General election amidst Covid-19: Election budget skyrockets

With the impact of Covid-19, the total cost of the parliamentary election is expected to increase more than the estimates made early this year prior to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Elections Secretariat.

In February, the Elections Secretariat predicted that the estimated expenditure of the upcoming general election would be over Rs. 5 million.

Election Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya told The Morning that the cost of the election couldn’t be predicted due to the prevailing situation of the country.

However, after the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, a senior election official stressed that the cost would increase to over Rs. 7 billion, as additional expenses would have to be made for sanitary facilities of the entire election process.

The official told The Morning that the Treasury had already allocated Rs. 7 billion for the election based on the estimate submitted by the secretariat, but the costs were likely to increase while implementing safety measures in the country, as the estimate had been prepared before the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, when contacted, EC Director General Saman Ratnayake noted that the secretariat had already imported 50,000 face masks, gloves, and liquid sanitiser for the use of around 700 election officials, as basic election-related work would be done by them.

The parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held on 20 June.

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