Election monitoring body the People’s Action for Free and Fair Election says the Cabinet Secretary is yet to make a statement pertaining to the controversial letter issued by the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration to District Secretaries and Returning Officers over the suspension of deposits for the Local Government Election.
The Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration issued the letter stating that the Cabinet of Ministers informed him to suspend the acceptance of deposits for the Local Government Election until further notice.
However, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena recently said in Parliament that no such decision was reached during the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Executive Director of PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi said such incidents lead to distrust pertaining to Cabinet decisions that are being reached weekly.
The Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration Neil Bandara Hapuhinna last week apologised to the National Election Commission over the issuance of a letter to District Secretaries and Returning Officers to refrain from accepting deposits for the Local Government Election.
Commissioner General of Elections Saman Sri Ratnayake said the Secretary stated that the letter was issued in line with a decision reached by the Cabinet of Ministers.
Hapuhinna had stated that an hour after issuing the statement he felt the move unsuitable.
He had therefore recalled the letter within an hour of issuing it.
The Secretary had also stated that he had no intention of intervening in the processes of the Election Commission and merely took measures on the directives of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Hapuhinna also noted that the placing of deposits was not hindered in any manner by the issuance of the letter as it was recalled within an hour.
He added that the day after the issuance of the letter, 131 political parties and independent groups placed deposits.
The Election Commissioner said he highlighted the duties of the Election Commission cited in the Constitution and the manner in which state officials must respond during the conduct of an election.
The Secretary apologising to the Election Commission said he will ensure that such a situation does not arise in future.