Audits of campaign financing needed in Sri Lanka Elections: Commissioner


23 Aug, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka should amend election laws so that campaign funding of political parties is transparent and audited, says Mahinda Deshapriya, the island’s elections commissioner.

“In future, political parties and candidates must be made to declare how much money they spend on election related activities, while there should be an audit of such funds as well,” Deshapriya said, according to the Sunday Times.

Sri Lanka’s recenly concluded parliamentary elections saw 6,151 candidates contesting for 225 seats in parliament. Observers said there was a huge disparity in funding available to the candidates.

If political parties and candidates declare their sources of funding the public will be aware of where the money comes from, Deshapriya said. Such measures reduce the likelihood of illegitimate favours being granted to campaign financiers, according to analysts.

Some countries like Norway provide government funding which accounts for 75 percent of income of political parties. Political ads are also banned from television and radio in Norway. United States has a system of political action committees (PACs) that spend on behalf of candidates, which should in theory reveal sources of financing.