Govt Printer repeats requests for funding and security to print ballot papers

Government Printer Gangani Liyanage says the process of printing ballot papers for the upcoming Local Government polls will resume based on the response of the Treasury to her request for funds. Liyanage said the Government Press in a letter to the Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardana yesterday requested that he releases the funds needed for the preliminary printing of ballot papers and other preparations for the election. She said it is estimated over Rs 400 million will be required for printing purposes. The Government Press yesterday also requested IGP C.D Wickramaratne to provide the necessary police protection to ensure the safety of the printing process. 

Liayange’s requests come after the Supreme Court issued an interim order last week on the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and the Attorney General representing the Minister of Finance, preventing them from withholding funds allocated in the budget for the Local Government elections of 2023. The Supreme Court also issued another order preventing the withholding of any funds from the Government Printer on the day. Previously the Government Press halted the printing process claiming it was unable to continue due to the lack of funds and security. Previously Liayange claimed despite repeated reminders the IGP had failed to provide the requested number of police personnel to the Government Press. 

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Sri Lanka (ECSL) also announced the new dates for postal voting ahead of the Local Government polls to be held on 25 April. Accordingly, the ECSL is now in the process of preparing to conduct the postal voting from 28 - 31 March. The Government Printer said ballot papers for postal voting have been printed in 17 districts to date.  The ECSL said the secured envelopes containing the postal ballots will be handed over to the Sri Lanka Post on 21 March. Commissioner General of Elections Saman Sri Ratnayake confirmed the postal vote will therefore go ahead in March.