ECONOMYNEXT – With a week of campaigning left in the Parliamentary General Elections watchdog groups have found that the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) has outspent everyone else while the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has violated election laws more than any other party.
The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) found that the parties had collectively spent Rs514mn with the SJB leading the way with Rs185mn.
The breakaway party from the United National Party (UNP) has invested heavily in electronic media spending Rs168mn for advertising on TV and Radio.
While the SLPP is being openly supported by the two leading networks in the country – Hiru and Derana and has access to state media, the SJB has had to fight for airtime.
The SLPP has spent Rs151mn in total with Rs107 going to electronic media and Rs19mn to Print. It has also spent Rs5mn on Facebook according to the estimates made by CMEV.
The UNP is the third biggest spender coming in at Rs123mn in total with most of the money Rs111mn going to electronic media.
Most Sri Lankans consume their news on TV and Radio, according to recent media consumption surveys. Hiru and Derana are the highest-rated stations.
The spending estimates do not take into account the costs for maintaining party organisers, food and drink, costs for renting of venues, tents and fuel.
Meanwhile, while there has been no reported violence in the election campaign according to the National Elections Commission, CMEV has found a total of 595 instances where parties have violated election laws.
Of them, the highest number of violations has been by the SLPP with 302 violations according to the CMEV.
In a distant second place is the SJB with 109 reported violations and third is the UNP with 43. In the North Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) has 23 violations and the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) 13 according to the CMEV. (Colombo, July 27, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana