Sri Lanka polls: Two main Presidential candidates spent around 76 Cr on media promotions

In Sri Lanka, the two main Presidential candidates have spent around 76 crore rupees on media promotions while the rest 33 candidates have spent only two million rupees. The elections, scheduled for 16th November, is being mainly contested between former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Minister Sajith Premadasa with total 35 in the fray. Manjula Gajanayaka, national co-ordinator, Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said, one of the candidates has spent 48 million rupees just for printed media and 432 million rupees for electronic media. The other candidate has spent 129 million rupees for print media and 151 million rupees for electronic media. He said, CMEV will publish all the details of expenses along with the name of the candidate in the near future. Mr. Gajanayaka said, election monitors like CMEV had tried to get a new law passed on elections spending, but it was still being drawn up.

Meanwhile, the National Elections Commission has said, some candidates contesting the election are promoting other candidates. Addressing a press conference in Colombo today,  commission chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said that at least 7-8 of the 35 candidates are promoting others while there are others indirectly backing other candidates. The Presidential election this year is seeing the highest number of candidates contesting resulting in a high cost being incurred by the authorities to hold the election.

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