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Last updated: 29 March, 2010 - Published 23:00 GMT
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Laughing politicians - non stop

Early morning on Sunday (27 March) when I was coming through the exit doors of Katunayake International Airport the first scene that caught my eye was a huge vehicle decorated with election posters of a leading candidate of the ruling alliance contesting from the Colombo district.

posters of the president
Pictures of president

The handsome candidate's laughing face covered almost every single inch of the vehicle. Not only Sri Lankans who were coming to their country to celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year that falls in the middle of next month, but also many foreign tourists stopped near the decorated vehicle and tried to laugh at that poster politician.

laughing all the way

There was another a huge cut-out only a few meters away from the main building of the airport where the laughing head of state was garlanded with a maroon shawl "Kurahan Satakaya".

The thriving election propaganda campaign is not limited to currently very eye-catching airport area. From Katunayake to the capital city one can see millions of laughing faces of our prospective guardians. I was able to recognise some former friends’ who are begging the people for preference.

There were laughing ministers, laughing war heroes, and A Buddhist monk as well. They were sticking on walls, standing on roofs, hanging on banners between trees and on cars buses, three wheelers and every where they like. They stood with their non-stop laughing.

against the law

The election commissioner’s advice almost every day to the police force is to stop these laughing politicians from violating the law of the land. But the majority of the candidates who belong to the ruling alliance as well as the opposition keep on laughing on walls.

I talked to a leading lawyer who is well versed on election laws and  active politics in the country for more than sixty years

election campaign in sri lanka
pictures of politicians on every wall

"After the introduction of universal franchise by British colonialists there was a massive interest among the people to vote,” the lawyer said.

weapons of propaganda

"But at that time the major weapons of political warfare were leaflets, mini advertisements about election meetings, pocket meetings and the main rallies."

Furthermore he said, "there weren’t any multi colour posters, cut-outs, illegal decorations or propaganda that destroyed the environment".

In today’s political gamble, elections can be won by laughing politicians only. For those who enter the fray from small political parties and are unable to spend millions of rupees to post their laughing faces on bright posters or in the middle of huge cut-outs the outcome could be miserable.

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