USAID funded project estimates SLPP spent Rs 1518 million so far on campaigning, while NDF burnt Rs 1422 million


Text and pictures by PRIYAN DE SILVA

The National Coordinator of the Center for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) Manjula Gajanayake said the estimated campaign cost of the 2019 Presidential poll by all political parties and candidates would be around Rs. Rs 10,000 million. He called upon the media to investigate the sources of funding.

Gajanayake made this request at a media briefing convened by the CMEV yesterday morning.

He also pointed out that campaign finance with no trace of source of funding led to corruption, bribery, misappropriation of state property, discrimination and potential money laundering "Unregulated or unlimited financial expenditure can adversely affect democratic elections as certain candidates will be able to use finance in a manner that would handicap other candidates during the election process as well as create an unequal playing field between candidates."

Gajanayake said that CMEV’s campaign cost initiative was the first by an election monitoring Institution in Sri Lanka and was possible because the Management System Initiative (MIS) of USAID had provided the CMEV with Rs 7 million for the project.

CMEV had monitored cost incurred by candidates for advertising in print, electronic and social and other costs which included grassroots level campaigns including public rallies, meetings, visibility items such as posters, hand bills, flags, placards, photographs and that costs linked to misuse of state property, etc.

He said that as monitored by the CMEV the total estimated campaign cost between the  period between 14th October to 10th November was Rs 3,108 million and was only the tip of the iceberg and predicted that the grand total would be around Rs 10,000 million (Rs 10 billion). Of this the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) had spent Rs 1.518 million, the

New Democratic Front (NDF)  Rs 1,422 million and the National People’s Party (NPP)  Rs 160 million. The Janasetha Peramuna had spent Rs 6 million.

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