The Elections Commissioner is not constitutionally empowered to take action against any abuse of state resources, Deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohamed said yesterday.Responding to allegations that the state media are being used to carry out propaganda work for the ruling party candidates in the run-up to Saturday’s local council elections, Mr. Mohamed said with the passage of the 18th Amendment, the Commissioner no longer had Constitutional powers to appoint a competent authority to ensure balanced media coverage.
“The provision to do so has been repealed. However, the Commissioner has sought the assistance of the private and state media to ensure balanced coverage,” Mr. Mohamed said.He said Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya had informed all media institution heads to stop election propaganda from midnight October 5.
Meanwhile six officials have arrived from India to monitor Saturday’s elections, and will be coordinating with the Elections Department.
The Elections Department National Coordinating Centre has so far received some 100 election-related complaints.