Following an end to political propaganda on Friday mid night, candidates contesting Monday’s parliamentary poll now seem to have directed their energies towards disbursing bribes to voters in the form of “money”, “liquor” “FMCG Goods” and even “sil redi”.
Election monitors in a joint press briefing in Colombo today said that following the ban on polls propaganda some candidates have begun offering bribes to voters in return for their votes.
Since polls propaganda deadline on Friday midnight, candidates have now begun visiting temples while exhibiting party symbols and preferance numbers, in the guise of participating in religious ceremonies.
According to CaFFE candidates using temples to continue their propaganda has been reported from Gampaha Kurunegala,Vavuniya, Galle and Colombo districts with UNP and the UPFA being the main culprits.
Also liquor seems to be freely available to voters mainly in the upcountry plantation sector. According to polls monitors liquor distribution in a big way has been reported from Kurunegala, Puttalam, Badulla, Nuwaraeliya, Matale and Kandy districts.
Meanwhile in the Anuradhapura area a UNP politician has been accused of inaugurating some village road construction work on Saturday, blatantly violating polls laws.
Although the polls has been largely peaceful compared to elections in the recent past, monitors are disturbed by the fact that four deaths had occurred during the pre-polls period.
As tensions and polls violations has risen in the last two days authorities have taken steps to send the elite Special Task Force (STF) of Police to maintain law and order on the election day in nine districts.
Meanwhile Rohana Hettiarchchi of PAFFREL says that monitors had recorded several incidents of money being distributed among voters in return for their vote. A UPFA candidate in Colombo had been engaged in distributing money in some areas of the Kaduwela electorate on Saturday.
The 2015 general election will also see the largest deployment of election monitors. There will be 31,000 plus locals and 130 international election observers on duty tomorrow (Monday).
Today’s media briefing was attended by leaders of Transparency International, CMEV, CaFFE, NPOC, and MFFE.