect Sri Lanka’s next president?
During election season, the Office of the Elections Commissioner is vested with full authority over law enforcement and the state media. Still there has been nothing but stony silence about this travesty of abuse on postal voting day.
As the country’s democratic opposition, we demand to know what action the Elections Commissioner will take against these violations of election laws. We demand that you use the authority vested with you by the constitution to appoint a COMPETENT AUTHORITY for the media until polling day to ensure this blatantly biased behaviour ceases. The Commissioner’s failure to do so would be tantamount to his condoning the behaviour of the state media in this election season.
Mr Commissioner, we demand that you remind Mahinda Rajapaksa that he too is a candidate in this election, subject to your authority. We demand that you command this country’s president to stop abusing his power and breaking the law.
Mr Commissioner, if there are powers that are attempting to influence your conduct during this election, we urge you to stand before the country and make your grievances known. The people of this country who stand for a just election will stand with you. At this time when the eyes of the entire country are on your conduct, we urge you to stay strong, courageous and independent, in the face of what must be tremendous odds.