AG advises Election Comm. over OPPP’s National List nominee

AG advises Election Comm. over OPPP’s National List nominee

August 14, 2020   04:39 pm

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The Attorney General has advised the Election Commission in terms of the legal advice sought with regard to the nominee of “Our Power of People Party” (OPPP) for its National List seat. 

The Election Commission had sought the Attorney General’s advice on the matter following a dispute within the said party with regard to its National List seat in Parliament.

OPPP, also known as ‘Ape Janabala Pakshaya’, had received a total of 67,758 votes (0.58%) at the recently concluded General Election and despite failing to win any seats in the districts it contested, the party did manage to receive one National List seat.

A problematic situation had arisen with regard to the National List seat after the General Secretary of the party Ven. Wedinigama Wimalatissa Thero had submitted a letter to the Election Commission claiming that he has been nominated to enter parliament as the party’s National List MP.

However, a group including the Chairman of the ‘Our Power of People Party (OPPP)’ have notified the commission that the said letter is not valid and that the central committee of the party decided to nominate party member Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero for the National List MP seat.

Meanwhile the General Secretary of the party Ven. Wedinigama Wimalatissa Thero, who is responsible for officially informing the Election Commission of the nominee chosen for the MP seat, has then suddenly disappeared, and is believed to be in hiding. 

OPPP candidate Ven. Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thero said this week that as per the election laws it is the General Secretary of the party who has to name an individual for the MP seat and submit it to the Election Commission and also confirmed the disappearance of Ven. Wimalatissa Thero.

The party later decided to appoint a new General Secretary and informed the Election Commission of this decision while also asking the commission to reject the letter sent by Ven. Wimalatissa Thero nominating himself to the seat.

OPPP General Secretary Ven. Wedinigama Wimalatissa Thero, speaking to Ada Derana on Wednesday from an undisclosed location, insisted that he will take his place in parliament until the tussle between Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera and Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera is resolved.

Ven. Wimalatissa Thero, who said he is in hiding currently due to the alleged threats to his life, maintained that he submitted the party’s National List nomination to the Election Commission in the correct manner according to his position as the General Secretary.

The Thero pointed out that when he submitted the nomination to the Election Commission, he was given a written affirmation of acceptance and hence the commission cannot accept another letter drafted overnight.

Speaking further, Wimalatissa Thero said that he expects to accept the National List seat and hand it over once the tussle between Ven. Rathana Thera and Ven. Gnanasara Thera is resolved.

He added that he has already instructed the Election Commission chairman not to accept any letters except the ones submitted by him personally.

Ven. Wimalatissa Thero claimed that this is because, such letters may have been signed under death threat or duress although they may contain his signature.

Owing to this situation, the Election Commission had sought the legal advice of the Attorney General on how to proceed. According to the AG’s coordinating officer, the Attorney General today advised the commission on the matter. 

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