Independent election monitors have written to Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya slamming the Public Administration Ministry for running a full page advertisement entitled Abhiman Mehewara or ‘Proud Service’ aimed at public servants on September 9 saying it aimed to influence public servants during two days of postal voting.
In a letter to the Commissioner, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) said the advertisement had featured themes, colours and symbols of the ruling party and was a clear attempt to promote the UPFA.
The advertisement was estimated to cost about Rs. 200,000 and was published in the Lankadeepa newspaper, CaFFE said. Published by the Public Administration Ministry with a picture of the Ministry Secretary, the advertisement was paid for by the Ministry using the peoples’ tax money, CaFFE told the Elections Commissioner in a letter.
“The advertisement published on the day postal voting commenced targets public servants and was an attempt to influence public servants,” the polls monitors charged in a media release.
The polls monitors have called on the Elections Commissioner to consider charging the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration personally for this advertisement.