Move to amend election laws to increase deposits of presidential aspirants

The National Election Commission (NEC) is looking at amending election laws to push up substantially the cash deposits aspirants have to place to contest a presidential election.

In terms of a proposal now under consideration, the deposit each prospective presidential candidate representing a recognized political party has to pay will be raised from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2.6 million, while in the case of an independent candidate, the present Rs. 75,000 will be revised to Rs. 3.1 million.

The proposed move to increase the deposits, which was discussed during a meeting with secretaries of political parties last week, was opposed by small parties, which indicated that the financial commitment was too big for them to afford.

However, election officials told the party secretaries that the proposal will be presented to the government to be placed before Parliament for a final decision on its implementation.

The prevailing deposits were worked out in 1981 and needs to be amended on the basis of today’s monetary value, the officials said.

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